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Datsyuk inks three-year extension with Wings

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Pavel Datsyuk of the Detroit Red Wings looks on while playing the Chicago Blackhawks in Game Six of the Western Conference Semifinals during the 2013 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at Joe Louis Arena on May 27, 2013 in Detroit, Michigan. Datsyuk has signed a th

Russian center Pavel Datsyuk signed a three-year contract extension with the Detroit Red Wings that will last through the 2016-17 season, the National Hockey League club said Tuesday.

The deal, reportedly worth $23 million, follows the last remaining season on his seven-year contract worth $46.9 million and ends speculation he might return to his homeland to play in the Kontinental League after next season.

"I would be happy to play back home, but I know it's better for me to stay here for my professional career," Datsyuk said. "I am happy to be staying with a good family where I have had lots of fun and feel comfortable."

Datsyuk, 34, has played his entire NHL career with Detroit, scoring 255 goals in in 779 regular-season games plus 36 goals in 140 playoff contests and helping the Red Wings capture two Stanley Cup titles.

The three-time winner of the Selke Trophy as the NHL's top defensive forward will remain with a core Wings lineup that includes standouts Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Kronwall and goaltender Jimmy Howard.

"This is big part. I'm happy to stay with a good group," Datsyuk said. "I see lots of optimism. If you don't see optimism, maybe you die."

Datsyuk scored 15 goals in 47 games for Detroit this past season, which was shortened by a lockout in a money dispute between players and club owners.

The deal was done ahead of the July 5 start of free agency and before Datsyuk went home to Russia for the off-season, where he conducts a major hockey camp for youth.

"It was important to get Pav done before he went back home for the summer," Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said.

"When you're heading into July 5 and not sure if Pav is going to be here in a year it can affect your thinking. Now we know for a lot of reasons, from a salary cap commitment, from a player commitment, we know the core of our team moving forward. It's Pav and Z and Kronwall and Jimmy Howard."

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