Hull bolts Red Wings for Coyotes

Updated: August 7, 2004, 12:39 AM ET
Associated Press

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Brett Hull, third on the NHL's career goals list, got more money and a longer contract from the Phoenix Coyotes than one of his former teams was willing to offer.

Brett Hull

The free-agent forward signed a $4.5 million, two-year deal with the Coyotes on Friday. Both years are guaranteed at $2.25 million, and Hull could stand to make up to $3 million the second year if he meets bonus incentives for scoring.

The Dallas Stars, one of his former teams, offered Hull $2 million to rejoin them, but wouldn't give him a second year.

Hull, an 18-year veteran who spent the last three seasons with Detroit, has 741 goals -- second only to Coyotes managing partner Wayne Gretzky's 894 and Gordie Howe's 801. Hull, who turns 40 on Monday, also has scored 103 playoff goals, fourth behind Gretzky, Mark Messier and Jari Kurri.

"The truth is going to come forward when we get on the ice and see how this group comes together," Coyotes general manager Mike Barnett said. "But we needed to fill some important holes, and certainly a high-scoring left winger is very, very important to us.

"We now feel with [Shane] Doan and Ladislav Nagy and Mike Johnson and now Brett Hull, we have four wingers that are capable of scoring 25 or more goals."

Barnett said he got the feeling Hull was leaning toward the Coyotes during a phone call Thursday night. He told Gretzky, who also put in a call to Hull, and the player called back Friday morning to accept.

"He looked at our roster and felt that he could help us get to the winner's circle," Barnett said.

Bobby Hull Jr., the player's brother and agent, did not immediately respond to messages left at his office and on his cell phone. The Coyotes plan to introduce Brett Hull at a news conference Tuesday.

Hull, drafted by Calgary in the sixth round in 1984, has played for the Flames, St. Louis, Dallas and Detroit. He won Stanley Cups with the Stars (1999) and Red Wings (2002), scoring the Cup-winning goal for Dallas in a triple-overtime Game 6 victory against Buffalo.

He has 649 assists and 1,390 points in 1,264 regular-season games, and 87 assists (190 points) in 202 playoff games.

Hull, a nine-time All-Star, won the Hart Trophy in 1991 and was the All-Star Game MVP in 1992.

He had his three best seasons in succession with St. Louis, with 72 goals and 113 points in 1989-90, career highs for goals (86) and points (131) in 1990-91 and 70 goals and 109 points the next year. Hull had a career-high 47 assists in 1992-93, when he had 101 points, his last season in triple digits.

He had 30, 37 and 25 goals the last three seasons with Detroit.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press