A more prevalent group of now-former National Hockey League players decided to pack up their equipment and head to the Continental Hockey League (KHL) in Russia today (Faceoff-Factor).
Sergei Brylin, Mike York, Jozef Stumpel and Alexander Radulov all have found new teams in Russia.
First off is 38 year old Sergei Brylin. Many Penguins fans know him very well as Brylin was a member of Atlantic Division rivals New Jersey. In 13 seasons in the NHL, he played in 765 games and scored 308 points (129 G – 179 A).
Brylin may have had a more productive career had he not have spent it all in New Jersey. The Devils have trademarked a defensive style of hockey that has been successful, but boring to watch.
Brylin was clearly coming to the end of his career in the NHL, whether he decided to stay or leave. Now 34, he is coming off his least productive season since 1998-1999. The difference is, that year he played only 47 games and this year he played all 82.
His stats from last year are as follows:
Sergei Brylin (C) – Formerly with the New Jersey Devils
2007-2008: 82 GP – 6 G – 10 A – 16 Pts. Signed with St. Petersburg
Second on the list to leave is Mike York.
York followed suit, which is appearing to be a trend with these players going to the KHL, by recording one of his least productive seasons in ’08.
The prime of his career came while he was playing in New York. As a Ranger from 1999-2002, York scored 50 points or more twice.
After three seasons in the ‘Big Apple’ York moved to Edmonton, where he again posted 50 points in one of his three season as an Oiler.
Coming out of the lockout, York had another 50 point year for the Islanders. That would be his final productive year.
In the last two seasons, York has struggled mightily to put points on the board. He split time between the Islanders and the Flyers two years ago, playing in 66 games and totaling 21 points (10 G – 11 A).
Last season York played in Phoenix and once again struggled to produce. His numbers dropped even lower.
Mike York (C) – Formerly with the Phoenix Coyotes
2007-2008: 63 GP – 6 G – 8 A – 14 Pts. Signed with Sibir
My guess is that York left because, for one, he was struggling in the NHL. He may get a jump in numbers playing against lesser of competition and get his confidence back up. Second, after posting 14 points in a significant amount of time, he wouldn’t have received much money. The KHL will pay him.
York turned 30 this year, and don’t expect him back.
At a soon-to-be 36, I wouldn’t expect to see Jozef Stumpel back either.
Stumpel had a long NHL career, playing in nearly 1,000 games.
He played his first career game in the 1991-1992 season for the Bostons Bruins, and found himself bouncing from Beantown to Los Angeles back and forth until landing with the Florida Panthers for the first post-lockout season.
He played well, recording 52 and 57 points in his first two years for the Panthers. However, last year was a struggle.
Jozef Stumpel (C) – Formerly with the Florida Panthers
2007-2008: 52 GP – 7 G – 13 A – 20 Pts. Signed with Barys
The 52 games he played last season is his lowest total since breaking in to the league as a full-time player.
Finally we come to Alexander Radulov. Playing the right wing for Nashville last season, the 22-year-old showed significant progression in only his second NHL season.
Alexander Radulov (RW) – Formerly with the Nashville Predators
2007-2008: 81 GP – 26 G – 32 A – 58 Pts. Signed with Salavat
He also added two goals and two assists in six playoff games.
The crazy thing about this signing is that Radulov is still under contract with the Predators. And if you have read my previous post, you know that an agreement was reached just yesterday to not pursue players from other leagues if they are still under contract.
Radulov is set to earn $984,000 next year (TheHockeyNews), which is the third and final year of his entry-level contract. It’s a shame to hear that he is leaving because he was a great young talent, and could have helped to energize a weak hockey market in Nashville.
The news on Radulov has not been finalized yet, but several media outlets are reporting his departure.