Hatcher Signs With Wings

Detroit general manager Ken Holland announced Thursday that the Red Wings had signed free agent defenseman Derian Hatcher to a five-year deal. Following club policy, the financial terms were not announced but the contract is reportedly worth $6 million per season.

The former Dallas captain spent his entire carrer in the Stars organization. He was drafted in the first round of the 1991 NHL Entry Draft by Minnesota and followed the team to Dallas in 1993. He later led the Stars to claiming the Stanley Cup in 1999. Hatcher has scored 71 goals and added 223 assists in 827 career games. He has racked up 1380 penalty minutes. He has scored six goals and 21 assists in 27 playoff games, accumulating 35 penalty minutes.

A native of the Detroit area, Hatcher acknowledged he was excited to have the opportunity to play for his hometown team.

“I’m just ecstatic to be here,” he said. “It would be really special to win a Stanley Cup in the town I grew up in.”

“Obviously growing up, I was a Red Wing fan.”

Hatcher was a Norris Trophy finalist last season for best defenseman in the NHL. Detroit’s Nicklas Lidstrom claimed the award for the third consecutive year.

“He has such a tremendous presence as a defenseman,” Detroit associate coach Barry Smith said. “He competes at such a high level every game and is so hard to play against.

“We haven’t had a defenseman like that since … Vlady.”

Since the 1997 limo accident that ended the career of Vladimir Konstantinov, the Red Wings have been looking for a hard-hitting blueliner.

“I think it’s going to be a great addition to our team,” Lidstrom said. “That’s the kind of defenseman that we need that can play hard and tough like that.”

Detroit had been courting Hatcher since the NHL’s free agency period began on Tuesday. His signing was only the fourth major move made this summer, after the Philadelphia Flyers signed goaltender Jeff Hackett and the Colorado Avalanche agreed to terms with forwards Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya.

Fedorov Rules Out Wings

Sergei Fedorov has played his last game as a Detroit Red Wing.

Pat Brisson, agent for the unrestricted free agent superstar, announced Wednesday that Fedorov had decided not to resign with the Red Wings.

“We’re basically making it official now: Sergei won’t be back in Detroit,” Brisson said. “Nothing personal against the Red Wings. He’s just moving on.”

Fedorov leaves the team that drafted him 74th overall in the 1989 NHL Entry Draft. The Red Wings helped Fedorov defect from the Soviet Union in 1990 by sneaking him out of the side door of a Portland, OR, hotel.

In thirteen seasons with Detroit, Fedorov scored four hundred regular season goals and added fifty in the playoffs. He is second in all-time Red Wings playoff scoring behind captain Steve Yzerman.

Red Wings’ general manager Ken Holland was making calls to other free agents when he got the news.

“Sorry to hear that,” Holland said. “Obviously he was a great player for us for a lot of years. I thought we made tremendous offers. It’s unfortunate that Pat and Sergei feel this way.”

Fedorov turned down a four-year, $40 million offer from the Red Wings after Detroit’s early exit from the playoffs. Despite this, Fedorov felt the Wings were not making him enough of a priority.

Holland told Rich Winter, agent for “retired” netminder Dominik Hasek, that he needs to know Hasek’s decision regarding his comeback by the middle of next week… TSN.ca reports that the Red Wings have offered Dallas Stars’ captain Derian Hatcher a four-year, $22 million deal.

Wings Resign McCarty, Woolley

As the 2003 free agent season approached, the Red Wings avoided allowing grinder Darren McCarty and defenseman Jason Woolley to hit the open market.

McCarty, who has played his entire career for Detroit, signed a four-year, $8.75 million deal late Monday.

“I’m happy,” said McCarty. “The most important thing to me was term. Maybe I could have gotten more on the open market, but I’m happy with what I’ve got.”

Woolley was signed to a two-year deal that is believed to be worth less than the $1.3 million per season he earned last year. The defenseman joined the Red Wings in December in a trade from the Buffalo Sabres. He played college hockey in East Lansing at Michigan State.

As the midnight deadline passed, Sergei Fedorov, Igor Larionov, Jesse Wallin, Patrick Boileau and Steve Yzerman became unrestricted free agents. Yzerman is the only one of the five not expected to test the market.

Defenseman Dmitri Bykov has decided to return to Russia to play for Ak Bars Kazan next season, rather than playing for the Red Wings.