Blue Jackets trade for Ducks’ Sergei Federov

Usty Miller and Usty Miller

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Columbus Blue Jackets were in dire need of offense, so they went out and got one of the biggest playmakers in hockey.

The Blue Jackets acquired six-time All-Star center Sergei Fedorov and a fifth-round pick in next year’#39;s draft yesterday from the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for forward Tyler Wright and rookie defenseman Francois Beauchemin.

Team president and general manager Doug MacLean likened the acquisition of Fedorov to the free-agent signing this summer of defenseman Adam Foote, a mainstay of Colorado’#39;s Stanley Cup teams.

“The point of the deal is similar to our signing of Adam,” MacLean said. “We have a lot of young players, a lot of young kids with a lot of talent. We’#39;re adding a three-time Stanley Cup champion, a Hart winner, who still has a tremendous skill level and is excited to play. He’#39;ll be a terrific addition.”

Fedorov was to fly to Columbus yesterday night and is expected to be in uniform when the Blue Jackets play St. Louis on tonight at Nationwide Arena.

The 35-year-old Fedorov, who will make $6.08 million this year and each of the following two years, had one assist in five games this season for Anaheim, his second with the Mighty Ducks after 13 seasons with Detroit. He recently returned from a groin injury that sidelined him for 13 games.

MacLean expressed no concerns about Fedorov’#39;s health.

“He’#39;s one of the best conditioned athletes in the NHL, and always has been,” MacLean said.

Blue Jackets captain Luke Richardson was at his daughter’#39;s hockey practice last night when some other parents showed him a wire story about the deal. He couldn’#39;t believe it at first.

He lamented the departure of Wright, but said the addition of Fedorov could have a major impact on the team.

“Fedorov is a world-class player,” Richardson said. “He’#39;s great on the power play where he is so patient and that’#39;s something we really need. He’#39;s a great player who draws a lot of attention, which should make everybody else out there better. And he’#39;s coming at a time when we need a little boost.”

MacLean had been sorting through trades for the past few weeks, but said he was unwilling to part with any of the Blue Jackets’#39; young talent. Columbus is last in the NHL with 34 goals and the pressure had risen on MacLean and coach Gerard Gallant in recent days.

“I think I may have mentioned that my job was on the line,” MacLean said with a laugh of his talks with Fedorov about coming to Columbus.

MacLean said he scouted the Russian veteran in two games over the weekend, buying a ticket in the stands in Phoenix so as not to call attention to himself.

One other advantage to the deal is that Fedorov can serve as a mentor to the club’#39;s 20-year-old Russian star, Nikolai Zherdev. Fedorov has said that one of the highlights of his career was playing on the same Detroit teams with Russian standouts Igor Larionov, Slava Kozlov, Vladimir Konstantinov and Slava Fetisov. Zherdev is Columbus’#39; only player from Russia.

Columbus had expected to contend for a postseason berth for the first time in the franchise’#39;s five-year existence, but is off to a 5-13-0 start. With 10 points, the Blue Jackets are next to last in the Western Conference.

Fedorov has 431 goals and 589 assists in 15 seasons in the NHL. The speedy Russian had a career-high 56 goals for the Red Wings in 1993-94, when he won the Hart Trophy as the league’#39;s MVP.