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Free Agency, Fedorov And Hockey Canada

from Larry Brooks of the New York Post,

- Six weeks out from training camp, the roster of unsigned free agents might challenge for a playoff spot — or would do an equally credible job as did the 2021-22 expansion Kraken.

That is a function of the flat cap that has squeezed teams and the free-agent class, as it will for at least the next two summers until the NHLPA’s escrow debt to the league is paid in full. This is a function of the 2020 collective bargaining agreement extension that fully contemplated this issue.

At this juncture, Sonny Milano is out there, and so is Tyler Motte. Paul Stastny, Calvin De Haan, Evan Rodrigues, Zach Aston-Reese, P.K. Subban, Cody Eakin, Ryan Murray, Jay Beagle and Derek Stepan are unsigned. So is Braden Holtby. So is Phil Kessel.

And even Nazem Kadri, who apparently is waiting for his preferred team to clear enough cap space to either sign him or register an already signed deal that is some general manager’s bottom desk drawer.

- So maybe the Red Wings will never erect a statue of Sergei Fedorov outside their arena, but have not the statute of limitations run out on the transcendent center’s 1998 perceived offer sheet transgression with Carolina?

It is surely past time for Detroit to retire Fedorov’s No. 91.

The two biggest miscarriages of justice in NHL awards voting of my career are: 1) Joe Thornton winning the 2006 Hart Trophy instead of Jaromir Jagr; 2) Steve Yzerman winning the 1998 Conn Smythe instead of Fedorov.

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It has raised serious questions, not only in Canada, but also surely here in the United States — about the macho, old-boy mentality that infects the sport from both from the top down and from the bottom up.

Canada deserved better from Hockey Canada. So did the sport. The organization needs a cleansing. It needs a new voice, new direction and new priorities. It needs new leadership. The past must make way for the future. The current regime must go.

Filed in: NHL Teams, Non-NHL Hockey, | KK Hockey | Permalink



Does Brooks know what he’s talking about?

1998 playoff stats:

Yzerman—6 goals, 18 assists, 24 points (65 shots)
Fedorov—10 goals, 10 assists, 20 points (86 shots)

Yzerman:  22:41 per game, 14:01 EV, 4:57 PP, 3:42 SH
Fedorov: 20:06; 12:50 EV, 4:39 PP; 2:36 SH

Debatable?  Sure.  Miscarriage of justice?

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/30/22 at 10:23 PM ET

d ca's avatar

The one thing that isn’t debatable is Fedorov got paid that year.

1997-98 Fedorov’s salary $28,000,000 which adjusted for inflation is $49.15M (for three months not the total contract). $2M in salary for any regular season game played.  $14M in signing bonus. Plus another $12M bonus to be paid gradually over 6 years or in full, all at once, if the team reached the 1997-98 conference finals.

That is why the Ilitches will always carry a grudge.

btw: Fedorov took a 93% paycut the following 5 years before signing for $10M in Anaheim.

But if we are going to talk about stealing from owners that pales in comparison to Buttman’s $150M+ (+ is because the first 12 years of salary is not publicly available) as he was the driving force behind more than one lockout.

It is an absolute disgrace that Fedorov’s number isn’t hanging in the rafters.

Posted by d ca on 07/30/22 at 11:01 PM ET

ilovehomers's avatar

Datsyuk should have won the Hart in 09.

And yes, that is probably a doggedly homerrific and biased take. smile

Posted by ilovehomers on 07/31/22 at 01:46 AM ET


Right, it was $38 million for 6 seasons, which works out to $6.33M per—not an overpayment for Fedorov.  It was just front-loaded with $28M in year one and $2M per after that.

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/31/22 at 01:33 PM ET

d ca's avatar

Posted by captaineclectic on 07/31/22 at 01:33 PM ET

The point you don’t see to understand is 1) the concept of time, value, and money and 2) how desperate Little Caesars was for capital at the time.

1) 28M in year 1 plus 5 additional 2M payouts per year isn’t anywhere near the same as 6.33M per year for 6 years for a business.

It’s the reason for Bobby Bonilla Day. It’s part of the reason why the present day stars take their money in the form of signing bonuses due July 1st of the NHL year.

To try to help:
a $28,000,000 payout in April of 1998 (again for 3 months of work) would be the same as a $31,670,154 payment in April of 2003.
a 2M payout in April of 1999 would be worth 2.211M in April of 2003
a 2M payout in April of 2000 would be worth 2.146M in April of 2003
a 2M payout in April of 2001 would be worth 2.078M in April of 2003
a 2M payout in April of 2002 would be worth 2.044M in April of 2003
the final 2M payout brings that contract to be worth: 42.149M

a 6.33M payout in April of 1998 would net only $7,163,486.80.
a 6.33M payout in April of 1999 would net only $7,004,010.86.
a 6.33M payout in April of 2000 would net only $6,795,485.15.
a 6.33M payout in April of 2001 would net only $6,580,365.21
a 6.33M payout in April of 2002 would net only $6,474,230.29
the final 6.33M payout brings that contract to be worth: 40.35M

The difference is $1.8M dollars and that is before you add the differences on what short-term borrowing interest rates vs long-term financing (cost of capital) cost the Ilitch’s. Nor opportunity losses of participating in the stock market a year and a half away from a bubble peak. Nor perhaps the most important point for Mike Ilitch—- pride: the same issue that ran Max Scherzer out of town. An agent found a better deal with another owner and said match it or he’s gone.

2) Plus there was the added issue of the Mike Ilitch’s finances at the time. In the 90’s there was a pizza pricing war and Little Caesars was on the losing end. Papa John’s had overtaken them as their “Pizza, Pizza” promotion wasn’t bring growth like it used to. In the summer of 1999, Little Caesars corporate shuttered almost 400 stores overnight—almost 10 percent of its stores That wasn’t franchisees shuttering them: that was corporate owned stores. Fedorov’s contract tied up valuable financing that would have otherwise MIGHT have kept these stores open.

Posted by d ca on 07/31/22 at 03:49 PM ET

shanetx's avatar

That is very interesting context.  I hadn’t ever considered the Federov thing in quite those terms.

Posted by shanetx from Floydada, Texas on 08/02/22 at 01:14 AM ET

IwoCPO's avatar

Actually, I thought Fedorov should have won it in ‘97 instead of Vernon.  I never had a problem with ‘98, probably because…Yzerman.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 08/03/22 at 01:32 PM ET

SYF's avatar

Actually, I thought Fedorov should have won it in ‘97 instead of Vernon.  I never had a problem with ‘98, probably because…Yzerman.

Posted by IwoCPO from Sunny San Diego, bitches on 08/03/22 at 01:32 PM ET


Posted by SYF from impossible and oddly communally possessive sluts on 08/03/22 at 04:07 PM ET

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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.

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