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Saturday, July 19
Updated: July 21, 3:53 PM ET
Former Red Wing gets five years, $40 million

ESPN.com news services

LOS ANGELES -- Six-time All-Star Sergei Fedorov signed a five-year, $40 million contract with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks on Saturday, leaving the Detroit Red Wings after 13 seasons and three NHL titles.

Mon., July 21
After going to the Stanley Cup finals only to watch Paul Kariya walk away, Anaheim was in need of immediate damage control. The Ducks have effectively accomplished that by signing Sergei Fedorov. From a public relations standpoint, the move is huge. On the ice, the Ducks wanted to build strength down the middle and now they've got one of the most premier two-way players in the game.

In Detroit, Fedorov wanted to be the centerpiece, but the Red Wings have so much talent and balance. You can't support one player's desire to have 28 minutes of ice time with a four-line philosophy -- something had to give. So, Fedorov essentially took less money to be in Anaheim in a deal he can get out of after two years, while having the security option of eight million for each of those final years.

Fedorov, because of his skating and passing ability, makes those around him better. Anaheim also signed center Vinny Prospal to a five-year deal. Prospal is a lot like Adam Oates; not a goal scorer but a tremendous passer and power play artist, and he's 10 years younger than Oates. So, the Ducks came out of this looking pretty good. They did a great job.

ESPN The Magazine's E.J. Hradek has learned that the contract terms are $10 million for 2003-04, $6 million in 2004-05 and $8 million a year for 2005-06 through 2007-08. Fedorov has an option to become a free agent after years two and three of the deal.

Additionally, Fedorov is eligible for bonuses and contract revisions if he wins the Hart, Art Ross, Maurice Richard or Conn Smythe trophies during the term of the contract. If he wins any of these awards, the contract could increase in value by approximately an additional $5 million.

The free-agent center had 36 goals and 47 assists for a team-leading 83 points last season in his final year with the Red Wings. Fedorov won the Hart Trophy as the NHL's MVP in 1994 and twice has been honored as the league's best defensive forward.

Since he began his NHL career in 1990, Fedorov has recorded more playoff points (113) and assists (163) than anyone in the league. He also has 50 goals in 162 postseason games.

On July 2, his agent, Pat Brisson, said Fedorov wouldn't return to Detroit next season.

"I would like to thank Sergei for his 13 years with the Detroit Red Wings and wish him well in the future," Detroit general manager Ken Holland said in a statement. "We worked very hard over the past eight months to keep Sergei in Detroit, and we are disappointed he did not choose to remain a Red Wing, but in the end it was simply not meant to be."

Fedorov, 33, has 400 goals and 554 assists in his NHL career -- all with Detroit. He helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup in 1997, 1998 and 2002.

"I do not have any bitterness leaving Detroit. I enjoyed my years in Detroit," Fedorov said by telephone from Moscow. "I'm going to miss the fans. They were great to me.

"It's been a wonderful ride, but everybody in life at some point has to change direction or place or time, and this is absolutely normal for me to change and move on. I'm excited to take on a new challenge."

Detroit right wing Darren McCarty said the move is a big loss for the Red Wings.

"He's one of the most talented guys in the league," he said Saturday. "You're going to lose that player, that ability to change the game by himself."

But he said the deal probably was the best thing for Fedorov. The Red Wings had offered Fedorov a four-year, $40 million deal.

"I think he just felt he needed a new start ... get out in L.A., which is more his speed," he said. "It wasn't about money so much, it had to be about (job) security."

The move reunites Fedorov with general manager Bryan Murray, his first NHL coach.

"He's one of the best defensive players in hockey," Murray said. "He loves to make plays, but defensively he does the job as well as anyone. He's a strong, hardworking guy. This guy can play for a number of years."

Fedorov was selected in the fourth round of the 1989 NHL entry draft. The native of Pskov, Russia, made an immediate impact as a rookie in the 1990-91 season with 31 goals and 48 assists. He set career highs while winning the MVP award in his fourth season with 56 goals and 64 assists, ranking second in the league in scoring and third in goals.

Fedorov has also helped Russia win two Olympic medals -- the silver in the 1998 Games and the bronze last year in Salt Lake City. He has three goals and seven assists in 12 Olympic games.

A doormat most of their 10 years of existence, the Ducks reached the Stanley Cup finals this season. That run began with a first-round sweep of the defending champion Red Wings -- just the second playoff series victory in Anaheim franchise history.

"It's not a fluke they went to the finals. They went to Game 7, that tells you they have great players," Fedorov said. "I believe they have very demanding standards."

The addition of Fedorov will make up for the loss of star left wing Paul Kariya, who left to sign as a free agent with Colorado after he wasn't offered a qualifying contract.

Anaheim also has signed former Tampa Bay star forward Vinny Prospal, who had 22 goals and 57 assists last season.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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