“It’s a lot less than he should be making,” Hasek’s agent Ritch Winter said. “It’s one of the few deals that I do in which the player, the club and the agent agree the player is worth $5 (million) or $6 million and we talk it down from there.
“Dom didn’t want more. He’s taking one for the team. It’s not one of my fun deals, but Dom is happy and that’s important.”
The six-time Vezina Trophy winner and two-time MVP informed the Red Wings that he wanted to play in Detroit again, but it took weeks for the sides to reach a deal.
In July 2006, he signed a one-year contract worth $750,000 and earned $900,000 in bonuses after helping the Red Wings advance past the second round for the first time since 2002. Detroit was eliminated in the Western Conference finals by the Anaheim Ducks, who went on to win the Stanley Cup.
Hasek was 38-11-6 with a 2.05 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and eight shutouts during his 15th regular season and third in Detroit. In the playoffs, Hasek was 10-8 with a 1.79 GAA, .923 save percentage and two shutouts.
For his legacy and bank account, Hasek didn’t need to put on his skates and equipment this season. And he certainly didn’t have to play another year in the NHL.
One of the world’s best goaltenders has had a lot of personal success and earned tens of millions of dollars.
He’s won, too, leading the Czech Republic to the gold medal in the 1998 Olympics and helping Detroit win the Stanley Cup in 2002.
When Ottawa decided last summer that it didn’t want him back after an injury-plagued season, he could have retired again knowing his spot in the Hall of Fame was secure.
But a big part of what has made Hasek an all-time great – an insatiable appetite to compete – brought him back to Detroit with a bargain-basement, incentive-laden contract.
“I didn’t come back to play and to make money,” Hasek said in April. “I came back because I want to compete for the Stanley Cup, and to win the Stanley Cup. I didn’t have a chance because of my injuries and the lockout the last four years and now I am back and I’m excited about it.
“I was waiting a long, long time to be back in the playoffs.”
Hasek looked a lot like he did in his previous playoff appearance in 2002, when he had six shutouts in the playoffs en route to a Stanley Cup title that seemed to complete his career and led to his one-season retirement.
When Hasek signed last July, however, eyebrows were raised and the move was questioned.
He retired shortly after winning the Cup in his first season with the Red Wings only to come back a year later, creating an awkward situation for them because they signed Curtis Joseph to replace him.
Then, a groin injury limited Hasek to just 14 games during the 2003-04 season. After the lockout, the same ailment knocked him out of the Olympics last year and from the Senators’ lineup.
Hasek showed again that when healthy, he’s still one of hockey’s top goalies.
He won 38 of 56 games – giving him 362 career victories over a 14-year career in Chicago, Buffalo, Detroit and Ottawa – and allowed an average of just two goals.