Sergei Fedorov is the newest member of the Columbus Blue Jackets, but a pricey one.
Fedorov, 35, was acquired Tuesday by Columbus, along with a fifth-round draft pick, from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for forward Tyler Wright and rookie defenceman Francois Beauchemin.
"We are thrilled to have him," Blue Jackets president and general manager Doug MacLean enthused. "And he, very much like Adam Foote, will be a great mentor for the young players we have in Rick Nash, Dan Fritsche, Gilbert Brule and Nikolai Zherdev."
The Blue Jackets take on $4.5 million US in salary as Fedorov makes $6.08 million US, considerably more than Wright ($947,133 US) and Beauchemin ($500,000 US).
"He is an expensive player," MacLean conceded. "But we feel good about it."
Fedorov joined Anaheim as a free agent on July 19, 2003, signing a five-year contract worth $40 million US.
"It's too bad we have to lose a player of his stature," Mighty Ducks general manager Brian Burke stated. "But this solves our financial problems and we're looking to reinvest that money."
Interestingly, not one of the trio has scored a goal this season.
Fedorov, a six-time all-star, notched only one assist in five games before sitting out the next 13 games with a groin injury.
Wright and Beauchemin had four and two assists, respectively, with the Blue Jackets, currently last in the NHL with 34 goals.
"Sergei's an all-around player and always has been," MacLean said. "He's at the stage of his career where he's looking for an exciting challenge and I think he's certainly going to find one here."
Columbus hopes Fedorov can carry the offence until Nash, who tied for the league lead with 41 goals in 2003-04, recovers from a sprained knee.
"Losing Rick has been challenging for us," MacLean admitted. "We have a young group of forwards and we figured we needed some strength down the middle."
Fedorov has totalled 431 goals and 1,020 points in 993 games over 15 NHL seasons with the Detroit Red Wings and Mighty Ducks.
He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a two-time winner of the Selke Trophy as top defensive forward and received the Hart Trophy as most valuable player in 1994.
"He is one of the league's most gifted players and a proven winner who will bring tremendous experience, speed and playmaking abilities to our lineup (and) still has a tremendous skill level and is excited to play," MacLean noted. "He'll be a terrific addition."
Wright, born in Kansack, Sask., has 77 goals and 145 points in 588 NHL games
The 32-year-old forward has played for the Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Blue Jackets since chosen 12th overall in the 1991 NHL draft.
Beauchemin, 25, has played in a dozen NHL games for the Blue Jackets and the Montreal Canadiens, who drafted him in the third round - 75th overall - in 1998.
with files from CP Online