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Trade: Detroit unloads Datsyuk’s contract on Coyotes, who move up to take Chychrun

The Red Wings have unloaded Pavel Datsyuk and pick No. 16 to the Coyotes for picks Nos. 20 and 53 and forward Joe Vitale. This trade could open the Red Wings to acquiring Steven Stamkos.

BUFFALO -- Pavel Datsyuk and Chris Pronger are now teammates.

In Arizona.

Well, sort of.

The Coyotes took on the remainder of Datsyuk’s contract -- like they did with Pronger at last year’s draft -- from Detroit on Friday night, which allowed them to move up to 16th overall and select OHL Sarnia defenseman Jakob Chychrun, who’d fallen down the draft board.

Chychrun, the No. 4-ranked North American skater, was at one point considered to be one of the top prospects in this year’s class, and one of the top defensemen. Yet a steady decline in his stock saw him go as the fifth blueliner off the board, behind the likes of Olli Juolevi, Mikhail Sergachev, Jake Bean and Charlie McAvoy.

The son of former NHLer Jeff Chychrun, Jakob was an alternate captain and point-per-game player for Sarnia last year. It’s unlikely he’s NHL-ready, but is a good pickup for an Arizona club that’s light on defensive prospects.

As for the Datsyuk deal, there’s one year left with a $7.5 million cap hit. The Coyotes have one of the lowest payrolls in the league and were more than capable of taking on the money, something they leveraged into getting Chychrun.

As for the Red Wings, they were in salary cap jail after Datsyuk announced he was leaving for Russia, and now they’re out. That should help them in free agency, should they choose to make a big offer for Steven Stamkos.

Detroit also received forward Joe Vitale -- who missed almost all of last season with a concussion -- the 20th overall pick (which the Coyotes got from the Rangers) and Arizona’s second-round pick, No. 53 overall.