Season 7 Profile: Minsk Hussars


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

Coach: Dave Tippett (replaced Guy Boucher, who replaced Lindy Ruff, who replaced Claude Julien)

Last season: Cup champions, 1st overall, (defeated Dublin, Gothenburg, Belfast and then Paris in the finals)

Ins and Outs

(Season 6 to Season 7)

Out: Tony Martensson (free agent), Kyle Quincey (free agent)

In:   German Rubtsov (draft),  Yegor Korshkov (draft),  Joe Blandisi (draft)

In Place (Key players signed past Season 7)

Aaron Ekblad, D; Patrick Kane, RW; Nicklas Backstrom, C; Carey Price, G; Milan Lucic, LW




Three Questions

1.  How many Cups will Minsk win? The Hussars performed better than any team in the league’s history, if you go by the fact they set a record last season for the most points in a season (144). They also had the best defense in history, allowing a record low 175 goals. But think back to Season 2, when it looked like Paris would dominate for years. Then Moscow drafted 34-year-old Andrei Markov and eventually unseated the champs and it looked like Spartak would be king of the hill for a long time. Boom! Belfast appears on the scene, takes two Cups and seems completely dominant. But the fast-maturing Hussars gelled quickly and blew away the field in Season 6. Now Minsk is on the throne, seemingly super-glued there. But as the past shows, new powers emerge, salary cap issues degrade teams, and pages turn. Minsk has some key players – most importantly Carey Price and Nicklas Backstrom – who are 30 and ready to start the downhill parts of their careers. General Manager Igor Kirunov has built a monster that will be the favorite this year. But some excellent collections of youngsters playing in other cities are following the Belfast and Minsk models and they are climbing the mountain at a pretty good pace.

2. How are you supposed to score on them? The Hussar defense is one of the 8 wonders of the modern world. Kudos to architect Igor Kirunov. If you get through the Minsk defense, you still have to beat goalie Carey Price, which is a really hard thing to do. And getting through the defense is probably the most difficult task that exists for EURO forwards. Consider that Kris Russell, Ryan McDonagh, Michael Del Zotto and Janne Niskala all have DEF ratings of 90 or higher, putting them in the right place often including the shooting lanes. Aaron Ekblad and Maxim Chudinov have the lowest DEF ratings of the group, but they are only 20 and 23 years old, respectively. Your best bet to score on Minsk is to catch them on a day when either backup goalie Anton Khudobin or Tobias Stephan is between the pipes and then get a powerplay. Maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll get off a shot that deflects off a Hussar’s skate and into the goal.

3. How about depth up front? We all know that Patrick Kane, Nicklas Backstrom and Milan Lucic power the offense, but what about the other lines? Aussie Thomas Powell has emerged into a top-notch player. He makes smart plays with the puck and gets himself into good position often. The 26-year-old has three straight years of more than 60 points. Jordan Staal isn’t speedy, but he plays smart defense and knows how to use his 220 pounds to the team’s advantage. The right side is fully stocked with skill, as Olivier Roland, Alexander Burmistrov and Gustav Nyquist are all good enough to play on lines 2 through 4. The biggest question mark is Jacob Josefson the Swedish center who saw his point total drop from 51 points in Season 5 to just 9 last season. How do you possibly get only 2 assists in 78 games when you’re on a team like champion Minsk?


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

Season 6               1               144          20.1         84.2       35.04      25.32     3.96    2.13       9.96

Season 5                3               117         17.1          86.6       34.85     26.24     3.70     2.45       10.57

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 30. Games played: 420; Save Pct. 90.5

Season 2: Maxim Chudinov, D, age 23. GP 383, Pts 164, +54

Season 3: Valeri Nichushkin, RW, age 22. GP 259, Pts 81, +3

Season 4: Aaron Ekblad, D, age 20. GP 164; Pts 62; +62

Season 5: Kevin Clark, RW, age 22.

Season 6: Kevin Hayes, RW, age 23. GP 35; Pts 7, -7

Season 7: German Rubtsov, C, age 18.

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 (Oliver Kylington and Calle Jarnkrok) to Munich for Mark Giordano

Season 5

Season 6

Traded 2017 Round 2 pick (Mathew Barzal) and 2017 Round 3 pick (Evgeny Svechnikov) to Lisbon for 2017 Round 2 pick (Colin White)

After Season 6 started:

Traded Dmitrij Jaskin to Zurich for Janne Niskala

Traded Kevin Hayes, 2018 Round 2 pick and 2019 Round 2 pick to Edinburgh for Olivier Roland and 2018 Round 3 pick

Claimed Jimmy Hayes off waivers

Lost Mark Giordano and Matt Martin off waivers


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