Sunday, July 01, 2001
Sabres trade Hasek to Red Wings
BUFFALO, N.Y. Dominik Hasek was traded by the Buffalo Sabres to the Detroit Red Wings late Saturday night for Vyacheslav Kozlov, a 2002 first-round draft choice and future considerations.
Sabres spokesman Michael Gilbert announced the trade just before 1:30 a.m. EDT Sunday, adding the team would have no further comment until later in the day.
The Sabres had until the end of Saturday to pick up Hasek's one-year, $9 million option, trade him or lose him to unrestricted free agency.
Gilbert said the deal was made before the midnight deadline on the contract option. It was not immediately known if the Sabres or Red Wings picked up Hasek's option or whether Detroit restructured the goalie's deal.
Hasek's agent Rich Winter declined to comment immediately, saying he was busy explaining the details to Hasek.
The move was made a week after Buffalo settled another roster problem, trading ex-captain Michael Peca to the New York Islanders. Peca sat out all of last season after failing to negotiate a deal.
Hasek made a base salary of $7.5 million last season, the 10th-largest contract in the league according to NHL Players' Association records.
The announcement ends almost two months of speculation since involving Hasek, who said he wants to play for at least one more year but only with a contending team.
Hasek, who toyed with retirement the past two seasons, said part of his decision to remain in the NHL is to gear up for next year's Winter Olympics to help defend the Czech Republic's 1998 gold-medal victory.
Kozlov just completed his eighth season with the Red Wings. His 20 goals and 38 points in 72 games were career-low numbers for a season in which he played at least 50 games.
By acquiring Hasek, it's not clear what the Red Wings will do with their starting goalie Chris Osgood.
The Sabres have two young players, Martin Biron and Mika Noronen, who are ready to step into Hasek's starting position in Buffalo.
Biron, who appeared in just 18 games last season, filled in admirably in the 1999-2000 campaign, when Hasek missed almost half the season with a groin injury.
Despite struggling in the first part of this past season, Hasek bounced back to have a stellar campaign.
By going 18-8 down the stretch with five shutouts, Hasek finished with a 37-26-4 record, matching a career high for victories.
Hasek finished fourth with a 2.11 goals-against average and led the league with 11 shutouts and was rewarded with his sixth Vezina Trophy as the NHL's top goalie, one short of the record set by Jacques Plante.
The Sabres declined to comment on the status of their other unsigned players.
It appears, however, that Dave Andreychuk's days might be over in Buffalo, while Rob Ray will likely return to the team, according to agent Roland Thompson, who represents both players.
Thompson said the Sabres informed him Saturday night that they wouldn't pick up Andreychuk's $1.1 million one-year option by the midnight deadline, allowing him to become an unrestricted free agent.
As for Ray, the Sabres' career penalty minutes leader, Thompson said a deal was in the works.
The Sabres, who last week retained the rights to 12 players, also faced losing four other unsigned players to unrestricted free agency, including late-season acquisitions Steve Heinze and Donald Audette.
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