by PuckStopsHere on 05/15/12 at 05:06 PM ET
I like to keep track of the players in hockey who i think should make the Hall of Fame regardless of what they do in the rest of their careers. When these players retire I like to write a career retrospective. Today I am writing about Sergei Fedorov who announced this weekend that he would retire to become the GM of CSKA Moscow in the KHL.
Fedorov was born on December 13th, 1969 in Pskov, USSR, which is in the western part of the former Soviet Union. He first became known to hockey scouts when he debuted in the Soviet Elite League at the age of 16 and 17 with Dynamo Minsk, in what is today Belarus. A young Fedorov scored six goals and seven points in only fifteen games played.
Fedorov was selected for service in the Central Red Army as he was clearly a talented young player. This service would be fulfilled by playing hockey for CSKA Moscow. There he quickly became one of the top prospects in Russian hockey. He was setup with linemates Alexander Mogilny and Pavel Bure as the heir apparent to the KLM (Krutov-Larionov-Makarov) forward line who had dominated for the Soviets in international play. He made the tournament all star team at the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championships where he scored 12 points in 7 games. By 1989 he was playing for the Soviets internationally in the World Championships. He was drafted in the fourth round 74th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the summer of 1989. He would have been selected much earlier if his eligibility to play in North America was clearer. At that point it looked like he was stuck behind the iron curtain for the foreseeable future. That changed in 1990 when Fedorov slipped away from Soviet team at the Goodwill Games in Seattle and boarded a plane to Detroit to defect from the Soviet system.
He made his NHL debut in 1990 scoring 79 points in 77 games in his rookie year. He made the All Rookie Team that season. Despite defecting, Fedorov was a key part of the Soviet team in the 1991 Canada Cup. In his second NHL season his offensive numbers improved, as he posted 86 points and made the NHL All Star Game for the first of six times in his career. He won the fastest skater competition in the NHL Skills Competition. This was a victory he repeated in 1994. By 1994, Fedorov was full-blown superstar. He scored 120 points and won the Hart Trophy as the NHL MVP along with the Frank J Selke Award as best defensive forward in the league, First Team All Star and Lester Pearson Award as the players choice as MVP. The 1994/95 lockout shortened season was Fedorov’s first significant playoff run. Detroit lost in the finals to the New Jersey Devils, but Fedorov led the league in both assists (with 17) and points (with 24) in the playoffs. He had another strong season in 1995/96 where he posted his second 100 point season (with 107 points) and he led the playoffs in assists (with 18) despite Detroit failing to advance past the semi-finals. Fedorov won his second Selke Trophy in this season. In the next year, 1997, Fedorov won the Stanley Cup for the first time with the Detroit Red Wings.
Fedorov then looked for a big payday. He held out the majority of the 1997/98 season as a restricted free agent. Eventually he signed an offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes. Fedorov would potentially make $28 million in the first year of his front-loaded deal. This deal included a $12 million bonus if his team made the semi-finals. This was seen as a somewhat unfair contract term as Carolina had little chance of advancing that far and it was quite likely with the defending Stanley Cup champions in Detroit. Nevertheless the NHL allowed it to stand and Detroit matched the offer, thus retaining his rights. Fedorov returned in late February and played only 21 regular season games. He earned his $12 million bonus as Detroit repeated as Stanley Cup champions and Fedorov was the top goal scorer in the playoffs (with 10). This $28 million payday was the largest sum of money a player has ever made for one season of NHL play. Along the way, Fedorov played for Russia in the 1998 Olympics and won a silver medal. In 2002, he won his third Stanley Cup with Detroit and also won the Hardest Shot competition in the All Star Break. He won a bronze medal playing for Russia in the 2002 Olympics.
In the summer of 2003 he left Detroit and signed as a free agent with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim. He stayed there for one complete year plus the 2004/05 lockout season. He was unable to rise to the levels that he had in Detroit and was traded to Columbus early in the 2005/06 season.
The trade was Fedorov and a 2006 fifth round draft pick to Columbus for Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin. Largely it was seen as a salary dump by Anaheim. Fedorov spent the better part of three seasons in Columbus but he was not a top scorer there. He was traded to Washington as part of the 2008 trade deadline.
This trade was for a college defenceman named Ted Ruth who has never played an NHL game. Fedorov had a bit of a resurgence with Washington as he got to play with better linemates than he had in Columbus. When his contract expired decided to return to Russia to play with Metallurg Magnitogorsk in the KHL. He played there for three years and was a KHL All Star. In 2012 he was captain of one of the all star teams.
In his NHL career, Fedorov played 1248 games scoring 483 goals 696 assists for 1179 points. He added 176 more points in 183 playoff games. These numbers could have been even bigger were it not for time spent playing in the Soviet Union and Russia early and late in his career.
Fedorov lived like a rock star. He was linked romantically to tennis player Anna Kournikova and Tara Reid. He has had financial issues due to being defrauded of $60 million in an investment scam. He has yet to be able to receive any compensation for this. Fedorov was an extremely talented player who succeeded in Russia, North America and internationally. He was criticized for not remaining interested in doing his best at hockey in his Anaheim and Columbus years and might have had even better numbers in different circumstances. Here was the post where I first considered him a Hall of Famer.
With Fedorov’s retirement we are left with fourteen active future Hall of Famers. Here is the list:
Martin St Louis
As hockey continues to be played this season we may see additions to this list. We will likely see retirements this summer. Dominik Hasek is the most likely. He took last season off and claims he is likely to retire for good if a serious offer does not come soon. Nicklas Lidstrom, Daniel Alfredsson and Teemu Selanne are also players who are considered candidates for retirement this summer. Chris Pronger is another who might have played his final NHL game and is on the longterm injured reserve in Philadelphia.
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