The Hall of Fame career of Sergei Fedorov can’t be questioned, especially when it comes to his tenure with the Detroit Red Wings.
During his 13 years with Detroit, Fedorov scored 400 goals (4th in Red Wings history), put up 554 assists (7th in Red Wings history) for a total of 954 points (6th in Red Wings history). He won the Hart Trophy in 1994 as the NHL’s most valuable player, won the Selke Trophy twice as the NHL’s top defensive forward, and was an integral part of the 1997, 1998 and 2002 Stanley Cup winning teams.
But of course, his time with Detroit wasn’t without controversy, and the way it ended in 2003 with his departure to Anaheim (who had just swept Detroit out the playoffs months earlier) still rubs some fans the wrong way. His decision to hold out at the start of the 1997-98 season and sign a massive offer sheet with the Carolina Hurricanes that Detroit matched was rumored to not have sat well with Mike Ilitch.
The Red Wings retired Red Kelly’s #4 during a pre-game ceremony against the Toronto Maple Leafs earlier in February. During the initial announcement of the retirement, Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, shed some light on whether or not Fedorov would soon receive the same honor.
“Obviously, Sergei was an outstanding Red Wing and he was a big part of bringing three Stanley Cups to Detroit, he’s in the Hockey Hall of Fame,” Ilitch said. “The subject of number retirement is an important subject, it deserves a lot of conversation, a lot of thought and we’re continuously evaluating that within our organization. Related to 91 and 40 (Henrik Zetterberg), we’ll see what the future holds.”
Some of the coolness between Fedorov and the Red Wings seems to have been warmed up in recent years, however. His Hall of Fame induction in 2015 was commemorated by him dropping the puck before a Red Wings game, and he’s also suited up for the Red Wings alumni team before the 2014 Winter Classic (to an ovation from the crowd).
Should the Red Wings permanently honor a figure who was a massive part of their history by having his number 91 hang from the rafters at Little Caesars Arena with other Red Wings legends? Time will tell.