No. 4: Sergei Federov, 1989 Fourth Round, 74th overall
In 1989, the Red Wings selected Russian forward Sergei Fedorov in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft.
The next year, while at a tournament in Seattle, he slipped out of his hotel room and onto a plane headed for Motown. That night, Fedorov defected from his team, and from his country, to live his dream of playing in the NHL.
Fedorov was an incredible skater and one of the greatest all-around players to ever wear the wheel. That talent was on full display during the 1993-94 campaign, as Fedorov scored 56 goals and 64 assists, finishing second in scoring behind only Wayne Gretzky.
In that same season, Fedorov won the Hart Memorial Trophy as the MVP, the Selke Trophy as the league’s top defensive forward and the Lester B. Pearson Award for the most outstanding player; the only player to claim all three in one season.
Looking back, that may be the greatest single-season effort by a Detroit player in the history of the franchise.
Fedorov won the Selke again in 1996 while scoring 107 points in just 78 games. That season, he had a game against the Capitals in which he scored all five of the Wings' goals en route to a 5-4 victory.
Fedorov simply dominated in a time when the NHL’s best players were in their prime. He finished the 1990s with 134 playoff points, trailing only Jaromir Jagr and Mario Lemieux.
His numbers show his scoring prowess, but his true greatness is reflected in his Selke trophies. Sergei was so talented that he even spent time on the blue-line with Larry Murphy.
No matter where he played, most nights, Fedorov was the best player on the ice.
During his time in Detroit, Fedorov played in 908 regular season games, scoring 400 goals and tacking on 554 assists. Fedorov never missed the playoffs while in Detroit, and in 162 games, he netted 50 goals and 113 assists. For his career with the Wings, Sergei was better than one point per game.
Fedorov was one hell of a player, and he has the hardware to prove it. He was a six-time All-Star and won the “Fastest Skater” and the “Hardest Shot” competitions.
Sergei has won the Hart Memorial Trophy (1994), the Lester B. Pearson Award (1994), the Frank J. Selke Trophy (1994, 1996), the Jackie Robinson Humanitarian Award (2000) and the Kharlamov Trophy (2003).
He was selected as the NHL Player of the Year in 1994 and won the “Best Skater” award from The Hockey News in 2003. He was also a finalist for the Calder Trophy, the Lady Byng Trophy, the Frank J. Selke Trophy (three times) and the Hart Memorial Trophy (twice).
He had seasons where he led all skaters in playoff points, assists (twice) and goals. He scored 36 shorthanded goals and 93 game winners in his career.
He is a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a Goodwill Games gold medalist and a two-time Olympian. Competing for Russia in the World Championships, he’s won gold four times and silver twice. He has the most goals by a Russian in league history.
In my mind, he is the greatest Russian player in NHL history (and no, Ovechkin isn't even in the same class). The Red Wings took him in the fourth round, and next to Pavel Datsyuk, Fedorov is the greatest late-round pick in franchise history.
Most memorable moment:
Recording 101.5 mph on the gun during the Super Skills Competition.