NHL Players

12 Greatest Russian Hockey Players Of All Time

By Kapil Sapkota / 22 December 2023 10:35 AM

Source : instagram

Some of the most respected players in the National Hockey League (NHL) hail from Russia. Alex Ovechkin is a great Russian player and one of the best players in the league.

Ovechkin is only behind Wayne Gretzky in goals with 827 league-wide. His 1,502 are good enough to be placed at 16th.

Besides Alexander, other players, including Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Datsyuk, are the most notable Russian players in the NHL who saw massive success in the league.

Victor Nechayev was the first Russian ice hockey player to join the NHL. He was drafted by the Los Angeles Kings in 1982. Since then, the Russians have been making a solid presence in the league.

1. Alex Ovechkin

NHL Team: Washington Capitals

NHL Career: 2005 - present

Position: Left wing

Regular Season Record: 822 goals, 1,485 points, 1,347 games

Playoffs Record: 72 goals, 141 points, 147 games

Source : facebook

A long-time player of the Washington Capital, Ovechkin was drafted first overall by the Capitals franchise in the 2004 Entry Draft.

The Capitals promoted Ovechkin as the captain of the team in January 2010. Alex has won the Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy 9 times, leading the league in goals in 9 seasons to date.

Ovechkin received the Hart Memorial Trophy three times as the league's Most Valuable Player (MVP).

The Russian forward became the Stanley Cup champion in 2018 and played a key role in helping the Capitals win the title by posting a leading 15 goals in the 2018 playoffs.

2. Sergei Fedorov

NHL Team: Detroit Red Wings, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington Capitals

NHL Career: 1990 - 2009

Position: Center / Defense

Regular Season Record: 483 goals, 1,179 points, 1,248 games

Playoffs Record: 52 goals, 124 points, 183 games

Source : facebook

Fedorov spent most of his career with the Detroit Red Wings, who drafted him in 1989. He became a 3-time Stanley Cup Champion Red Wings.

Sergei is the first Russian player in the NHL to reach 1,000 NHL points. In 1994, the NHL awarded Fedorov the Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP.

The player appeared in six NHL All-Star Games between 1992 and 2003. The Hockey Hall of Fame inducted Fedorov in 2015.

3. Pavel Datsyuk

NHL Team: Detroit Red Wings

NHL Career: 2001 - 2016

Position: Center

Regular Season Record: 314 goals, 918 points, 953 games

Playoffs Record: 42 goals, 113 points, 157 games

Source : detroitnews

Pavel Datsyuk picked up two Stanley Cups with the Red Wings franchise in 2002 and 2008, playing a pivotal role in the team's success.

Datsyuk was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy consecutively from 2006 to 2009 for his excellent sportsmanship. Likewise, he won the Frank J. Selke Trophy three times from 2008 through 2010 in straight.

Pavel was named to four NHL All-Star Games during his career. The Detroit Red Wings made the playoffs every year Pavel played for the team.

4. Pavel Bure

NHL Team: Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, New York Rangers

NHL Career: 1991 - 2003

Position: Right Wing

Regular Season Record: 437 goals, 779 points, 702 games

Playoffs Record: 35 goals, 70 points, 64 games

Source : facebook

During his 12-season career in the NHL, Pavel Bure led the league in goals three times and won two Maurice Rocket Richard Trophy back to back in 2000 and 2001. As a fresher, he clinched the Calder Memorial Trophy in 1992.

The Russian right winger was selected for the NHL's All-Star Game 7 times between 1993 and 2001. He was named the NHL All-Star Game MVP in 2000. Bure was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2012.

5. Alexander Mogilny

NHL Team: Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, New Jersey Devils, Toronto Maple Leafs

NHL Career: 1989 - 2006

Position: Right Wing

Regular Season Record: 473 goals, 1032 points, 990 games

Playoffs Record: 39 goals, 86 points, 124 games

Source : instagram

Mogilny was drafted by the Buffalo Sabres in the 1988 NHL Draft. The Sabres named Alex the captain of the team in 1992, making him the first Russian to be an NHL captain.

The Russian right-winger scored 30 or more goals in 8 seasons and earned 50 or more points in 9 seasons.

Mogilny was the goal-scoring leader with 76 goals in the league in the 1992-93 season, tied with Teemu Selanne. He won the Stanley Cup championship title with the New Jersey Devils in 2000.

Alexander notched the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy in 2003.

6. Nikita Kucherov

NHL Team: Tampa Bay Lightning

NHL Career: 2013 - present

Position: Right Wing

Regular Season Record: 276 goals, 729 points, 644 games

Playoffs Record: 53 goals, 160 points, 142 games

Source : facebook

Kucherov became the back-to-back Stanley Cup champion with the Lightning in 2020 and 2021. The player led the NHL in the 2018-19 season in points and won the Art Ross Trophy.

Moreover, the forward also led the league in points in the 2021 and 2022 playoffs. He was awarded the prestigious Hart Memorial Trophy as the league's MVP in 2019.

During his 10-season career, Kucherov has surpassed 30 or more goals 6 times and 60 or more points in each season excluding his first in 2013-14 and the 2020-21 regular seasons which he missed completely. 

7. Sergei Zubov

NHL Team: New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Dallas Stars

NHL Career: 1992 - 2009

Position: Defense

Regular Season Record: 152 goals, 771 points, 1,068 games

Playoffs Record: 24 goals, 117 points, 164 games

Source : instagram

Regarded as one of the best defensemen in NHL history, Zubov was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2019.

The Russian defenseman won two Stanley Cups during his stint, first with the Rangers in 1994 and the next with the Stars in 1999. He was selected for the All-Star Game 4 times.

Upon his retirement, Zubov was the league's all-time scoring leader for Russian-born defensemen.

Honoring Zubov, the Stars franchise retired his #6 jersey in 2022.

8. Evgeni Malkin

NHL Team: Pittsburgh Penguins

NHL Career: 2006 - present

Position: Center

Regular Season Record: 471 goals, 1,229 points, 1,063 games

Playoffs Record: 67 goals, 113 points, 177 games

Source : instagram

In 2007, Malkin was awarded the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL's best rookie, in his second season. He has picked up 3 Stanley Cups with the Pens.

Malkin has won the Art Ross Trophy twice, as the league's top scorer in 2009 and 2012. He was the recipient of the Hart Memorial Trophy as the NHL's MVP in the latter year.

The forward has been named to the NHL's First All-Star Teams three times, first in 2008.

9. Igor Larionov

NHL Team: Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, New Jersey Devils

NHL Career: 1989 - 2004

Position: Center

Regular Season Record: 169 goals, 644 points, 921 games

Playoffs Record: 30 goals, 67 points, 150 games

Source : facebook

A 2008 Hockey Hall of Fame member, Larionov earned 50 or more points in 5 seasons during his NHL career. Igor clinched three Stanley Cup championship titles with the Detroit Red Wings.

His career-high 71 points came in his first season with the Red Wings in 1995-96. The IIHF Hall of Fame also enshrined Larionov in 2008.

10. Sergei Gonchar

NHL Team: Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, Ottawa Senators, Dallas Stars, Montreal Canadiens

NHL Career: 1995 - 2015

Position: Defense

Regular Season Record: 220 goals, 811 points, 1,301 games

Playoffs Record: 22 goals, 68 points, 141 games

Source : sportsnet

Gonchar captured the Stanley Cup with the Penguins in 2009. He became the first Russian defenseman to score over 20 goals in the regular season in 1988-99.

The player led the NHL in goals among defensemen in three seasons throughout his career. In the 2003-04 season, he led the NHL blueliners in both assists (47) and points (58).

Gonchar earned 50 or more points in 8 NHL seasons during his playing career.

11. Ilya Kovalchuk

NHL Team: Atlanta Thrashers, New Jersey Devils, Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals

NHL Career: 2001 - 2020

Position: Left-wing

Regular Season Record: 443 goals, 876 points, 926 games

Playoffs Record: 11 goals, 28 points, 40 games

Source : facebook

Ilya Kovalchuk had a strong influence early in the NHL leading the league in goals in the 2003-04 season. He won the Maurice "Rocket" Richard Trophy for that accomplishment.

Selected first overall in the 2001 NHL Entry Draft by the Thrashers, finished second in voting for the Calder Memorial Trophy in the 2001-02 season.

Kovalchuk registered 30 or more goals in his 9 NHL seasons. He accumulated 60 or more points in 8 seasons throughout his career in the league.

12. Alexei Zhamnov

NHL Team: Winnipeg Jets, Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers, Boston Bruins

NHL Career: 1992 - 2006

Position: Center

Regular Season Record: 249 goals, 719 points, 807 games

Playoffs Record: 6 goals, 19 points, 35 games

Source : insidethegames

Zhamnov was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft.  The forward spent most of his career with the Chicago Blackhawks, joining them in 1996.

He served as the Blackhawks' team captain from 2002 to 2004. During his 13-season career in the league, Zhamnov surpassed the mark of 20 or more goals and collected 50 or more points in 9 seasons.

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