Czech defenseman Libor Sulak, who played six games for the Wings last season, has opted to return to Europe. He signed Tuesday with Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL.
Sulak, 25, signed a one-year deal with the Wings last season that was very similar in structure to the one the team recently agreed to with Finnish defenseman Oliwer Kaski. Both Sulak and Kaski joined the Wings from Finland’s Pelicans Lahti.
Sulak gave North America a one-year shot and when he ended up spending 61 games in the AHL with Grand Rapids, Sulak decided he preferred playing in a top European league than another year in the minor leagues.
He showed flashes of offensive skill in his brief tenure with Detroit but it was also evident that Sulak’s game without the puck and his ability to think the game from a defensive standpoint were nowhere near where they needed to be in order to play as a regular in the NHL.
“I was learning small rink, how high I have to play, offensive, how I have to play defense,” Sulak explained during a late-season recall to Detroit. “Like everything is small.”
The Wings retain Sulak's NHL rights.
He’s the second player who suited up for the Wings and the third member of the Detroit organization to sign with a KHL club for next season.
Defenseman Jake Chelios, the son of Hall of Famer Chris Chelios, joined Kunlun Red Star, a KHL team based in Beijing. Chelios, 28, played five games for the Wings last season, his first taste of NHL action.
Goalie Hari Sateri joined Sibir Novosibirsk. Sateri, who has NHL experience with the Florida Panthers, spent the entire 2018-19 season with AHL Grand Rapids, posting a 2.84 goals-against average and .899 save percentage in 40 games.
Datsyuk Dream Dying
The Magic Man isn’t going to be making a Detroit comeback.
Free agent center Pavel Datysuk, who played 14 seasons for the Wings and won two Stanley Cups in Detroit, was hopeful of a reunion with the team for the 2019-20 NHL season.
That isn’t going to happen.
Datsyuk was meeting with agent Dan Milstein Tuesday night in Detroit to discuss his future plans. At this point, it seems almost a certainty that Datsyuk, who turns 41 on July 20, will sign with his hometown team, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg of the KHL.
Since leaving the Wings in 2016, Datsyuk played the past three seasons in the KHL with SKA St. Petersburg.
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