Morozov to remain in Russia
Alexei Morozov is promising to honor his contract and stay with Ak Bars Kazan for the next two seasons, according to a press conference interview Morozov gave that was printed in Soviet Sport and posted earlier today on the Ak Bars Kazan web site.There's really been little question that Morozov has been the best player not in the NHL the past two years, and he proved it at the world championships when he led the tournament in goals (eight in seven games) despite missing the final two games due to injury.
Citing the remaining two years of his three-year deal, Morozov said that he will "fulfill his obligation to the team." When his pledge to remain in Kazan was met with skepticism by some of the reporters, Morozov responded, "If you don't believe me now, then wait and see."
Brushback's translation of a variety of Russian sources indicates both the New York Rangers and Phoenix Coyotes were after Morozov, but that he wasn't wooed by multi-million dollar offers.
His best-ever season in the NHL was his last one (2003-04) when he had 50 points in 75 games, but Morozov's numbers in the Russian league this season with Ak-Bars Kazan were unbelievable: 34 goals and 83 points in 53 games. Morozov's point totals set the league's all-time scoring record, and he finished 21 points ahead of the next closest leading scorer, teammate Danis Zaripov.
My guess is there are enough NHL clubs desperate for scoring that he could have received around $4-million over a two- or three-year deal, which is an awful lot of green to turn down.