Red Wings sign Hossa to one-year contract

TSN.ca Staff
7/3/2008 2:18:03 PM
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Less than a month after being bounced from the Stanley Cup Final, Marian Hossa has decided to join the Detroit Red Wings.

Sources tell TSN that free agent Hossa has signed a one-year, $7.45 million deal with the Red Wings.

The $7.45 million that Hossa will earn next season, is the most Detroit would pay anyone - even an unrestricted free agent. The Red Wings were insistent that no one earn more money than six-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom.

The 6-foot-1 winger scored 29 goals and 66 points in 72 games split between the Atlanta Thrahsers and the Pittsburgh Penguins. 

Hossa, 29, was acquired from the Thrashers at the trade deadline and helped Pittsburgh in its march to the Stanley Cups Finals. With 12 goals and 14 assists in 20 games, the 2008 playoffs went a long way to helping Hossa shed his reputation as a player that shone in the regular season, but struggled when it really mattered.  As it turns out, playing Detroit in the Final helped Hossa figure out his future. 

"It was a really tough decision for me to make,'' Hossa told the Canadian Press. "When I compared the two teams, I felt like I would have a little better of a chance to win the Cup in Detroit."

Originally a first-round draft pick by the Ottawa Senators in 1997, Hossa has been named to five NHL all-star teams and has recorded 299 goals and 648 points in 701 career games. Hossa was shipped to Atlanta as part of the Dany Heatley trade in 2005.

Hossa had reportedly received offers from Edmonton, Montreal, Vancouver and Pittsburgh. The Oilers were rumoured to be offering a deal that would pay $9 million annually to lure Hossa to northern Alberta.

Red Wings GM Ken Holland said he didn't think he'd be able to get Hossa, but it all came together when Hossa said he would consider a one-year deal.

"We're just very lucky," Holland told TSN's Michael Landsberg on Off the Record. "Heading in to July 1, there was two people really high on our list, Mats Sundin and Marian Hossa. We were dreaming thinking we could add either one of those to our team because we were looking at one year deals.

"I went to bed last night thinking we were going to be by the way side."

Hossa's agent, Ritch Winter, called Holland in the morning and said his client was on the line and willing to discuss a one-year contract.

"I asked what they were looking for," Holland told Landsberg.  "It was north of 7.5 (million).  I told them I was uncomfortable (having Hossa make more than Lidstrom).

"In the end, Marian Hossa told me to not bother calling Nik, one year at 7.45 - it was a done deal."

Even his agent was surprised.

 "I have never been involved in a deal and seen a player get so excited to take $85 million less than he was offered elsewhere," Winter told The Canadian Press. "It's almost incomprehensible, even to an agent. But Marian is a special player."

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