ARBITRATOR RULES FEDOROV CONTRACT VALID; RED WINGS MATCH
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).