DETROIT – Marian Hossa lost the Stanley Cup to the Detroit Red Wings last month. Now, the star forward is joining the champions to help them repeat.
Hossa signed a one-year contract with Detroit on Wednesday. A source told The Canadian Press that the deal is worth US$7.45 million.
The high-scoring winger was one of the key players who helped the Pittsburgh Penguins advance to the Stanley Cup final, which they lost to Detroit in six games.
With Hossa headed for Detroit, the most highly coveted forwards left on the free agent market are Jaromir Jagr and Mats Sundin. Sundin isn’t close to signing with anyone, and said Wednesday he needs more time to decide where – or if – he wants to play next season.
Hossa has scored at least 29 goals the past eight seasons and has 299 in his career, dating to 1998-99 – his first full season in the NHL – with the Ottawa Senators. He has 25 goals and 61 assists in 75 playoff games.
He was dealt to Pittsburgh from Atlanta at last season’s trade deadline with an expiring contract. The Thrashers acquired him from the Senators before the 2005-06 season in the deal that sent Dany Heatley to Ottawa.
Hossa had rebuffed a chance to re-sign with the Penguins, who were reportedly offering $7 million a season as part of a five-year contract.
Detroit and Hossa hope the one-year contract is a win-win deal. The Red Wings will count on him to help them win it all again and he will play for a team that will be favoured to hoist its fifth Stanley Cup since 1997 and 12th overall.
The short-term deal will give the Red Wings salary-cap space to extend contracts, improving their chances later this summer of keeping Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen off the free-agent market in 2009.
Hossa should fit in well with the Red Wings because he is a talented forward who also excels as a backchecker when opponents have the puck. He shed his reputation as a playoff underachiever by leading the Penguins with 12 goals, and his 26 points were a point short of matching Sidney Crosby’s team-leading total.
The 29-year-old Slovak was drafted 12th overall in 1997 by Ottawa.
He scored a career-high 45 goals for the Senators during the 2002-03 season and had a career-best 100 points two seasons ago in Atlanta.