Pavel Datsyuk was born July 20, 1978 in Sverdolvsk, Russia. The 8th round, 171st overall selection of the Detroit Red Wings in the 1998 NHL Entry Draft, Datsyuk joined the Red Wings in 2001-02 after spending the 2000-01 season with AK Bars Kazan in the Russian Elite League.
A smallish forward with amazing puck handling skills, Datsyuk came into the NHL with little fan fair after the Wings drafted him in the eighth round in 1998. Finishing second in team scoring with AK Bars Kazan in 2000-01 and playing four seasons in the Yekaterinburg system, Datsyuk was a key player in Detroit's Stanley Cup run in 2002 finishing his rookie season with 11 goals and 24 assists for 35 points.
Datsyuk picked up where he left of in 2002 and easily surpassed his rookie point total during the 2002-03 season, while forming a tantalizing on-ice chemistry with veteran superstar Brett Hull. Entering his third season with the Wings in 2003-04, Datsyuk, established himself as one of the premier players in the game today with a career high 68 points (30-38-68) and was instrumental in leading the Detroit to the Presidents' Trophy.
During the NHL lockout, Datsyuk signed with the Moscow Dynamo where he would see action in 47 games with the club. He returned to the NHL and the Red Wings in 2005-06 to capture the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy as the leagues most gentlemanly player. That same season Datsyuk recorded career-highs in both assists (59) and points (87), and led the Red Wings in scoring. The following season Datsyuk matched his career-high point total and won his second Lady Byng trophy in as many years. He became the first repeat winner since Anaheim's Paul Kariya won the award in 1996 and 1997.
Datsyuk had career year offensively in 2007-08, tallying 28 goals 59 assists for 87 points in just 75 games. His remarkable season was capped off with the Red Wings' fourth Presidents' Trophy in six seasons as his club headed back to the NHL playoffs as the league's top team once again. Despite their performance in the regular season, few thought the club was a serious Stanley Cup contender. However, in the 2008 NHL playoffs the Red Wings rolled through the Western Conference and beat the upstart Pittsburgh Penguins in six games of the Stanley Cup Final. Two weeks later Datsyuk captured his third straight Lady Byng Trophy and was also awarded the Selke Trophy. He became the first Russian born player to capture the Selke since Sergei Fedorov won it in 1996.
In 2009, Datsyuk became the fifth player in NHL history to capture back-to-back Selke Trophies, as well as the first player in NHL history to capture back-to-back combined Selke and Lady Byng Trophies. The defensively conscious Datsyuk not only led his team in scoring, but finished fourth overall in the NHL with 97 points and was a finalist in the Hart Trophy voting as MVP.
In the 2009-10 season, Datsyuk led the NHL in takeaways for the third time in the four seasons, had an amazing plus-17 rating and won 55% of his faceoffs. For his his efforts he was once again awarded the Selke Trophy as the league's top defensive forward. His third consecutive win put Datsyuk in elite company with Bob Gainey who received the honour four times in a row from 1978-1981.
On the international stage, Datsyuk has represented Russia on several occasions at the World Championship where he won a Gold Medal in 2012. Paricipated at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey as well as the Olympic Winter Games in 2002, 2006, 2010 and 2014.