Season 5 profile: Minsk Hussars

ProfileAd minsk

GM: Igor Kirunov (only GM in team’s history)

Coach: Lindy Ruff (formerly Claude Julien)

Last season: 7th overall

Ins and Outs

(Season 4 to Season 5)

Out: Jakub Voracek (trade), Nick Leddy (trade), Patrik Berglund (trade), Renat Mamashev (trade), Nathan Beaulieu (trade), Willie Mitchell (retired)

In: Patrick Kane (trade), Jordan Staal (trade), Mark Giordano (trade), Aaron Ekblad, Kevin Clark (draft), Nick Schmaltz (draft), Mason McDonald (draft)

In Place (Key players signed past Season 5)

Nicklas Backstrom, C; Patrick Kane, RW; Carey Price, G; Ryan McDonagh, D; Michael Del Zotto, D; Milan Lucic, LW




Three Questions

1. How big is the acquisition of Jordan Staal? 3. That’s the answer: 3. It’s the third-biggest acquisition made by General Manager Igor Kirunov in the last year and a couple of months. Trading for a first round draft pick that turned out to be Aaron Ekblad was bigger. And getting Patrick Kane’s amazing hands and hockey sense into Belarus was probably bigger than that. Coach Lindy Ruff looks like he plans to put Kane on the right wing of the top line with Nicklas Backstrom and Milan Lucic. Lucic turned out to be a catalyst for a great season last year in Minsk. It was by far the team’s best-ever year and Lucic contributed with 94 points including 37 goals. He has a chance for more points with Kane dipsy-doodling and making defenders look away from the hulking Lucic. Lucic also added a huge dose of toughness, registering more than 100 hits for the fourth straight season and more than 110 minutes in penalties for the fourth straight year. Staal improves the second line and has 30-goal potential. He will be working with two breakout stars from last year’s Minsk team: Australian Tom Powell (who went from 36 points to 60 points last season) and Gustav Nyqvist (20 goals and 51 points in his rookie year). Ekblad will be a dominant player in a few years. Today, he is paired with another future superstar, Maxim Chudinov. Ekblad and Chudinov could be together on that blueline for the next decade, and they are going to be so good, that might mean winning seasons are guaranteed for that long.

2. Are they too young to win it this year? Perhaps, but if Minsk doesn’t remind you of Belfast a year ago, then Commissioner Massaro doesn’t remind you of a young Brad Pitt. Last season they made a 29-point jump in the standings from Season 3. Yes the Hussars are young. A few of their key players are only 28 years old, while others like Chudinov, Powell and Alexander Burmistrov are younger. Like Belfast, they are a collection of future superstars who can already frustrate teams and be virtually impossible to contain. They don’t have the fourth-line depth that Belfast had last season, but they have excellent blueliners and more grit and toughness for sure. The skilled and speedy Giants have EURO general managers questioning just how vital toughness is in today’s game. The Hussars might have us rethinking the question once more a year from now.

3. Is Carey Price good enough to win trophies? If this was Canada, where goalie Carey Price is revered far and wide, the answer would be “Of course. What a silly question.” But we’re in Europe and the answer is “He very well could.” Price, 28, will always be battling Jonathan Quick, Frederik Anderson, Braden Holtby, Cory Schneider and maybe some other good young goalies for individual trophies. If he gets any, or if he holds that big, shiny team trophy that everyone wants, will depend on the team around him and that team will be very good throughout his time in Minsk. Price might have no excuse if he doesn’t get a trophy. He has the talent and his numbers were excellent during the last regular season. Unfortunately, he didn’t match them against tough opponents in the playoffs. If Minsk is going to lift the Cup, Price will first have to carry his consistency and talent seamlessly into the post season. It’s a big responsibility, but there may be no better man for the job.


Season                 Place        PTS        PP %      PK %      SPG        SAPG     GPG     GAPG    PIM

Season 4               7               106         19.0        83.4        33.55     28.05      3.24     2.67       12.18

Season 3              18               77          17.3        78.6        29.57    30.85       3.15      3.40       12.91

Season 2              19               74           15.1         81.9        26.40       31.21        2.71        3.41      10.29

Season 1              24               54           13.3         79.8        25.59      32.46        2.12        3.50       9.82

Top Draft picks

Season 1: Carey Price, G, current age 28. Games played: 278; Save Pct. 90.0

Season 2: Maxim Chudinov, D, age 21. GP 220, Pts 84, -16

Season 3: Valeri Nichushkin, RW, age 20. GP 95, Pts 35, +15

Season 4: Aaron Ekblad, D, age 19.

Season 5: Kevin Clark, RW, age 20.

Trade History

Season 1 (picks without years listed are from initial draft)

Traded Round 4 pick (used to draft Brent Burns) to St. Petersburg for Round 6 pick (used to draft Patrik Berglund) and 2013 Round 1 pick (Thomas Powell)

Traded Round 8 pick (traded later) (Andrej Meszaros) to Oslo for Round 17 pick (Zac Rinaldo) and 2013 Round 1 (Alex Galchenyuk)

Traded Round 12 pick (Dan Winnick) to Bern for Round 14 pick (Matt Cllen), Round 25 pick (later traded) (Dan Paille) and 2013 Round 3 pick (Nathan Beaulieu)

Traded Matt Cullen to Athens for Round 15 pick (Stefan Elliott)

Traded Matt Hunwick Round 25 pick (Dan Paille) and Round 25 pick (Alexei Emelin) to Edinburgh for Nick Bjugstad

Traded Vernon Fiddler and $1 million to Geneva for Alex Chiasson

Traded Round 21 pick (Raffi Torres) to Geneva for Brian Dumoulin

Traded Round 10 pick (Mikael Granlund) to Belfast for Round 11 pick (Romas Josi) and Round 15 pick (Andrej Sekera)

Season 2

Traded Andrej Sekera to Prague for Nicklas Grossman and 2015 Round 3 pick (Jon Merrill)

Traded Brayden Schenn and Kyle Clifford to Helsinki for Alexander Burmistrov

Traded Tobias Stephan to London for 2016 Round 3 pick

Traded 2016 Round 3 pick (from London) to London for Tobias Stephan

Traded Jonas Holos to Frankfurt for 2014 Round 2 pick (later traded) (Viktor Fasth)

Traded Patric Hornqvist and Mathis Olimb to Berlin for 2015 Round 1 that was later traded in Aaron Ekblad deal.

Season 3

Traded  2014 Rd 2 pick  (Hunter Shinkaruk) to Helsinki for Sven Baertschi

Traded Roman Josi and Alexander Galchenyuk to Prague for Zach Parise

Traded Andres De La Garma to Copenhagen for 2015 Round 2 pick (later traded) (Julius Honka)

Traded Zach Parise to Gothenburg for Milan Lucic, 2016 Round 1 pick (later traded to Zurich – Sandro Zurkirchen) and 2017 Round 1 pick

Traded 2015 Round 3 pick (Brandon Montour) to Helsinki for Nick Spaling

Season 4

Traded Nick Bjugstad, Magnus Paajarvi and 2015 Round 1 pick (Sami Vatanen) to Frankfurt for 2015 Round 1 pick (Aaron Ekblad)

Traded Valeri Nichushkin, Sergei Kostitsyn and Ilya Nikulin to Geneva for Michael Del Zotto

Traded 2015 Round 2 pick (Julius Honka)  to Stockholm for 2017 Round 3 pick

Traded Jon Merrill to Bern for 2017 Round 3 pick

Traded Jakub Voracek, Nathan Beaulieu and 2016 Round 1 pick (Sandro Zurkirchen) to Zurich for Patrick Kane

Traded Patrik Berglund and Nick Leddy to Madrid for Jordan Staal

Traded Renat Mamashev to Dublin for 2017 Round 2 pick

Traded two 2017 Round 3 draft picks to Munich for Mark Giordano












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