May 25, 2009
According to Russian newspaper Sport Express, Washington Capitals forward Sergei Fedorov(notes) will sign with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Kontinental Hockey League this week, ending his 18-year career in the National Hockey League.
A year after Jaromir Jagr(notes) left for greener pastures, it looks as if the NHL will lose another aging future Hall of Famer and legendary import to the KHL. The Capitals soon might have two open spots at forward as his teammate, Viktor Kozlov(notes) could be joining Fedorov as was reported recently.
The Sport Express report states that a two-year deal worth $3.8 million per season is waiting to be signed by the 39-year old Fedorov, who would be joining his brother, Fedor, with recently signed with Metallurg.
After defecting from Russia during the Goodwill Games in 1990, Fedorov tallied 483 goals, most by a Russian-born NHL'er, and 1179 points in 1248 career games. A holder of three Stanley Cup rings, all with Detroit, Fedorov was also the recipient of the 1994 Hart and Pearson trophies after a 56 goal, 120-point season with the Red Wings. Add silver and bronze medals from the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympics respectively, as well as three gold medals from the World Championships and you've got yourself a bona fide first-ballot Hockey Hall of Famer.
Not factored in the Hall of Famer discussion: him bagging Anna Kournikova.
Contract controversies in during his tenure in Detroit labeled him as yet another greedy athlete. There was the first dispute that ended with the Red Wings matching an offer-sheet by the Carolina Hurricanes in 1998, then another stalemate in 2003 that led to Fedorov signing with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in 2003. He would later be dealt to Columbus before ending up in Washington at last season's trade deadline. With the Capitals, Fedorov mentored fellow Russian, Alex Ovechkin, who idolized him as a child and became one of the team's most reliable depth players.
Like Jagr before, Fedorov's best days were behind him and he was not going to be able to negotiate another contract worth $4 million/year in the NHL with him turning 40 later this year. He now gets to finish his hockey career at home and with one big, final contract.