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ARBITRATOR RULES FEDOROV CONTRACT VALID; RED WINGS MATCH
Published February 27, 1998
The Red Wings matched the Hurricanes' $38M, six-year contract offer to Sergei Fedorov yesterday, "just hours after arbitrator John Sands deemed the ... offer sheet was valid," according to Cynthia Lambert of the DETROIT NEWS. The NHL had contested a bonus clause which could pay Fedorov an additional $12M, on top of the $16M he will earn this season, if the team he signed with advances to the conference finals (DETROIT NEWS, 2/27). NEW ECONOMICS? Fedorov's agent, Mike Barnett, said the Hurricanes offer could alter future free agent offers: "In the big picture, an expansion team can throw a monumental signing bonus at somebody over a long term. They add a clause that says if they achieve certain postseason success, the bonus is brought to an immediate payment" (USA TODAY, 2/27). ESPN's Bob Ley called Fedorov's deal a $38M "poison pill that might very well change the way an entire sport does business." ESPN's Al Morganti: "It sets a precedent for front-loading for future free agents" (ESPN, 2/26). In Montreal, Red Fisher writes that the Hurricanes and Red Wings "effectively have put yet another massive facelift on the hockey market. ... How high are payrolls in almost all of the NHL cities likely to go?" (MONTREAL GAZETTE, 2/27).