Alexander Mogilny

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Alexander Mogilny
Alexander Mogilny.jpg
Born (1969-02-18) February 18, 1969 (age 45)
Khabarovsk, Russian SFSR, Soviet Union
Height 6 ft 0 in (183 cm)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg; 15 st 0 lb)
Position Right Wing
Shot Left
Played for USSR
CSKA Moscow
NHL
Buffalo Sabres
Vancouver Canucks
New Jersey Devils
Toronto Maple Leafs
New Jersey Devils
National team  Soviet Union 
 Russia
NHL Draft 89th overall, 1988
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 1986–2006

Alexander Gennadevich Mogilny (Russian: Александр Геннадиевич Могильный; born February 18, 1969) is a former Russian professional ice hockey player, currently the general manager of Admiral Vladivostok of the Kontinental Hockey League.

In the National Hockey League, Mogilny played for the Buffalo Sabres, Vancouver Canucks, Toronto Maple Leafs, and the New Jersey Devils. He tied for the NHL lead in goals in the 1992-93 NHL season with 76, and became a member of the Triple Gold Club by winning the Stanley Cup in 2000 with the New Jersey Devils.

Playing career

In the Soviet Union, Mogilny played on a line with center Sergei Fedorov and winger Pavel Bure. He represented the Soviet Union in 1988 and 1989 at the World Junior Championships, winning the Best Forward award in 1988. Mogilny was also part of the 1987 junior squad that competed in the World Championships known as the "Punch-up in Piestany" after both the Canadian and Russian juniors were disqualified after a bench clearing brawl in the gold medal match. Mogilny played for the senior Soviet Team that won a gold medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics. After the medal ceremony of the 1989 World Championships, he left the Soviet team and defected to North America with the help of representatives of the Buffalo Sabres,citation needed the NHL club that had drafted him, 89th overall, a year earlier in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Buffalo Sabres

Mogilny chose the number 89 in recognition of both the year he defected and his place in the draft, wearing #89 for his entire playing career. As a rookie, Mogilny struggled adapting to the North American culture and language, but produced a respectable amount of offense with 43 points in 65 games. His offensive production steadily improved over the next three years, largely credited to playing on the Sabres top line with Pat Lafontaine, until he tied Teemu Selänne for the most goals scored in the 1992–93 NHL season, scoring 76 goals in 77 games. In that same season he scored his 50th goal in his 46th game; however, it does not count as an official 50 goals in 50 games because his 50th goal came in his team's 53rd game.citation needed Mogilny's production faltered after a long-term injury befell linemate Lafontaine, though he continued to be a key component of the Sabres offense, scoring 126 points in 110 games over the next two seasons. With the injury to Lafontaine, Mogilny was named interim team captain, becoming the first European in NHL history to captain a team.

Vancouver Canucks

Due to financial restraints brought about by the contractual demands of Lafontaine and Dominik Hasek, the Sabres were forced to trade Mogilny along with a 5th round draft pick (Todd Norman) to the Vancouver Canucks for Mike Peca, Mike Wilson, and a 1st round draft pick (Jay McKee) on July 8, 1995.

Mogilny began the season playing with his former linemate from junior, Pavel Bure on what was expected to be one of the NHL's premiere offensive combinations. Bure would miss almost the entire season with a torn ACL, but Mogilny would find chemistry with Cliff Ronning and Martin Gelinas, scoring 107 points in his first season with the team. He would lead the team in scoring again in the 1996-97 season. However, his success would not last as minor injuries, reduced ice time, and inconsistent effort would drop his production to 128 points in 157 games over the next three seasons. Due to a lack of team success, and the perception that the trade with the Sabres had been a loss (as Mike Peca and Jay McKee would become star players in the Sabres organization), Mogilny was traded to the New Jersey Devils for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson on March 14, 2000.

New Jersey Devils

The Devils acquired Mogilny in the weeks leading up to the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs in hopes of him providing offense on a primarily defensive team. Though he struggled, only scoring 4 goals in 24 games, the Devils won the Stanley Cup which would be Mogilny's first and only NHL championship.

Mogilny would regain his form the following season, scoring 83 points - his highest total in five seasons. The Devils would again advance to the Stanley Cup Finals, this time losing to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games. Mogilny would score 16 points in 25 playoff games.

Toronto Maple Leafs

During the 2001 offseason, Mogilny signed a 4 year, $22 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and quickly became one of their top players. Despite missing 16 games of the season with a knee injury, Mogilny was able to score 24 goals and 57 points to place him 2nd in team scoring. He would elevate his play during the post-season of the same year. During the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs, with team captain Mats Sundin injured for much of the playoffs, Mogilny contributed offensively, scoring 8 goals, including 2 goals in each of the game 7s versus the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. The Leafs however, would fall in 6 games in the conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Mogilny emerged as the Leafs top scorer in the 2002–2003 NHL season, becoming the only player to out-perform Leafs captain Mats Sundin as the team's leading scorer since his Leafs debut, besting him by 7 points in 2002–03 and finishing in the top-15 in league scoring with 79 points. In Game 1 of the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, Mogilny recorded his first career playoff hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct at seasons end. In the 2003–04 season, he injured his hip and required major surgery, missing most of the season. He would return late to help the Leafs finish with their best record in franchise history. On March 15, 2004, versus the Buffalo Sabres, Mogilny became the second Russian player in NHL history to ever to score 1000 career points in the NHL when he assisted on the game-tying goal by Gary Roberts. The Leafs would complete the comeback, after trailing 5–2 in the third period, and win 6–5 in overtime when Mogilny set up Tomas Kaberle for the game-winning goal.

Return to New Jersey

Recovering over the lockout cancelled 2004–05 season, Mogilny returned to the NHL, re-signing with New Jersey in August 2005 after agreeing to US$7 million for two years. After clearing waivers, he was assigned to the Albany River Rats, the Devils minor league affiliate at the time, in order to make salary cap room for Patrik Eliáš' return. His 473 career NHL goals at the time were the most ever for a player entering the AHL. Mogilny played 19 games for the River Rats, and retired at the end of the season.

Alexander Mogilny was the first player to defect from the Soviet Union in May 1989, the first non-North American to lead the league in goals scored (along with Teemu Selänne from Finland), the first Russian to be named to the NHL All-Star Team, the first non-North American to be named captain of an NHL team, and is (as of the end of the 2013–14 season) the second all-time Russian scorer in the NHL behind former linemate Sergei Federov. Mogilny was the second Russian player to score 1000 points in the NHL, reaching the milestone just a few days after Fedorov.

International Play

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Mogilny made his senior debut with the Soviet national team as a 18-year-old in Canada. He played with the full roster Soviet Union team that won the gold medal.

In the 1996 World Cup of Hockey, Team Russia had played five preliminary games in order to set the groupings for the main tournament stage. Russia was the only team that went undefeated (winning against U.S.A (Detroit), Sweden (Stockholm), Finland (Moscow), Germany (Landshut) and tied against Team Canada (Calgary).1234 The U.S.A, Sweden and Finland games saw the pairing line of "Bure-Fedorov-Mogilny", for the first and only time internationally on the senior level,56 and was considered "perhaps the best forward line on earth" at the time.7 Mogilny and Fedorov played on the same line and both led the team in scoring, but they lost in the semi-finals against U.S.A, after defeating Finland 5-0 in the quarterfinals.

Player Profile

A natural right-winger, Alexander Mogilny profiles the classic Russian winger: An off-wing sniper with elusive skating ability, shiftiness, smooth puck skills and a deadly shot. Training under the CSKA Moscow hockey program, Mogilny developed elite skating and shooting capabilities to become one of the most talented Russian prospects to graduate from the Central Army. He had explosive acceleration, which helped him generate numerous breakaways and the ability to blast through defenders. Listed at 6' and 200 pounds, he possessed a strong combination of agility, balance as well an uncanny ability to be evasive in checks. Mogilny was particularly adept at creating quick-strike offence from his right-wing. He preferred to rush in on his off-wing, make a quick deke into the slot and fire a quick wristshot. If he was covered, Mogilny was more than capable of making crisp accurate passes to an open teammate off the rush to create an unpredictable offence. Although he was blessed with tremendous speed, Mogilny was also very skilled at slowing down his game to create half-ice offence because of his excellent hockey sense. He had outstanding on-ice awareness and was proficient in quarter-backing his team's offence from the half-boards. "Alexander is a conscientious player who sees the ice with considerable clarity" Pat Quinn once described Mogilny.8 He was generally a very structured, calculated player, utilizing his patience, physicality, and creative passing plays to generate offense. Offensively, Alex often drifted within a designated area in the offensive zone and would rely particularly on plays from the right side and behind the net; his anticipation, meanwhile, permitted him to retrieve loose pucks and create second opportunities from behind the opposing net. He utilized his shot and side-to-side movement, as well as sneaky tactics to generate chances and would generally return to a number of preferred locations in the offensive zone if he was out of position. If he was freewheeling, however, Mogilny's skill set allowed him to at times perform remarkable feats with the puck. His combination of raw hockey skills and his willingness to not shy away from physical play made him, at the time, one of the most complete offensive players of the game.

A poised player with the puck, and gifted with incredible vision, Mogilny generated an abundance of remarkable plays. In addition, his stick handling skills were excellent, and his skating was terrific. While he was not as explosive a skater as Bure, Mogilny's tremendous agility allowed him to navigate smoothly throughout the open ice. His speed was also very admirable. As a result, when carrying the puck into the offensive zone, he could frequently cut across the slot or maneuver into an open space to unleash his shot. Occasionally, though, he would catch the opponent unprepared, and would swiftly stickhandle through the defender. Defensively, his ability to send pucks cross-ice was useful when his team needed to transition quickly.

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin once called Mogilny the "best player he's ever played with".9 The two were teammates during Mogilny's tenure with the Maple Leafs. Sundin described Mogilny as "gifted, skilled, and a natural hockey player". Two-time Jack Adams Award winner and former coach of the Canadian Olympic hockey team Pat Quinn called him "the most talented player that he's ever coached".10 Mogilny was characterized by Quinn as "having good size and wonderful skating ability. He can play any kind of game."11 Igor Larionov who played with him briefly when Mogilny was a rookie with the Central Army team, was quickly impressed by the young Russian from Khabarovsk. When asked about Mogilny, Larionov said "He was such a talented guy. Really good with the stick, and smart. He was a natural" 12 Often the offensive catalyst for his line and his team, Mogilny has led his team in scoring various times . As his career progressed and injuries began to mount, he evolved into a cerebral playmaker to generate his offence. Mogilny has always been a strong two-way player thanks to a high level of hockey instincts and a tremendous sense of anticipation. His preferred move on a breakaway is a quick snapshot to catch the goalie off-guard. The 5-hole is also Mogilny's favourite spot to shoot.

Awards and achievements

"Alex, I think, was the strongest. He has the most agility, the quickest release and the best shot...the leader of our line"

Sergei Fedorov, who played on a line with Mogilny and Pavel Bure internationally.13
Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Competitor for Soviet Union Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold 1988 Calgary Ice hockey
World Championship
Gold 1989 Sweden Ice hockey
World Junior Championship
Silver 1988 Soviet Union Ice hockey
Gold 1989 USA Ice hockey

Career statistics

Bolded numbers indicate season/ playoff leader

    Regular season   Playoffs
Season Team League GP G A Pts PIM GP G A Pts PIM
1986–87 CSKA Moscow USSR 28 15 1 16 4
1987–88 CSKA Moscow USSR 39 12 8 20 14
1988–89 CSKA Moscow USSR 31 11 11 22 24
1989–90 Buffalo Sabres NHL 65 15 28 43 16 4 0 1 1 2
1990–91 Buffalo Sabres NHL 62 30 34 64 16 6 0 6 6 2
1991–92 Buffalo Sabres NHL 67 39 45 84 73 2 0 2 2 0
1992–93 Buffalo Sabres NHL 77 76 51 127 40 7 7 3 10 6
1993–94 Buffalo Sabres NHL 66 32 47 79 22 7 4 2 6 6
1994–95 Spartak Moscow IHL 1 0 1 1 0
1994–95 Buffalo Sabres NHL 44 19 28 47 36 5 3 2 5 2
1995–96 Vancouver Canucks NHL 79 55 52 107 16 6 1 8 9 8
1996–97 Vancouver Canucks NHL 76 31 42 73 18
1997–98 Vancouver Canucks NHL 51 18 27 45 36
1998–99 Vancouver Canucks NHL 59 14 31 45 58
1999–00 Vancouver Canucks NHL 47 21 17 38 16
1999–00 New Jersey Devils NHL 12 3 3 6 4 23 4 3 7 4
2000–01 New Jersey Devils NHL 75 43 40 83 43 25 5 11 16 8
2001–02 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 66 24 33 57 8 20 8 3 11 8
2002–03 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 73 33 46 79 12 6 5 2 7 4
2003–04 Toronto Maple Leafs NHL 37 8 22 30 12 13 2 4 6 8
2005–06 New Jersey Devils NHL 34 12 13 25 6
2005–06 Albany River Rats AHL 19 4 10 14 17
NHL totals 990 473 559 1032 432 124 39 47 86 58

International play

Played for the Soviet Union Soviet Union in:

Played for Russia Russia in:

International statistics

Year Team Event Place   GP G A Pts PIM
1987 Soviet Union WJC DSQ 6 3 2 5 4
1988 Soviet Union WJC 2 7 9 9 18 2
1988 Soviet Union Oly 1 6 3 2 5 2
1989 Soviet Union WJC 1 7 7 5 12 4
1989 Soviet Union WC 1 10 0 3 3 2
1996 Russia WCH SF 5 2 4 6 0
Junior Int'l Totals 20 19 16 35 10
Senior Int'l Totals 21 5 9 14 4

See also

References

External links

Preceded by
Pat LaFontaine
Buffalo Sabres captain
1993–94
Succeeded by
Pat LaFontaine
note: Mogilny served as captain, during most of the 1993–94 season, while Pat LaFontaine was injured & out of the line-up
Preceded by
Brett Hull
NHL Goal Leader
1993

(tied with Teemu Selanne)

Succeeded by
Pavel Bure
Preceded by
Ron Francis
Winner of the Lady Byng Trophy
2003
Succeeded by
Brad Richards







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