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Younger Fedorov hungry for return to NHL

Tuesday, 08.26.2008 / 10:18 AM / NHL Insider

By Dan Rosen - NHL.com Senior Writer

After playing the last two seasons in his native Russia, Fedor Fedorov has decided to return to the NHL, signing a one-way contract with the New Jersey Devils
Two words sum up how little Fedor Fedorov wants to talk about his famous brother, Sergei.

"Next question," Fedor told NHL.com when the topic was broached in a recent interview.

It's hard to blame the man. If all you have heard for your entire career is "why aren't you more like your brother", it would bother you, too. 

Fedor Fedorov is nothing like his brother and has not even come close to following Sergei's career path.

Few are. Few have.

Fedor seems fine with that, too, except for one thing.     If Fedor can have anything Sergei already has, it's an NHL career. Even though he's 27, New Jersey Devils General Manager Lou Lamoriello is giving him a real chance for one this year.

After playing the last two seasons in his native Russia, Fedorov signed a one-way contract with the Devils this summer. The one-way contract means Fedorov, a forward, will make the same money if he plays in New Jersey or with the Lowell Devils of the AHL.

Fedorov was drafted in the third round in 2001 by Vancouver and has played 18 NHL games split between the Canucks and New York Rangers. But he's aware that this is not only his best chance to forge an NHL career, it may very well be his last.

"Mr. Lamoriello thinks I can play and I wanted to play here, so I wanted to give it a fair shot," said Fedorov, who hasn't played in an NHL game since appearing in three with the Rangers in 2005-06. "I can always go back to Russia, but I feel this is a real chance to actually play here."

According to Devils chief scout David Conte, Fedorov's chances of making the team are based on what he does in training camp. The Devils already have a glut of forwards, including new additions Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik, but Conte said Fedorov's skill-set will make him a viable option for coach Brent Sutter.

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"I think you're asking me to open my presents before Christmas. Let's give him a chance here," Conte told NHL.com. "If I listed 15 highlight reel goals that I saw this year, he got three of them in the three games I saw him play. Clearly there is an enigmatic factor of someone who is a little bit older and still hasn't established himself, but the skill-set is indisputable and how far we can exploit that skill-set and how far he wants to use that skill-set are unanswerable questions right now. We'll leave that up to Brent."

If we can, let's go back to Sergei for a moment. Fedor Fedorov insists he's nothing like his older brother, who won the Stanley Cup three times with the Detroit Red Wings and has 1,146 career points.

Fedor, who is more than 11 years younger than Sergei, had 25 points in 49 games for Moscow Dynamo last year. He has only two assists in his 18 career NHL games.

He does have 117 points over 166 AHL games in his career, but he hasn't come close to being a point-per-game player since he piled up 78 points in 67 games for the Sudbury Wolves of the OHL in 2000-01.

Those numbers got him drafted and his first pro contract.

"I lived in this country for a long time so I know how people think sometimes and how people try to do things, I guess," Fedorov said. "People that know hockey know I'm a different player from a completely different school of hockey (than Sergei). I play a lot different, obviously."

Even though he was initially drafted by Tampa Bay in 1999 (No. 182) and again by Vancouver two years later, Fedorov feels he was never given a fair chance to make it in the NHL. He played seven games with the Canucks in 2002-03 and another eight games in 2003-04. He was traded to the Rangers after the work stoppage, but spent most of his time in Hartford.

"I don't think it was ever the plan for either of them to play me up here," Fedorov said.

There are no guarantees that he'll stick with the Devils either, but Fedorov doesn't seem unnerved by that.

"I try not to think about that right now," he said. "I just want to get in shape, in working condition, and try to fit in. Things will work out how they work out. I don't have control of that."

Maybe not, but the uncertainty surrounding his place on the Devils' depth chart hasn't canned any of his confidence.

"I just don't think there is any point of me being here unless I'm going to play up here," Fedorov said. "Otherwise, I would have just stayed back in Russia."

Contact Dan Rosen at drosen@nhl.com



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