Over the past 25 years, the Anaheim Ducks have had a lot of players come and go. There have been many who have left a lasting impact on the franchise. Others, however, have long since been forgotten about.
Twenty-five years is a huge milestone for any hockey franchise. While the Anaheim Ducks are still relatively young, especially compared to most of the other NHL organizations, a lot has happened since their inaugural season in 1993.
In 25 years, they’ve made 14 playoff appearances, won six Pacific Division titles, two Western Conference finals, and one Stanley Cup. They’ve also been through twenty-five drafts, multiple coaches and general managers, an ownership change, a rebranding, and too many jerseys to count.
The Anaheim Ducks are also well known for the players they have “raised” in the spotlight. Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, J.S. Giguere, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry are among the most popular names in the franchise. It would not surprise me if players like Rickard Rakell, John Gibson, Cam Fowler, and Hampus Lindholm are counted among the greats someday.
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However, with everything there is to remember about this team, there is an awful lot we have forgotten. While the “big names” have basked in the light of their greatness, this has allowed for many other players to get lost in the shuffle.
Although we may have forgotten the “less significant” players throughout the Anaheim Ducks 25-year history, now is a good time to reflect back on what they did for the organization. Besides, once a Duck, always a Duck! Today, our focus shifts to Sergei Fedorov.
Sergei Fedorov (2003-05)
It always surprises me that we forget about Sergei Fedorov’s time with the Anaheim Ducks, especially since he led the entire Mighty Ducks team in 2003-04 in both points and goals. It wasn’t like he was one of those players who came in and had nothing to show for it.
However, what surprises me the most about Fedorov’s entire hockey career is that he came to Anaheim. Why would the “golden boy” of the Detroit Red Wings leave during the height of his hockey career?
Every answer always led to a dead end. So, in order to gain a better perspective of why he walked away from the Red Wings, I had to turn to the most knowledgable Detroit sports expert I know.
After talking with Bob Heyrman, site expert over at our sister page, Octopus Thrower, I gained a better understanding as to why Fedorov may have left in the first place. A big thanks to Bob for his insight. Without it, Fedorov may still be a mystery to me.
Why Did the Golden Boy Leave the Red Wings?
In 1998, after the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup, Fedorov held out as an RFA. He held out until late in the season. Then, the Carolina Hurricanes placed an offer sheet and he accepted it.
Fortunately for the Red Wings, owner Mike Ilitch decided to match the offer and Fedorov made the decision to return to Detroit. To this day, there is speculation that the Red Wings ownership held that against him.
Fast forward to 2002, and the Red Wings won the Stanley Cup yet again. Sergei was a huge part of their playoff run. The Wings number one center, Steve Yzerman, had a bad wheel. His knee was destroyed, yet he still played. However, he was moved to the wing because his skating was limited.
Fedorov stepped in as the top center at a time when the Wings needed him most and he flourished in his new position. However, Yzerman still led the team with 23 points in the playoffs. The unsung hero, Sergei Fedorov, was still in the shadow of Red Wings star player, Steve Yzerman.
"“I don’t know exactly why he left, he sort of played to the tune of his own drum. My personal opinion is, he played his entire career in Detroit in the shadow of Steve Yzerman. I feel like Anaheim, in his mind, was the opportunity for him to finally be “the” guy. Finally, a chance for him to be the face of a franchise.” -Bob Heyrman, Site Expert at Octopus Thrower"
Bryan Murray, former coach of the Detroit Red Wings, played a significant role in landing Fedorov in free agency. In 2003, he was the GM of the Anaheim Ducks and when Sergei became available, he struck while the iron was hot.
He had it all. The looks, the speed, the skill, and the physical frame. With the departure of Paul Kariya after the Ducks 2003 run to the Stanely Cup finals, the Anaheim Ducks needed a new star, and Fedorov fit the bill perfectly.
"“I’ve always said, if you could put Steve Yzerman’s heart in Sergei Fedorov’s body, you would have the best hockey player of all time.” – Bob Heyrman, Site Expert at Octopus Thrower"
Fedorov only spent one full season with the Mighty Ducks organization. However, during that season, he made a huge impact on the score sheet. In 80 games, he led the team in both points and goals (65pts, 31g.) Unfortunately, the Ducks missed the playoffs that year.
In November of 2005, the Anaheim Ducks traded him to the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for Tyler Wright and Francois Beauchemin. He was later inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2015. Many Red Wings fans still consider his move to Anaheim one of the worst mistakes of his entire career.
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