NHL Teams

10 Best NHL Players From Russia

By Usha Shrestha / 15 May 2023 08:00 AM

Nikita Kucherov, right winger and alternate captain of Tampa Bay Lightning
Source : twitter

NHL players from Russia include Nikita Kucherov, Artemi Panarin, Evgeni Malkin, and others. Alexander Ovechkin is also on the list.

Russia is a big hockey-playing country. The journey of Russian players to join the National Hockey League started in 1989.

Soviet player Sergeu Pryakhin was the first athlete to be officially allowed to play for the league. Pryakhin joined Calgary Flames at that moment. Then after, more Russian players began playing in the league.

According to the 2022-2023 statistics, around sixty active ice skaters from the largest country in the world participated in the regular season game for the year.

Commissioner Gary Bettman has announced that Russian players will remain eligible for the 2023 National Hockey League draft. To date, Washington Capitals has the most Russian athlete on the team, making the count of four.

NHL Players From Russia

NameAge
1. Nikita Kucherov29 years old
2. Artemi Panarin31 years old
3. Evgeni Malkin36 years old
4. Alexander Ovechkin37 years old
5. Kirill Kaprizov25 years old
6. Andrei Kuzmenko26 years old
7. Pavel Buchnevich27 years old
8. Mikhail Sergachyov24 years old
9. Andrei Svenchnikov22 years old
10. Evgeny Kuznetsov30 years old

 

1. Nikita Kucherov

Russian NHL players list consists of Nikita Kucherov. She is also considered one of the best athletes worldwide.

The 2019 Art Ross Trophy holder began his hockey career as a junior ice skater in 2009. He played for Krasnaya Armiya, part of CSKA Moscow.

After two years, Kucherov was drafted by the Tampa Bay Lightning in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft. Currently, he plays as the right winger and alternate team captain.

Nikita Kucherov focused on the puck wearing Tampa Bay Lighting jersey
Source : facebook

Throughout his career with the Lightning, the 29-year-old ice skater has won the Stanley Cup twice, in 2020 and back-to-back in 2022. He holds the record for having the most points as an athlete from his home country.

Kucherov has been awarded many awards for his performances on the field. As the most valuable player in the league, he was granted the Hart Memorial Trophy in 2019.

The same year, he won the Ted Lindsay Award as the outstanding athlete of the regular season.

2. Artemi Panarin

Best Russian hockey players name list includes Artemi Panarim. Panarim is the alternate captain and winger for the New York Rangers.

The Korkino-native used to play in the Kontinental Hockey League around 2008. After a few years, he signed an entry-level contract with the Blackhawks and participated in the regular season of 2015–2016.

Artemi Facebook updates from September 2022
Source : facebook

The 31-year-old athlete has had an interest in ice hockey since childhood. That was because of his hockey-playing grandfather, who encouraged and trained him for the sport.

Panarin wasn't selected for the 2010 Draft, and eventually, he began playing in his native country. Then, he began his journey with the New York Rangers in July 2019.

The 6-foot-tall Icestaker has played for the Columbus Blue Jackets for two years. Earlier, when he was with his debut team, he won his first Stanley Cup playoff against the St. Louis Blues.

3. Evgeni Malkin

Russia hockey players have Evgeni Malkin as the center player and alternate captain of the National Hockey League club Pittsburgh Penguins.

"Geno" started his hockey career at the age of 17. The Metallurg Magnitogorsk hockey program introduced him as a professional athlete. Moreover, he played in the 2003 Under-18 World Championships.

Evgeni Malkin posed with his casual attire in October 2022
Source : instagram

The Calder Memorial Trophy 2006 winner began his career with Pittsburgh the same year, even though he was drafted in 2004. He went through some legal procedures to leave his former native team.

His debut goal in the league was on October 18, when he scored against the New Jersey Devils. He had to wait three years for the team to engrave their name on the Silver Cup.

In June 2009, he won the Stanley Cup championship against the Detroit Red Wings. The previous year, the team was in the finals but lost to the same team.

4. Alexander Ovechkin

Russian players in NHL include Alexander Ovechkin from Moscow. Ovechkin is the captain and left winger of the Washington Capitals.

One of the greatest scorers in the league, Ovechkin, joined the team in 2005. The same year, he scored two goals against the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Alexander wearing The Capitals attire while exploring the Great Wall of China
Source : instagram

The subsequent year, he recorded his debut hat trick while playing against the Anaheim Ducks. With him on the team, the Capitals won the Stanley Cup in 2018. The same year, he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy.

Getting back to his early beginnings, Ovechkin held the hockey stick for the first time while playing in the RSL in 2001, when he was just 16.

After playing for three seasons in the league, he was drafted by the Capitals in 2004. The following year, he made his National Hockey League debut.

5. Kirill Kaprizov

Current Russian NHL players include Kirill Kaprizov from Novokuznetsk. Kaprizov is the left winger for the Minnesota Wild.

The 5-foot-10-inch athlete started playing in 2014 with his local club, Metallurg Novokuznetsk, in the KHL. Later, he played for Salavat Yulaev Ufa until the Wild picked him up in 2021.

Kirill captured holding a hockey stick at the Moscow ice rink
Source : facebook

"Kirill the Thrill" had a hockey stick at the age of four. He used to play the sport in school. Eventually, he was selected by a local junior hockey team.

Regarding his achievements, he was recently named an All-Star Game athlete. Previously, he held the Calder Memorial Trophy in 2021. Also, he has the most goals in a single playoff series in 2022 for the Wild.

6. Andrei Kuzmenko

Andrei Kuzmenko has been with the Vancouver Canucks since June 2022. Andrei debuted in the National Hockey League in October 2022 against the Edmonton Oilers.

Born on February 4, 1996, the athlete started playing in 2014 with HC CSKa Moscow. In the 2017–2018 season of the Kontinental Hockey League, he brought his team to the Gagarin Cup Finals.The Gagarin is awarded each season to the KHL champion.

Andrei updated his IG profile on March 21, 2023
Source : instagram

Kuzmenko previously played in the junior league for two years with Krasnaya Armira. He was traded to a different team in his native country before he leaped into the National Hockey League in 2022.

Being in the league, his debut hat trick was on November 3, when the team played against the Anaheim Ducks. The Canucks won by a score of 8-5. To date, he has scored six goals for the Canucks in a total of eleven games.

7. Pavel Buchnevich

Pavel Buchnevich, an ice hockey forward for the St. Louis Blues, began his career with the MHL in the 2011–2012 season. Pavel played for Almaz Cherepovets for two seasons.

The 28-year-old then played in the KHL with the Severstal Cherepovets. He prepared himself well before joining the National Hockey League.

Or else, he was picked by the New York Rangers in 2013. The Cherepovets native denied the offer, stating he was not ready for the league and had kept improving while playing in the KHL.

Pavel waving to his fans after entering the rink
Source : instagram

After enhancing himself for three years, Pavel finally signed a three-year entry contract with the Rangers on May 13, 2016.

In July 2021, the Rangers traded him to the St. Louis Blues in exchange for Samuel Balis. To date, he has scored 100 goals in the National Hockey League.

8. Mikhail Sergachyov

Mikhail Sergachyov has been a defenseman for the Tampa Bay Lightning since 2017. Serfachyov was drafted by the Montreal Canadiens in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft.

Mikhail is a former junior ice hockey player in the Ontario Hockey League. He shortly played for Irbis Kazan and later joined the Windsor Spitfires. He helped the club win the Memorial Cup in 2017.

Mikhail cheering with his teammate after the playoff  in June 2022
Source : instagram

He debuted in the National Hockey League and played against the Buffalo Sabres in 2016. He has made an impressive debut, counting the victory at 4-1. However, he returned to his former club the same year.

The following year, the Canadiens traded him to the Lightning in place of Jonathan Drouin. Even his Lightning debut was a 5-3 victory against the Florida Panthers.

At the time, he was noted as the youngest defenseman, scoring two goals. The 2018 Stanley Cup playoff was his debut, where the club defeated the New Jersey Devils.

9. Andrei Svenchnikov

Carolina Hurricane winger Andrei Svechnikov joined the teamed in 2018. The Hurricanes selected him in second overall.

The 6-foot-2-inch tall athlete used to play in the United States Hockey League in his initial hockey career. In 2017, he became the USHL Rookie of the Year.

Andrei during his visit to Raleigh for evaluations and meetings with team personnel
Source : facebook

Eventually, Andrei debuted in the national league on October 4, 2018. He made his first goal in his NHL career on October 7, 2018, against the New York Rangers.

To date, he has played 64 games accounting for 23 goals and 32 assists. This year, he won the NHL All-Star Game Award.

On the personal front, he has a family member in the NHL. His older brother Evgeny is the forward player of the San Jose Sharks.

10. Evgeny Kuznetsov

Evgeny Kuznetsov is the final player on the list of the finest athlete in the National Hockey League from Russia. Kuznetsov is in forward for the Washington Capitals.

The 30-year-old ice hockey player began his career with junior-level competition in his native land, followed by the senior-level championship.

Before joining the NHL, he won multiple awards, including a gold medal in the World Junior Ice Hockey Championship and the 2014 IIHF World Championship.

Evgeny standing in the ice rink holding his hockey stick
Source : twitter

Kuznetsov joined the Capitals with an entry-level contract in 2014. In the following years, he played in the Stanley Cup Playoff and scored two goals.

"The Birdman" won the Stanley Cup in 2018, where he accounted for 32 points in the playoffs. Apart from impressive performance on the ice, he has a high knowledge of hockey IQ. At least, this is what Canadian player Barry Trotz thinks of him.

Best Players in NHL Right Now

Best players in NHL right now are:

  1. Connor McDavid, Edmonton Oilers
  2. Cale Makar, Colorado Avalanche
  3. Auston Matthews, Toronto Maple Leafs
  4. Nathan MacKinnon, Colorado Avalanche
  5. Leoan Draisaiti, Edmonton Oilers
  6. Andrei Vasilevskiy, Tampa Bay Lightning
  7. Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
  8. Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning
  9. Aleksander Barkov, Florida Panthers
  10. Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

How Many Russian Players Are In The NHL?

There are 57 active Russian players in the NHL at the moment. That makes 5.4% of the current players in the National Hockey League now.

Some of them are Nikita Soshnikove, Mikhail Maltsev, Semyon Der-Arguchintsev, Nikolai Knyzhov, Daniil Tarasov, Igor Shesterkin, Vasili Podkolzin, Yegor Chinakhov, and others.

Almost every franchise has at least one ice skater from the world's largest country. The New York Islanders, St. Louis Blues, and Tampa Bay Lighting have the highest number, four.

Likewise, there are clubs with players from other countries as well. For instance, Toronto Maple Leafs have seven Swedish athletes, while the Dallas Stars have five Finns sportsmen.

Every year, eligible sportsmen are picked for the club through NHL Draft. And every year, outstanding Russian players qualify to get the chance of being selected for the team.

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