Category Archives: Florida Panthers Shirts

Keith Yandle Jersey

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Veteran Florida Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle was named Third Star of the Week by the NHL this morning.

Yandle recorded multiple points in each of his three appearances last week to lead all defensemen and rank third in the NHL with 8 points (1G/7A) while helping the Panthers (10-5-5, 25 points) to a pair of wins in three contests. Yandle opened the week with three points (1G/2A) – all in the third period – to help the Panthers rally from a 4-0 third-period deficit to defeat the Atlantic Division-leading Boston Bruins 5-4 in a shootout on November 12. It marked just the ninth time in NHL history a visiting team rallied from a four-goal third-period deficit to win. He then recorded a pair of assists in a 4-3 loss to the Winnipeg Jets on November 14 and three more helpers in a 4-3 victory over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. The 33-year-old native of Boston, MA ranks sixth among blueliners with 18 points (2G/16A) in 20 games this season and has appeared in 817 consecutive regular-season games – the longest active “ironman” streak and the fifth longest in NHL history.

Edmonton Oilers center Connor McDavid was the league’s First Star and Colorado’s Nathan MacKinnon was the Second Star.

MacKenzie Weegar Jersey

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REST OF SEASON OUTLOOK AND POSITION RANK
Expect MacKenzie Weegar to be a reliable fantasy starter the rest of the season. His 61 projected fantasy points puts him at #50 behind Philippe Myers and ahead of Oscar Klefbom. He has averaged 1.27 fantasy points in his past 87 games. Our projected per game average is virtually the same. He is projected to average 1.24 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#53) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. MacKenzie Weegar is expected to improve on this season-to-date’s #66 fantasy position rank.

REST OF SEASON RANK (D) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS SINCE 2019
#48 Rasmus Ristolainen (78% OWN) 62 FP, 1.32 per game 108 FP, 78 gp, 1.39 per game (#82)
#49 Philippe Myers (22% OWN) 62 FP, 1.27 per game 108 FP, 78 gp, 1.39 per game (#82)
#50 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 61 FP, 1.24 per game 66 FP, 64 gp, 1.03 per game (#126)
#51 Oscar Klefbom (87% OWN) 60 FP, 1.3 per game 88 FP, 61 gp, 1.44 per game (#75)
#52 Michal Kempny (49% OWN) 60 FP, 1.27 per game 125 FP, 71 gp, 1.76 per game (#50)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

SIT EM ALERT: MACKENZIE WEEGAR WEEK 11 AND 12 FANTASY OUTLOOK
MacKenzie Weegar is projected for 1.07 fantasy points in one game the rest of the week in week 11 which ranks him as the #101 projected defenseman for the week and a starter for most fantasy teams. This is projected to be a below average game with fewer fantasy points than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Ryan McDonagh but behind Rasmus Ristolainen the rest of the week. Week 12 will be better based on projected rank (#57). He is projected for 3.73 fantasy points.

12/13 TO 12/15 RANK (D) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#99 Tyler Myers (19% OWN) 1.1 FP, 2 GP 0.59 FP
#100 Rasmus Ristolainen (78% OWN) 1.09 FP, 1 GP 1.32 FP
#101 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 1.24 FP
#102 Ryan McDonagh (47% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 1.12 FP
#103 Samuel Girard (37% OWN) 1.07 FP, 1 GP 0.75 FP
12/16 TO 12/22 RANK (D) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#55 Ryan Pulock (58% OWN) 3.79 FP, 3 GP 1.26 FP
#56 Oliver Ekman-Larsson (89% OWN) 3.76 FP, 3 GP 1.17 FP
#57 MacKenzie Weegar (27% OWN) 3.73 FP, 3 GP 1.24 FP
#58 Alex Goligoski (69% OWN) 3.65 FP, 3 GP 1.14 FP
#59 Justin Holl (2% OWN) 3.63 FP, 3 GP 1.06 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

MACKENZIE WEEGAR FP PTS G A SOG BLK
Rest of ’19-20 61 18.9 5.4 13.5 82 71
– Per Game (49 Proj) 1.23 0.39 0.11 0.28 1.68 1.44
12/9 to 12/15 (1 Game) 1.07 0.37 0.10 0.26 1.58 1.41
12/16 to 12/22 (3 Games) 3.73 1.15 0.33 0.82 4.8 4.1
’19-20 Season 44.5 11 3 8 41 25
– Per Game (23 GP) 1.93 0.48 0.13 0.35 1.78 1.09
’18-20 Seasons 110 26 7 19 120 128
– Per Game (87 GP) 1.27 0.30 0.08 0.22 1.38 1.47

Dominic Toninato Jersey

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REST OF SEASON OUTLOOK AND POSITION RANK
You can expect Dominic Toninato to be a good bench player who will start in certain weeks the rest of the season. His 49 projected fantasy points puts him at #90 behind Marcus Sorensen and ahead of Michael Grabner. He has averaged 0.55 fantasy points in his past 16 games, which is less than our projected per game average. He is projected to average 1 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#96) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. Dominic Toninato is expected to improve on this season-to-date’s #132 fantasy position rank.

REST OF SEASON RANK (LW) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS SINCE 2019
#88 Mikkel Boedker (1% OWN) 51 FP, 1.07 per game 52 FP, 71 gp, 0.74 per game (#101)
#89 Marcus Sorensen (2% OWN) 49 FP, 1.07 per game 95 FP, 80 gp, 1.18 per game (#63)
#90 Dominic Toninato (2% OWN) 49 FP, 1 per game 95 FP, 80 gp, 1.18 per game (#63)
#91 Michael Grabner (7% OWN) 49 FP, 1.06 per game 54 FP, 41 gp, 1.32 per game (#56)
#92 Matt Nieto (2% OWN) 49 FP, 0.99 per game 52 FP, 64 gp, 0.81 per game (#93)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

SIT EM ALERT: DOMINIC TONINATO WEEK 11 AND 12 FANTASY OUTLOOK
Dominic Toninato is projected for 0.84 fantasy points in one game the rest of the week which projects to being the #117 ranked left wing. This is projected to be a below average game with fewer fantasy points than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Micheal Haley but behind Tim Schaller the rest of the week. Week 12 will be better based on projected rank (#91). He is projected for 3.03 fantasy points.

12/13 TO 12/15 RANK (LW) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#115 Brendan Leipsic (3% OWN) 0.87 FP, 1 GP 1.16 FP
#116 Tim Schaller (0% OWN) 0.87 FP, 2 GP 0.48 FP
#117 Dominic Toninato (2% OWN) 0.84 FP, 1 GP 1 FP
#118 Micheal Haley (1% OWN) 0.84 FP, 1 GP 0.77 FP
#119 Anders Bjork (3% OWN) 0.8 FP, 1 GP 0.96 FP
12/16 TO 12/22 RANK (LW) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#89 Patrick Marleau (11% OWN) 3.18 FP, 3 GP 1.12 FP
#90 Denis Gurianov (11% OWN) 3.04 FP, 4 GP 0.83 FP
#91 Dominic Toninato (2% OWN) 3.03 FP, 3 GP 1 FP
#92 Marcus Sorensen (2% OWN) 3.01 FP, 3 GP 1.07 FP
#93 Cody Glass (31% OWN) 3 FP, 3 GP 1.07 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

DOMINIC TONINATO FP PTS G A SOG PPG
Rest of ’19-20 49.0 13.8 10.4 3.4 56 0.7
– Per Game (49 Proj) 1.00 0.28 0.21 0.07 1.14 0.01
12/9 to 12/15 (1 Game) 0.84 0.27 0.20 0.06 1.07 0.01
12/16 to 12/22 (3 Games) 3.03 0.84 0.63 0.20 3.28 0.04
’19-20 Season 5.8 2 2 0 12 0
– Per Game (14 GP) 0.41 0.14 0.14 0.00 0.86 0.00
’18-20 Seasons 8.8 3 3 0 13 0
– Per Game (16 GP) 0.55 0.19 0.19 0.00 0.81 0.00

Colton Sceviour Jersey

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Sergei Bobrovsky had a great game against his former team as the Florida Panthers beat the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1 for a much-needed win.
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky shook off the cobwebs last night as he beat his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets 4-1. Bobrovsky had 10 days of rest and it certainly helped. Let’s get right to the recap of last night’s wonderful win!

Evgenii Dadonov opened up the scoring early for the Panthers as he scored 18 seconds into the game, assisted by the young captain Aleksander Barkov and Keith Yandle, to make the score 1-0. Josh Brown also had a fight in the first and it was a great one. Brown then scored a goal in the second period, assisted by Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau, to make the score 2-0.

It’s worth mentioning that Barkov and Huberdeau are one of the top scoring lines in the entire National Hockey League. When they are on the ice together, everyone around them seems to mesh together beautifully. There’s a certain leadership and maturity that they bring to the team despite their young age and it’s a wonderful thing to witness as a hockey fan.

The next goal was scored in the third period by Brett Connolly on the power play, assisted by Keith Yandle and Mike Hoffman, to make the score 3-0 Panthers. The next goal was scored by V. Gavrikov and assisted by Texier and Anderson to put the Columbus Blue Jackets on the board and eliminate the possibility of a shutout for Sergei Bobrovsky and the Florida Panthers.

However, all was well as Hoffman, assisted by Colton Sceviour, would put the game away on an empty-net goal and send the Blue Jackets back to cold Ohio empty-handed. Last night was also very special as the Panthers honored the Koffee Kult’s Hero Among Us, who was a WWII Veteran who also celebrated his 100th birthday yesterday.

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As always, the appreciation for his service was felt as the fans gave him a warm round of applause. The three stars of the game were Aleksander Barkov, Sergei Bobrovsky, and Josh Brown. Tonight we’re right back at it for a back to back. Tonight we face the San Jose Sharks. Let’s leave them singing “Baby shark, boo hoo hoo.” That’s all I got for now. As always, thanks for reading and as always Let’s Go Cats!!!!

Mark Pysyk Jersey

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The Panthers’ offense has gone cold.

For the second game in a row, the Panthers — who entered this week with the fourth-highest scoring offense in the NHL — were held to just one goal.

On Thursday night at the BB&T Center, it was the New York Islanders who shut down the Panthers 3-1.

Panthers goalie Sergei Bobrovsky had 27 saves as Florida lost its second consecutive game and fell to 3-3-0 during this nine-game homestand, which is the longest in franchise history.

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“It’s unfortunate we lost the game. It’s the NHL — it’s not easy to win,” said Bobrovsky, who has allowed just six goals in his past four games. “But we have a great group of guys, very talented and skilled. We believe in each other. We will work hard and move on.”

Mike Hoffman scored Florida’s lone goal, his 12th of the season.

Islanders goalie Thomas Greiss stopped everything else — 32 shots in all — as the Islanders improved to 19-0-1 this season when scoring at least three goals.

Perhaps Thursday’s result should come as no surprise. The Islanders are a very good team with elite goaltending.

Since the start of last season, only the Washington Capitals and St. Louis Blues have earned more wins than the Islanders.

And, entering Thursday, the Islanders’ goals-against average of 2.38 ranked third in the NHL.

Devon Toews and Mathew Barzal scored power-play goals for the Islanders, and Anders Lee added an empty-netter with three seconds left. Jordan Eberle added two assists, his first such game since Oct. 11.

New York went 2 for 4 on its power play. The Panthers went 0 for 3, and their failure with the man advantage midway through the third period helped seal their fate.

Greiss, who robbed Brett Connolly with 3:55 left in the third, broke his personal two-game losing streak and also beat the Panthers for the second time this season. He beat them 2-1 on Nov. 9.

New York opened the scoring on a power-play goal with just 49 seconds elapsed in the second period.

The power play started at the end of the first, when Florida’s Frank Vatrano was called for tripping Toews. Then, thanks to an effective Lee screen, Toews’ long shot from the point made it past Bobrovsky. Eberle earned the assist for his set-up pass.

Florida got in trouble with another penalty — this time Panthers center Vincent Trocheck caught holding Anthony Beauvillier — and New York’s power play converted again.

Panthers defenseman MacKenzie Weegar tried to pass the puck out of his own zone, but Eberle intercepted and fed to Barzal, who scored on the open left side of the net with 4:49 expired in the second.

Weegar, meanwhile, cracked his stick on top of the Panthers crossbar in disgust.

Florida cut its deficit to 2-1 with 9:36 gone in the second. Panthers defenseman Mark Pysyk, playing his first game since Dec. 3 after picking up several healthy scratches, jumped up to create a two-on-one opportunity. Pysyk then passed to Hoffman, who fired a high shot from the left circle, beating Greiss stick-side.

But the power play came up empty, and the Panthers couldn’t crack New York’s air-tight defense.

“That’s what they do — they try to frustrate you,” Panthers coach Joel Quenneville said.

“They check you. They outwork you. We didn’t play anywhere near as hard as we had to play to be successful.”

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Photo gallery: Islanders at Panthers | Thursday, December 12, 2019
Florida Panthers center Brian Boyle (9) fights with New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) during the second period of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in Sunrise. DAVID SANTIAGO [email protected]
Florida Panthers center Aleksander Barkov (16) and Aaron Ekblad (5) battle for a puck against New York Islanders right wing Cal Clutterbuck (15) during the third period of an NHL regular season hockey game at the BB&T Center on Thursday, December 12, 2019 in Sunrise. DAVID SANTIAGO [email protected]

Jonathan Huberdeau Jersey

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Following a spectacular 2019 season for the Florida Panthers, Jonathan Huberdeau is making a strong case for the 2020 All-Star Game with a phenomenal start.
The former third overall draft selection from the 2011 NHL Entry Level Draft experienced a breakout campaign during the 2018-19 NHL season. While suiting up in all 82 regular-season games for the Florida Panthers, Jonathan Huberdeau recorded a sensational slash line of 30 goals and 62 assists for 92 total points.

Simply put, the 2019 season was a historic one for Huberdeau, breaking a franchise record for the most assists in a single season with 62. Moreover, Huby was a pivotal contributor to the success of the team’s first line, forming a dynamic trio alongside Evgenii Dadonov and captain Aleksander Barkov.

Furthermore, Huberdeau was a main part of Florida’s 2nd ranked power play last season. Huberdeau registered a superb 11 goals and 23 assists for 34 total points on the man advantage last year for the Cats.

While Huberdeau certainly experienced a memorable year, a 90+ point campaign for Huby was not rewarded with a trip to the 2019 All-Star Game, unfortunately. The 26-year-old native of Quebec currently has his eyes set on a potential trip to the 2020 All-Star Game in St. Louis with a marvelous start this season.

While participating in 27 games, the longest-tenured Panther (8 seasons) has already recorded 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 total points. More impressively, despite being an integral piece on Florida’s top PP unit, all 10 of Huberdeau’s goals have been scored at even strength.

In addition, Huberdeau has also shown major improvements on the defensive end under Coach Q’s new system. While finishing the 2019 season with a -14 rating, Jonathan Huberdeau currently possesses a +3 rating during the 2020 campaign.

Also, Huberdeau’s giveaway to takeaway ratio has improved tremendously, as well. During the 2019 seasons, Huby recorded an atrocious ratio of 84 giveaways to only 43 takeaways. However, the tide has turned in 2019-20, with Huberdeau producing only 19 giveaways to 16 takeaways.

In essence, Huberdeau has developed into a polished two-way superstar at the NHL level. The 26-year-old has not even entered the prime of his career and is already shattering numerous franchise records as a member of the Florida Panthers organization.

At this current moment, Huberdeau is on pace to establish a career-high mark for most points in a season. Essentially, Huby is currently playing at a 100+ point pace, forming an elite dynamic duo alongside two-way superstar Aleksander Barkov.

Quite frankly, not only does Barkov deserve a spot on the 2020 All-Star Game roster for the Atlantic Division, but Jonathan Huberdeau most certainly deserves to join his linemate. Huberdeau is currently leading the Cats in total points with 33, producing more points than Sasha Barkov, thus far.

Considering Jonathan Huberdeau has never been selected to participate in an NHL All-Star Game, the 2020 All-Star classic should be the first of many in the tremendous career of Huberdeau. The former Calder Trophy winner has helped guide the Florida Panthers to the second seed in the Atlantic Division, hence demonstrating that Huby’s individual success directly correlates with team success.

Chris Driedger Jersey

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Le gardien des Panthers de la Floride Chris Driedger ne pouvait pas espérer un meilleur dénouement pour son premier départ dans la Ligue nationale de hockey (LNH), samedi soir, face aux Predators de Nashville.

L’homme masqué de 25 ans a repoussé l’ensemble des 27 rondelles dirigées sur son filet et sa formation l’a emporté au compte de 3 à 0.

«Honnêtement, je suis sans mots, a indiqué Driedger au site internet de la LNH après sa brillante performance. C’était un long chemin. Ils m’ont dit que j’amorcerais le match d’hier [vendredi]. J’étais vraiment nerveux au début, mais une fois que la rondelle est tombée, je me suis senti bien.»

«C’est incroyable, a-t-il poursuivi. Tous les tirs que je voyais, j’étais en mesure de les arrêter. Si je ne les voyais pas, ils [mes coéquipiers] les bloquaient. Ils ont fait un travail impressionnant en avant de moi.»

Un parcours sinueux

Ce n’était cependant pas la première fois que Driedger gardait les buts dans le circuit Bettman, puisque lors de son passage avec les Sénateurs d’Ottawa, il a été appelé en relève à trois occasions, et ce, lors de trois campagnes différentes.

Le natif de Winnipeg et son équipement ont cependant beaucoup voyagé depuis. En effet, le gardien a porté l’uniforme de neuf équipes depuis le début de sa carrière professionnelle en 2013-2014. Il a d’ailleurs joué pour cinq formations de la Premier AA League (ECHL).

Driedger a amorcé son parcours dans l’organisation des Panthers lorsqu’il a signé un contrat de deux saisons en février 2019. Cette saison, il a été dominant avec les Thunderbirds de Springfield dans la Ligue américaine, maintenant une moyenne de buts alloués de 2,09 et un taux d’efficacité de ,938.

Un message à Sergei Bobrovsky

Si les statistiques de Driedger lui ont permis d’obtenir un premier départ dans la LNH, les malheurs du gardien Sergei Bobrovsky peuvent également expliquer que l’on soit à la recherche de solutions en Floride.

Le Russe, qui possède un contrat de sept ans d’une valeur totale de 70 M$, détient le deuxième pire pourcentage d’arrêts (,884) de la LNH. En 21 matchs, il a aussi maintenu une moyenne de buts alloués de 3,48.

Bobrovsky devait initialement obtenir le départ contre les Panthers, mais l’entraîneur-chef Joel Quenneville en a décidé autrement après la piètre performance de son numéro 1 contre les Capitals de Washington, mercredi.

«C’était un match où nous avons bien joué et nous avions besoin de quelques arrêts pour l’emporter», avait dit le pilote lors de la conférence de presse suivant ce revers de 4 à 3.

Reste maintenant à voir si le blanchissage de Driedger donnera un certain sentiment d’urgence à Bobrovsky.

Evgenii Dadonov Jersey

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REST OF SEASON OUTLOOK AND POSITION RANK
Expect Evgenii Dadonov to be a reliable fantasy starter the rest of the season. His 119 projected fantasy points puts him at #9 behind Mark Stone and ahead of Johnny Gaudreau. He has averaged 2.12 fantasy points in his past 113 games, which is less than our projected per game average. He is projected to average 2.42 fantasy points. His rank based on avg proj (#11) is worse than his rank based on total fantasy points. He is underrated if you compare his ownership based rank with his projection rank. At 96%, he is the #14 most highly owned right wing. Evgenii Dadonov is expected to improve on this season-to-date’s #16 fantasy position rank.

REST OF SEASON RANK (RW) PROJECTION FANTASY STATS SINCE 2019
#7 Teuvo Teravainen (98% OWN) 139 FP, 2.9 per game 216 FP, 82 gp, 2.63 per game (#11)
#8 Mark Stone (99% OWN) 128 FP, 2.78 per game 209 FP, 77 gp, 2.71 per game (#9)
#9 Evgenii Dadonov (96% OWN) 119 FP, 2.42 per game 172 FP, 82 gp, 2.1 per game (#21)
#10 Johnny Gaudreau (100% OWN) 118 FP, 2.57 per game 264 FP, 82 gp, 3.22 per game (#6)
#11 Matt Duchene (93% OWN) 116 FP, 2.31 per game 178 FP, 73 gp, 2.44 per game (#14)
These projections power SportsLine’s Computer Picks and Fantasy Data. But for contest winning DFS optimal lineups by top experts like Mike McClure visit SportsLine’s new Daily Fantasy Hub.

EVGENII DADONOV WEEK 11 AND 12 FANTASY OUTLOOK
Evgenii Dadonov is projected for 2.18 fantasy points in one game the rest of the week in week 11 which ranks him as the #37 projected right wing for the week and a starter for most fantasy teams. This is projected to be a slightly below average game with fewer fantasy points than he is projected to average per game the rest of the season. He is ranked above Jakob Silfverberg but behind Luke Kunin the rest of the week. Week 12 will be better based on projected rank (#15). He is projected for 7.27 fantasy points.

12/13 TO 12/15 RANK (RW) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#35 Josh Bailey (52% OWN) 2.2 FP, 1 GP 1.98 FP
#36 Luke Kunin (5% OWN) 2.19 FP, 2 GP 1.03 FP
#37 Evgenii Dadonov (96% OWN) 2.18 FP, 1 GP 2.42 FP
#38 Jakob Silfverberg (70% OWN) 2.15 FP, 1 GP 2.01 FP
#39 Sam Reinhart (82% OWN) 2.06 FP, 1 GP 2.39 FP
12/16 TO 12/22 RANK (RW) PROJECTION ROS FP PROJ AVG
#13 Brock Boeser (99% OWN) 7.4 FP, 3 GP 2.32 FP
#14 Johnny Gaudreau (100% OWN) 7.3 FP, 3 GP 2.57 FP
#15 Evgenii Dadonov (96% OWN) 7.3 FP, 3 GP 2.42 FP
#16 Sam Reinhart (82% OWN) 7.1 FP, 3 GP 2.39 FP
#17 T.J. Oshie (95% OWN) 7.1 FP, 3 GP 2.36 FP
FANTASY PROJECTIONS AND ACTUAL STATS
The tables below show projected stats (totals and averages) for the rest of the season and upcoming weeks. Also included are actual stats from the current and last season.

EVGENII DADONOV FP PTS G A SOG PPG
Rest of ’19-20 119 43.2 20.1 23.0 135 5.3
– Per Game (49 Proj) 2.42 0.88 0.41 0.47 2.75 0.11
12/9 to 12/15 (1 Game) 2.18 0.84 0.39 0.45 2.59 0.10
12/16 to 12/22 (3 Games) 7.3 2.62 1.22 1.40 7.9 0.32
’19-20 Season 68 24 12 12 81 5
– Per Game (31 GP) 2.18 0.77 0.39 0.39 2.61 0.16
’18-20 Seasons 240 94 40 54 276 13
– Per Game (113 GP) 2.12 0.83 0.35 0.48 2.44 0.12

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For many New York Islanders fans, they have never known any real stability with the franchise. For those under 35-years-old or so, the days of the Bill Torrey and Al Arbour well-run Isles teams are no different than your grandfather talking about buying a movie ticket for a nickel.

I’m not even talking about four consecutive cups. I’m talking about having a team that isn’t the well-deserved punchline of NHL jokes.

Isles fans have been treated to “Mad Mike” Milbury, the John Spano fiasco, Gorton’s Fisherman jerseys, Kirk Muller, trading Roberto Luongo, trading Zdeno Chara, Garth Snow, Rick DiPietro’s contract, first-round-draft-pick busts, Doug Weight’s defensive structure, a decrepit Coliseum, Barclay’s obstructed views, split-location home games, Andrew Ladd’s contract and hearing ad nauseam about Josh Ho-Sang.

But take one look around the Islanders right now. What’s the biggest complaint you hear? A bad power play. Not enough scoring. Too many grinders. Oliver Wahlstrom not making the team.

What beautiful complaints to have.

Turning It Around
For once, Islanders fans can gripe like most fans do – about winning and losing, the refs, ice time, bad penalties, defensive pairings and power play units. No longer do fans have to be embarrassed by ownership, management or the arena (soon enough).

And I’ll give credit where it is due – with Lou Lamoriello.

John Ledecky and Scott Malkin may have signed Lou, but he’s been the one to orchestrate the turnaround plan.

I was skeptical at first. Fans have and will give Lou many slights for some of his roster moves (more on that below) and his old-school approach and private manner.

You may not have liked signing so many bottom-six players, or not doing better to re-sign Tavares, or even for letting Robin Lehner go, but if you look at this holistically, he has finally given fans the stability they deserve.

Culture
When your first order of business is signing Barry Trotz to a five-year contract, you are on your way to immediate culture change for the better. In addition, Lou Lamoriello brought in some players that raised eyebrows but built on what he knew was necessary in building a team identity.

And he knew exactly what the cultural effect would be.

He brought in Leo Komarov, another “grinder” who brings tenacity and penalty killing to the team. He signed Robin Lehner, showing that character factored into decision-making as much as stats. Valtteri Filppula brought a veteran defensive-minded leader for younger players.

He traded for Matt Martin and reunited a line that not only was a fan favorite but is now dubbed “the identity line”. He built a team identity and even gave fans an entire line to show it nightly.

And if the identity of the Islanders is a tough, hard-working, defensive one represented by the Martin – Cizikas – Clutterbuck identity line then that’s a team Isles fans can be proud of.

Roster Continuity
The Islanders are returning their entire core forward group from last year (save for a 3C swap of Filppula for Brassard) and the same top three blueline pairings (assuming Dobson is taking the 7th spot from Hickey).

That is something that doesn’t happen in pro sports, and I can’t remember it with the Isles of all teams. That’s just something that good teams always got to enjoy.

He re-signed forwards Brock Nelson (through 2024-25), Jordan Eberle (through 2023-24), Anders Lee (through 2025-26), Anthony Beauvillier (through 2020-21) and added goalie Semyon Varlamov (through 2022-23).

Pair those signings with existing deals (Bailey through 2022-23, Cizikas 2020-21, Clutterbuck 2021-22, Komarov 2021-22, Johnston 2021-22, Boychuck 2021-22, Leddy 2021-22, Pelech 2020-21, Mayfield 2022-23, Dobson 2021-22) and you have nearly an entire roster expected to stay with the team through at least the 2021-22 season.

You can even look deeper at the no-move or no-trade clauses that drew such ire from fans. Lee, Nelson, Eberle, Komarov and Varlamov were all given clauses in their deals with Lou. I’d expect this to become standard in Isles’ deals moving forward.

These clauses give players confidence that they are valued and it lets the team know that the roster is being invested in, not being used as trade deadline pawns.

Do you know who notices that? Players. Both on your own team and others.

When you’re faced with a decision for where to play, knowing you’re going to a team that has roster continuity year to year is a factor. No longer are fans and players faced with the annual drama of who is playing on the wing of our star center.

Do you know who notices that? Everyone.

Looking Ahead
You may have complained about some signings, or trades, or lack of signings or trades. You may even have your complaints about young players not doing enough, or young players not getting a chance. Either way, your complaints are what fans of healthy organizations talk about.

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The very first Russian-born and trained player to make it to the NHL was Victor Nechayev. Upon marrying an American woman that allowed him entry into the USA, Nechayev played one season of professional hockey in North America. That included three games for the Los Angeles Kings during the 1982-83 season, one of which saw him score a goal.

Nearly a decade would pass before the league would see a major influx of Russians, as the Iron Curtain began to crumble.

The NHL’s Top-50 Russians of All-Time
Sergei Pryakhin was the first Russian allowed exodus, and he promptly joined the Calgary Flames. Alexander Mogilny defected to join the Buffalo Sabres, and is still the only Russian to eclipse the 70-goal mark. More former Soviets would quickly become NHL superstars as well, while the 1993-94 New York Rangers would become the first team with Russian players to get their names inscribed on Lord Stanley’s Cup.

Since that time, Russians are seemingly as commonplace in the NHL as any other nationality – “every team has one”, so to speak. THW takes a look through nearly 40 years of history (yes, we even considered Nechayev) to determine the league’s Top-50 Russians of all-time.

Here is who we can up with.

50. Yuri Khmylev (Buffalo, St. Louis): Affectionately called “The Yuro-Train” during his time in Buffalo, Khmylev made his NHL debut at the age of 28. He had back-to-back 20-goal seasons in 1992-93 and 1993-94, while seeing occasional time alongside Pat LaFontaine and Alexander Mogilny. Khmylev eventually became more of a defensively-focused player, and would briefly be linemates with Wayne Gretzky followed a trade to St. Louis.

49. Igor Ulanov (Winnipeg, Washington, Chicago, Tampa Bay, Montreal, Edmonton, New York Rangers, Florida): Nicknamed “The Mangler” throughout his career, Ulanov was a punishing force on defense for parts of 13 seasons. At 6-foot-2 and well over 200 pounds, he was mean and ornery but never got enough credit for having sound positioning on the ice. Ulanov played 739 regular season games, and chalked up 1,151 penalty minutes in that time.

48. Ilya Bryzgalov (Anaheim, Phoenix/Arizona, Philadelphia, Edmonton, Minnesota): Too many people recall Bryzgalov as being more of an oddity, that they forget he was also a talented goaltender. He would win a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2006-07, and eventually became a starting goaltender in the league once he moved onto the Coyotes and Flyers. Bryzgalov’s career numbers came out to 221-162-0-54, with a 2.58 goals-against average and a .912 save percentage.

best russian hockey players
Bryzgalov may have been an oddity at times, but he was a Stanley Cup champion and a winning netminder (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports).
47. Igor Kravchuk (Chicago, Edmonton, St. Louis, Ottawa, Calgary, Florida): Kravchuk was solid defensively, and possessed an offensive touch as well. In his very first NHL season (1991-92), he helped the Blackhawks reach the Stanley Cup Final against the Pittsburgh Penguins. He would play 11 more seasons after that. Kravchuk’s finest campaign was 1992-93 with the Oilers when he went 12-38-50 – all career highs – in 81 games.

46. Danil Markov (Toronto, Phoenix/Arizona, Carolina, Philadelphia, Nashville, Detroit): A tireless, fearless defender, Markov could take a hit and give one in return. He once infamously took stitches below his eye without any anesthetic in order to keep playing. Three times Markov played for teams that reached the Stanley Cup semi-final round across his nine NHL seasons.

45. Boris Mironov (Edmonton, Winnipeg, Chicago, New York Rangers): At 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Mironov could be a very physical defender – especially in the earlier part of his career – but he possessed a noticeable offensive upswing. Four times in his 11 seasons he would surpass 100 PIMs – all of them happening within his first six campaigns. Mironov also scored at least 30 points from the back end on six different occasions as well.

44. Alexander Frolov (Los Angeles, New York Rangers): Frolov had seven good seasons on the West Coast with the Kings, but then disappeared after a season-ending ACL injury during his lone year in the Big Apple. A two-time 30-goal scorer, he hit double digits in goals from 2002-03 through 2009-10 – all with Los Angeles. After his stint with the Rangers in 2010-11, Frolov finished out his career in the KHL.

43. Dmitri Mironov (Toronto, Pittsburgh, Anaheim, Detroit, Washington): Possessing a very similar build and style to that of his younger brother Boris, the elder Mironov was the more offensive of the two. In 10 NHL seasons, Dmitri Mironov recorded five straight seasons (excluding the 1994-95 lockout) of at least 30 points as a blueliner. His career high of 52 (13-39-52) came in 1996-97. Mironov won the Stanley Cup with the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.

42. Oleg Tverdovsky (Anaheim, Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, New Jersey, Carolina, Los Angeles): Though born in Ukraine, Tverdovsky developed his game in Russia and represented the country internationally. A highly gifted offensive-defenseman, he recorded at least 50 points in a season on three separate occasions. Perhaps best thought of as a Duck, Tverdovsky won two Stanley Cups in his career – one with the 2002-03 New Jersey Devils and one with the 2005-06 Carolina Hurricanes.

41. Maxim Afinogenov (Buffalo, Atlanta): When Afinogenov arrived on the scene in Buffalo in 1999-00, he seemed destined to become the next Pavel Bure. With lightning-speed and exhilarating rushes, he thrilled Sabres fans for nine seasons. The trouble was that as fast as Afinogenov was, his scoring could not keep pace. He never scored more than 24 goals in a season, and that came during his lone and final NHL campaign with the Atlanta Thrashers. Three times he scored at least 20 for Buffalo, but he could never fully harness his raw talent.

best russian hockey players
The hope was that Maxim Afinogenov would become another Pavel Bure, but it never materialized.
40. Andrei Kovalenko (Quebec, Colorado, Montreal, Edmonton, Philadelphia, Carolina, Boston): Kovalenko was nicknamed “The Tank”. While standing a modest 5-foot-11, he weighed 230 pounds and was very sturdy in front of the net. Kovalenko possessed a decent scoring touch, and generated double digits in goals for all but one of his nine NHL seasons. His highest total came in 1996-97 when he potted 32 for the Oilers.

39. Alexander Karpovtsev (New York Rangers, Toronto, Chicago, New York Islanders, Florida): Though some dogged him later in his career as being a “lazy” player, Karpovtsev was nonetheless a very talented defender. He possessed good size at 6-foot-2 and 200 pounds, and could contribute offensively. His finest season came in 1996-97 when he finished second among Rangers blueliners in scoring (9-29-38), and fed off of the play of Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Brian Leetch and Adam Graves. He was one of the first Russians to have his named etched onto the Stanley Cup in 1994. Very sadly, we lost Karpovtsev in the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl tragedy in 2011.

38. Valeri Bure (Montreal, Calgary, Florida, St. Louis, Dallas): Though not as high-scoring as his more renowned older brother, Valeri Bure could still put pucks home. He would surpass the 20-goal plateau five times during his career. When Bure tallied a career-high 35 goals in 1999-00 for the Flames, he and his older brother set the NHL record (93) for most goals in a season by a pair of siblings. He finished her career with 400 points (174 G, 226 A) in 621 games.

37. Alexander Semin (Washington, Carolina, Montreal): An incredibly gifted scorer, Semin could have been one of the greats but earned a reputation as being lackadaisical or lazy at times. Still, his god-given talent cannot be ignored. In nine of his 11 NHL seasons, Semin reached double digits. He was at least a point-per-game player in three different seasons, and scored 40 goals in 73 games for the 2009-10 Washington Capitals.

Alexander Semin
Alexander Semin’s offensive skills could seem otherwordly at times (Photo Credit: Andy Martin Jr.)

36. Artemi Panarin (Chicago, Columbus, New York Rangers). “The Bread Man” is about to embark on the Big Apple portion of his NHL career, but has already established himself as one of the more skillful Russians to have graced the league. Joining the Blackhawks in 2015-16 after seven KHL seasons, Panarin scored 30 goals and 77 points as a rookie to win the Calder. During his two seasons for the Blue Jackets, he scored at better than a point-per-game pace.

35. Viktor Kozlov (San Jose, Florida, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Washington): Kozlov was selected 8th overall in 1993 by the Sharks, and it wasn’t difficult to see why. He stood 6-foot-4 and over 230 pounds in a time when bigger always seemed better. Kozlov would end up playing 14 seasons in the NHL, almost half of which were spent with the Panthers. He would score at least 12 goals in 11 of those campaigns, and finished his career with 198.

34. Alexei Zhitnik (Los Angeles, Buffalo, New York Islanders, Philadelphia, Atlanta): Zhitnik was born in Ukraine during Soviet times, but played internationally for Russia. He could score from the blueline and possessed a cannon of a shot as well (though sometimes he had difficulty in hitting the net). Across his career, Zhitnik played in two Stanley Cup Finals but never won the Cup. On Feb. 20, 2007, he became the eighth defenseman from outside of North America to play 1,000 regular season games.

33. Vladimir Malakhov (New York Islanders, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Rangers, Philadelphia): A behemoth on defense, Malakhov stood 6-foot-4 and near the 230-pound mark. Aside from his hulking figure, he also possessed a great deal of offensive capabilities. In his rookie NHL season, Malakhov had 52 points (14G, 38A) in 64 games. Five times he scored at least 10 goals in a season. He was one of four Russians to win the Cup with the Devils in 1999-00.

32. Alexei Gusarov (Quebec, Colorado, New York Rangers, St. Louis): Gusarov was another Soviet-era player who made the jump to the NHL in his late-20s. He would join the Nordiques in 1990-91, and remained with the franchise on into the 2000-01 season. Possessing a touch of offense to his game, Gusarov was also very tough and was instrumental to the Avalanche during their rivalry years with Detroit. He would help the Avs win the Cup in 1995-96.

31. Sergei Samsonov (Boston, Edmonton, Montreal, Chicago, Carolina, Florida): After potting 22 goals for the Bruins in 1997-98, Samsonov was named the NHL’s Rookie of the Year. He would end up scoring at least 19 goals for the next four seasons after that. Samsonov would help the Edmonton Oilers reach the Stanley Cup Final in 2005-06, after coming over in a trade from Boston. He would scored 235 goals across 13 seasons.

30. Alexander Radulov (Nashville, Montreal, Dallas): Radulov’s game has matured through his three separate chapters in the NHL. Highly-skilled but aggravatingly youthful during his time with the Preds, he has since blossomed into a go-to player in Dallas. Radulov’s first six seasons saw him record 300 points (121G, 179A) in 382 games.

Alexander Radulov – best russian hockey players
Alexander Radulov’s play has gotten better as he has matured (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey).
29. Igor Korolev (St. Louis, Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, Toronto, Chicago): Korolev was one of the hardest working players in the game during his time. His finest years came as a member of the Maple Leafs when he recorded double digits in goals in all four seasons in Toronto. Though his scoring tapered off at times, he remained defensively responsible throughout his career. Korolev’s life was cut short by the Lokomotiv Yaroslavl plane crash.

28. Dmitri Yushkevich (Philadelphia, Toronto, Florida, Los Angeles): A superb shot-blocker, Yushkevich developed a reputation as being a fearless battler throughout his entire career. He grew into being a top-4 defenseman, and ended up playing 786 regular season games. Seven of his 11 NHL seasons were in a Maple Leafs uniform. If there was ever a defender who typified the word tireless, it would be Yushkevich.

27. Sergei Makarov (Calgary, San Jose, Dallas): Makarov was one of greatest Soviet hockey players to ever lace ’em up. He would receive Hockey Hall of Fame induction in 2016, namely due to his play prior to his NHL career. Make no mistake though, Makarov was a topnotch NHLer as well. He won the Calder Trophy as the league’s top rookie as a 31-year-old, which cause the NHL to institute an age limit for the award. Twice he was a 30-goal scorer – once with the Flames and once with the Sharks.

26. Evgeny Kuznetsov (Washington): Not only did Kuznetsov win the Stanley Cup with the Capitals in 2018, he was the team’s leading scorer in the postseason with 32 points (12G, 20a) in 24 games. He set career highs in the 2017-18 season as well, both for goals (27) and points (83). He will keep fans in the D.C. area entertained for many years to come.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov – best russian hockey players
Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) celebrates after scoring goal. (Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports)
25. Sergei Nemchinov (New York Rangers, Vancouver, New York Islanders, New Jersey): Like Karpovtsev and two other Russians who made our list, Nemchinov was one of the first from his country to win the Stanley Cup when the Rangers did so in 1994. He would win a second one in 2000 as a member of the Devils. Nemchinov scored 30 goals in his rookie season of 1991-92, and was the first player in NHL history to play for all three “Hudson River” teams – the Rangers, Islanders and Devils.

24. Sergei Brylin (New Jersey): If there was a most underrated player on our list, it would have to be Sergei Brylin. He played 12 NHL seasons – all with the Devils – and was a member of their Cup-winning teams in 1995, 2000 and 2003. Brylin’s finest season came in 2000-01 when he set career highs in goals (23), assists (29) and points (52).

23. Andrei Markov (Montreal): Markov has suffered a lot of injuries in his career, but his time spent in the NHL saw him become one of the most steadfast defenders in the league regardless. In 990 games, he generated 572 points (119G, 453A) from the back end. Seven times Markov generated at least 35 assists in a season. Twice he finished in the top-10 in voting for the Norris Trophy.

Andrei Markov, Montreal Canadiens
Andrei Markov finished in the top-10 for Norris Trophy voting twice in his career (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports).
22. Vladimir Tarasenko (St. Louis): Tarasenko is easily one of the most dynamic players in the game today. He has scored at least 33 goals for the Blues for five seasons straight. Tarasenko finished second on the team in playoff goals during their Cup-run in 2018-19. Now that he has that Cup and is showing no signs of slowing down, he will likely have earned a much higher spot on our list by the time he has retired. Many wonder if Tarasenko can become the first Blues player since 1993-94 to reach 50 goals in a season.

21. Valeri Kamensky (Quebec, Colorado, New York Rangers, Dallas, New Jersey): Kamensky was another key component for the Avalanche during their rivalry years with the Red Wings, and one of the team’s premier scorers. When the Avs won the Cup in 1995-96, Kamensky scored 38 goals that season, plus another 10 during the playoffs. He would finish his NHL career having scored 200 regular season goals in 637 games.

20. Viacheslav Fetisov (New Jersey, Detroit): In his younger years, Fetisov was widely considered the best defenseman in the world. He would eventually make his NHL debut with the 1989-90 Devils at the age of 31. Playing until the age of 40, Fetisov appeared in three Stanley Cup Finals with the Red Wings, and won the Cup in 1997 and 1998. Despite the late start, he still managed to record 228 points (36G, 192A) in 546 games.

19. Evgeni Nabokov (San Jose, New York Islanders, Tampa Bay): Though born in Kazakhstan during Soviet times, Nabokov primarily represented Russia on the international scene. He would win the Calder Trophy in 2000-01 when he went 32-21-7 for the Sharks and put forth a 2.19 goals-against and a .915 SV%. Nabokov was named to the First All-Star Team in 2008, and finished in the top-5 in voting for the Vezina Trophy on five different occasions.

18. Vladimir Konstantinov (Detroit): Were it not for the tragic accident that cut his career short, Konstantinov may have had a Hall of Fame career. He was nicknamed “Vlad the Impaler”, and with good reason – there were very few who could bodycheck as well as he could. Konstantinov earned the NHL Plus/Minus Award in 1995–96, with a brilliant plus-60. Though not overly large, he was solid like steel and his hits were devastating. Konstantinov would win the Cup with the Red Wings in 1997, and had his name included with the 1998 team as well.

Vladimir Konstantinov Detroit Red Wings
Defenseman Vladimir Konstantinov of the Detroit Red Wings moves down the ice during Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals against the Philadelphia Flyers (Rick Stewart /Allsport)
17. Alexei Yashin (Ottawa, New York Islanders): As much as Yashin was criticized during his career for what was felt to be a failure to show up in the playoffs, he was still a very talented hockey player. Contract disputes certainly did not help either, but Yashin scored at least 30 goals in half of his dozen NHL campaigns. He was a Second All-Star Team selection in 1998-99, and finished second in voting for the Hart Trophy that season as well.

16. Vyacheslav Kozlov (Detroit, Buffalo, Atlanta): A two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Red Wings, Slava Kozlov was one of the most consistent scorers of his generation. Playing parts of 18 NHL seasons, he scored at least 20 goals in a season 11 different times. Even while with the lowly Thrashers for his final seven campaigns, Kozlov had 70-point seasons four times.

15. Nikita Kucherov (Tampa Bay): Though still early on, it appears that Kucherov is in the process of assembling a Hockey Hall of Fame career. For six straight seasons his point totals have increased for the Lightning. Kucherov reached the 100-point plateau both in 2017-18 and 2018-19. Scoring 128 points (41G, 87A) in 2018-19, he earned the Art Ross Trophy, Hart Trophy and Ted Lindsay Award. Now all he needs is a Stanley Cup.

Nikita Kucherov Ted Lindsay Art Ross Hart – best russian hockey players
Nikita Kucherov with the Ted Lindsay award, Art Ross trophy, and Hart trophy during the 2019 NHL Awards show. (Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports)
14. Nikolai Khabibulin (Winnipeg, Phoenix/Arizona, Tampa Bay, Chicago, Edmonton): Khabibulin was the first Russian goaltender to win the Stanley Cup when he did so with the 2003-04 Tampa Bay Lightning. His 333 career victories make him one of only 36 goalies to have recorded 300 wins. A four-time NHL All-Star, Khabibulin finished his career with 46 career shutouts.

13. Alexei Kovalev (New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, Montreal, Ottawa, Florida): Kovalev is widely recognized one of the most gifted individual players to appear in the league. He won the Stanley Cup with the Rangers in only his sophomore NHL season. His 21 playoff points were third most on that particular team, behind Brian Leetch and Mark Messier. Kovalev would go on to score 430 goals in his NHL career.

12. Alexei Zhamnov (Winnipeg, Chicago, Philadelphia, Boston): Nicknamed “Archie” for his red hair and resemblance to the comic character, Zhamnov was an exceptionally talented center who was strong both ways. Beginning with his rookie season in 1992-93, he scored at least 20 goals for eight consecutive seasons. In the lockout shortened 1994-95 season, Zhamnov reached a career-high of 30 goals in only 48 games. Injuries slowed him down later in his career, but his talent was always frustratingly underrated.

11. Sergei Bobrovsky (Philadelphia, Columbus, Florida ): It is very hard to find a finer goaltender – Russian or otherwise – than Sergei Bobrovsky. He is the top netminder on our list, having won the Vezina Trophy in 2012-13 and 2016-17. Bobrovsky’s 2.06 GAA and .931 SV% across 63 games for the Blue Jackets in 2016-17 are simply staggering. Now with the Panthers, he begins the next chapter in what could be a Hockey Hall of Fame career.

Florida Panthers Sergei Bobrovsky – best russian hockey players
Florida Panthers goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)
10. Sergei Gonchar (Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, Ottawa, Dallas, Montreal): There is a likelihood that Sergei Gonchar receives Hockey Hall of Fame induction someday. Few Russian defenders have been more offensively potent. He was an NHL Second All-Star Team selection in 2002 and 2003, and was picked to play in the All-Star Game in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2008. Twice he surpassed 20 goals in a season, despite being a blueliner. Gonchar earned a Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009, and finished his career with 811 points (220G, 591A) in 1,301 games.

9. Ilya Kovalchuk (Atlanta, New Jersey, Los Angeles): During his prime, Kovalchuk was arguably the purest sniper in the NHL. He won the “Rocket” Richard Trophy in 2003-04 when he tallied 41 goals in 81 games. Kovalchuk would follow that up with seasons of 52, 42, 52 and 43 respectively, before dropping more into the 30s. Had he not gone to play in the KHL from 2013-14 through 2017-18, he would have hit the 500-goal plateau a long time ago. Kovalchuk still may reach the mark regardless.

Los Angeles Kings left wing Ilya Kovalchuk
In his prime, Ilya Kovalchuk was one of the finest goal-scorers in the game (Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports).
8. Igor Larionov (Vancouver, San Jose, Detroit, Florida, New Jersey): Larionov was known as “The Professor” for his intellectual approach, his soft-spoken nature and his glasses. He was also one of the finest hockey players to ever skate. Enough so, that throughout the 1980s prior to his arrival in North America, he was thought of as a “Russian Gretzky”. Larionov won three Stanley Cups, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2008.

7. Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh): When it comes to sheer power combined with skill, there is no other Russian like Malkin – and few other players for that matter. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, he has been a beast his entire career but with an elite level of talent. Malkin has surpassed 100 points in a season three times, and led the league in scoring in 2008-09 and 2011-12. He has three Stanley Cup rings, a Hart Memorial Trophy, a Calder Trophy, a Conn Smythe, and a Ted Lindsay in addition to his two Art Ross wins.

6. Sergei Zubov (New York Rangers, Dallas Stars): Zubov is the highest-ranking defenseman on our list. He was named a 2019 inductee into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Zubov won two Stanley Cups in his career – first with the Rangers in 1994, and then with Dallas in 1999. Eight times he surpassed 50 points in a season, and led the “Blueshirts” in scoring when they ended their 54-year curse. Zubov finished his career with 771 points in 1,068 games.

5. Pavel Datsyuk (Detroit): Were it not for the player who is ranked at the top of our list, we would probably have considered Datysuk the best all-around Russian to have ever graced the NHL. Nicknamed “The Magic Man”, he is able to do things with a puck that no other player could ever duplicate. Two Stanley Cups, over 900 points, three Selke Trophies, four Lady Byngs – pretty much every reason for Datsyuk to be in the top-5.

4. Pavel Bure (Vancouver, Florida, New York Rangers): “The Russian Rocket” was inducted in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012, and deservedly so. There was arguably no player more exhilarating from his generation than Bure. Twice in his career he scored 60 goals in a season. Three other times he reached 50. Bure’s blinding speed, cannon of a shot, and pure “thrill factor” place him at fourth on our list.

Pavel Bure, Florida Panthers – best russian hockey players
Pavel Bure goes down in history as one of the most electrifying players in hockey history (Photo Credit: Rick Stewart/Getty Images/NHLI).
3. Alexander Mogilny (Buffalo, Vancouver, New Jersey, Toronto): It is a travesty that Mogilny has not yet been enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame. Were it not for hip and back injuries, his numbers would have been even more prolific. Still, Mogilny generated 1,032 points (473 G, 559 A) in 990 games. Eight times he reached at least 30 goals in a season, including 76 in 1992-93. He also won the Cup in 1999-00.

2. Alex Ovechkin (Washington): As each season passes, Ovechkin furthers the conclusion that he is the NHL’s all-time greatest goal scorer. Having scored 658 times by the time he turned 33, there is speculation that he could even reach Gretzky’s mark of 894 for tops overall. Only time with tell, but Ovie has got his Stanley Cup (2018) and will likely set scoring marks that no other Russian will ever duplicate.

1. Sergei Fedorov (Detroit, Anaheim, Columbus, Washington): Fedorov is tops on our list for being the best all-around Russian in NHL history, and one of the best all-around players ever. He could play forward or defense, or whatever way the great Scotty Bowman chose to utilize him. Fedorov was the first Russian to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau. He won three Stanley Cups, two Selke Trophies, one Hart Memorial Trophy, one Lester B. Pearson, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2015.