The Hockey Hall of Fame is welcoming seven new members into its prestigious halls on Monday, November 9, 2015. Join us here at Last Word On Sports as we take an in depth look at the new inductees. We continue the series with one of the best two-way forwards of the 1990s and 2000s, Sergei Fedorov.
2015 HHOF INDUCTION PROFILE: CHRIS PRONGER
The Beginning – Red Wings, Stanley Cup Championships, Russian Five
Prior to breaking into the NHL, Sergei Fedorov played for CSKA Moscow in the KHL where he suited up alongside the likes of fellow future NHL superstars, Pavel Bure and Alexander Mogilny. Fedorov was selected 74th overall by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1989 NHL Entry draft and played out one more season in the KHL before heading to North America. That year, Fedorov scored 19 goals and added 10 assists in 48 games. In his rookie season with the Red Wings in 1990-91, Fedorov racked up 31 goals and 48 assists in 77 games.
Fedorov was one of the first NHL stars to defect from the Soviet Union to play hockey in North America.
He was described as “three great players in one” and early on in his career, Fedorov was easily one of the most talented skaters both in the league and in the world. Fedorov won his first and only Hart Trophy in 1993-94 when he finished second in scoring behind Wayne Gretzky with 56 goals and 120 points. That year, Fedorov also took home the Lester B. Pearson Award and the Frank J. Selke Trophy.
NHL legends like Steve Yzerman and Gretzky spoke highly of the young Russian, claiming they had never seen a player dominate the way that Fedorov dominated the game of hockey.
In 1995-96, Fedorov won his second and last Selke Trophy, finished in the top five in Hart Trophy voting and led the Red Wings to win the Presidents’ Trophy. The Red Wings set an NHL record with 62 wins in a single season that year.
Throughout his tenure in Detroit, Red Wings head coach Scotty Bowman even experimented with Fedorov by playing him on as a defenseman. Bowman even insisted that Fedorov could have won the Norris Trophy as the leagues best defenseman had he played the position full-time.
During the mid-90s, Bowman managed to put together a five-man unit that would go on to be remembered as “The Russian Five” or the “Red Army.” The group included Fedorov (centre), Igor Larionov (right wing), Vyacheslav Kozlov (left wing) on offense, and Slava Fetisov and Vladimir Konstantinov who patrolled the blue line. The combination of chemistry and skill made this group potent. These players became the backbone and the identity of the Red Wings.
The 1996-97 season was a big one for Fedorov and for the Red Wings as the Russian Five helped them to their first Stanley cup since 1955. Fedorov led the Red Wings in playoff scoring, totalling 20 points in 20 games. The Red Wings would make it back-to-back championships, winning another Stanley Cup in 1997-98. Fedorov would go on to hoist his the Stanley Cup – with the Red Wings – for a third and final time in 2001-02.
Leaving Detroit, Signing with Anaheim
During the summer of 2003, Fedorov moved on from Detroit and found a new home in Anaheim signing with the Mighty Ducks. It was rumoured that the Red Wings threw a lot of money at Fedorov yet he repeatedly rejected offers. He signed a five-year, 40 million dollar deal with the Ducks.
With the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Fedorov become the first Russian-born and fifth European-born NHLer to register his 1,000th career point.
Fedorov played just two seasons in Anaheim.
Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals, KHL
In a trade that seemingly came out of nowhere, Fedorov, along with a fifth-round pick, was traded to the Columbus Blue Jackets for forward Tyler Wright and rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin.
Fedorov reached another milestone with the Blue Jackets playing his 1,000th NHL game. He was the 13th European-born player and the 205th player overall to reach that many games.
With the NHL trade deadline nearing in 2008, the Washington Capitals acquired Fedorov in exchange for prospect Theo Ruth. The following off-season, the Capitals signed Fedorov to a one-year, four million dollar deal. In the 2008-09 season, Fedorov surpassed Mogilny for most goals scored by a Russian-born player.
Fedorov put up 11 goals and 33 points in 52 games with the Caps during his last NHL season. He retired from the NHL with 1,248 games played, 483 goals, 696 assists and 1,179 points under his belt.
After retiring from the NHL, Fedorov went back home to finish off his playing career in the KHL. He signed a two-year deal with the Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Early in the season, Fedorov recorded his 1,500th career point in official hockey games.
TORONTO, ON – NOVEMBER 08: Sergei Fedorov celebrates his first period goal at the Legends Classic game at the Air Canada Centre on November 8, 2015 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)