Alexander Mogilny

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Alexander Mogilny
Alexander Mogilny.jpg
Mogilny with the Albany River Rats in 2006
Born (1969-02-18) February 18, 1969 (age 49)
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
Buffalo Sabres
Vancouver Canucks
New Jersey Devils
Toronto Maple Leafs
National team  Soviet Union and
NHL Draft 89th overall, 1988
Buffalo Sabres
Playing career 1986–2006

Alexander Gennadevich Mogilny (Russian: Александр Геннадиевич Могильный; born February 18, 1969), is a Russian former professional ice hockey player, currently the president of Amur Khabarovsk of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).[1]

In the National Hockey League (NHL), 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 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[edit]

In the Soviet Union, Mogilny played on a line with center Sergei Fedorov and winger Pavel Bure where the 3 were considered the prized jewels of next generation Soviet hockey stars. Mogilny was a part of the Soviet junior squad that competed in the 1987 World Junior Championships brawl known as the Punch-up in Piestany. The IIHF suspended the players involved from competing in international events for 18 months. The penalty was eventually reduced to 6 months, allowing Mogilny to compete in the 1988 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships and the 1988 Winter Olympics where he skated as the team's youngest player. At the 1988 World Junior Ice Hockey Championships, Mogilny dominated the competition, scoring 9 goals and 18 points in 7 games en route to a silver medal finish and winning the Top Forward award. The next year, as team captain, he was apart of the commanding Bure-Fedorov-Mogilny line and his team captured the gold medal in the 1989 World Juniors. He finished that tournament with 7 goals and 12 points in 7 games. After winning the gold medal at the 1989 World Championships in Stockholm, he left the Soviet team and defected to North America with the help of representatives of the Buffalo Sabres,[2] the NHL club that had drafted him, 89th overall, a year earlier in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Buffalo Sabres[edit]

Mogilny was given the number 89 in recognition of both the year he defected and his place in the draft, wearing #89 for his entire playing career.

Mogilny's first season was tumultuous despite being considered as one of the best players outside the NHL at the time. He made his NHL debut against the Quebec Nordiques during 1989-1990 NHL season and scored his first NHL goal just 20 seconds into his first shift. Mogilny finished his rookie year with 43 points and improved to 30 goals and 64 points during his sophomore season. He continued his ascension with 39 goals and 84 points the next year and established himself as an elite superstar sniper in his fourth season. On Dec 21, 1991 vs the Toronto Maple Leafs, he scored 5 seconds into the game to tie the NHL record for fastest goal scored to start a game.[3] When Sabres acquired captain Pat Lafontaine early into the 92' season, Mogilny and Lafontaine were able to elevate their games to new heights. Mogilny developed an instant chemistry with Lafontaine and the two were able maximize their speed and skill. The results were brilliant, as he set career highs in goals and points with 76 goals and 127 points in 77 games during the 1992-1993 season. He tied with Teemu Selänne for the NHL goal-scoring lead that year and his 76 goals remains 5th highest season total in NHL history. 76 goals and 127 points remain the highest season totals ever in the NHL for a Russian player. In addition, he scored his 50th goal in his 46th game that season but it did not count as an official 50 goals in 50 games record as it occurred during the team's 53rd game. He also finished the season with 7 hat-tricks including 3 in 4 games, two 4-goal games, and a stretch where he scored 23 goals in 13 games.[4] Mogilny also served as captain for a period the following season, the first Russian captain NHL history, and finished the year with 79 points in 66 games.

Vancouver Canucks[edit]

Due to financial restraints brought about by the contractual demands of Lafontaine and Dominik Hašek, the Sabres were forced to trade Mogilny, along with a fifth round draft pick (Todd Norman), to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Mike Peca, Mike Wilson and a first 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 however, would miss almost the entire season with a torn ACL. Mogilny would find chemistry with Cliff Ronning and Martin Gélinas, scoring 107 points in his first season with the team, finishing as the Canucks' leading scorer. He would lead the team in scoring again in the 1996–97 season. His success would not last however, as minor injuries, reduced ice time and inconsistency would drop his production to 128 points in 157 games over the next three seasons. Due to a lack of team success, Mogilny was traded to the New Jersey Devils who were looking to add an elite sniper for Brendan Morrison and Denis Pederson on March 14, 2000.

New Jersey Devils[edit]

The Devils acquired Mogilny in the weeks leading up to the 2000 Stanley Cup Playoffs in hopes of adding high-end skill on a primarily defensive team. After adding the sniper, the Devils won the Stanley Cup with Mogilny's contributions where it would be his first and only NHL championship.

Mogilny regained his form the following season, scoring 83 points, and leading the Devils in goals with 43. The team went back to the Stanley Cup Finals for a second consecutive season, but lost the final series to the Colorado Avalanche in seven games.

Toronto Maple Leafs[edit]

During the summer of 2001, Mogilny was a heavily pursued free agent but the Devils could not afford the talented winger. He then signed a 4 year, $22 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, to become the elite winger the Leafs have lacked since Wendel Clark. He had an excellent start to his Maple Leafs career, scoring two goals in his first game and finishing second in team scoring playing primarily with Gary Roberts and Robert Reichel. He followed that by playing a central role during the Leafs deep playoff run. With team captain Mats Sundin injured for most of the playoffs, Mogilny led the team in playoff goal-scoring and scored 2 goals in both game 7 wins vs the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. They were subsequently eliminated by the Carolina Hurricanes in the next round at the Eastern Conference Finals.

The next season, Mogilny formed a dangerous line with Sundin and Nikolai Antropov, helping the latter break out in the NHL. Mogilny finished that year as the Leafs leading scorer and it became the only season that Mats Sundin did not lead the Leafs in scoring during his Maple Leafs career. The Leafs met the Philadelphia Flyers in the first round that year, where Mogilny scored his first career playoff hat-trick in Game 1, led the team in playoff goals again, but the team was eliminated in 6 games. He was awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct at season's end.

The next year, Mogilny spent most of the season injured and had to undergo mid-season hip surgery. He returned late in the season where he was able to record his 1000th career NHL point in dramatic fashion against the team that drafted him, the Buffalo Sabres. The Maple Leafs were down 5-2 in the third period, until Gary Roberts tipped a Mogilny shot for Alex's 1000th career point and the game-tying goal late in the third period. Mogilny then set up Tomáš Kaberle for the thrilling overtime winner immediately after serving a penalty. Despite high expectations for a Stanley cup that year with many future Hall of Famers on the team, they would not have much success in the playoffs. With outstanding performances by Ed Belfour, they edged the Ottawa Senators in the first round but were eliminated by the physical Philadelphia Flyers in the second round.

Return to New Jersey[edit]

Recovering over the lockout cancelled 2004–05 season, Mogilny returned to the NHL, re-signing with New Jersey in August 2005 after agreeing to a US$7 million deal for two years. Though he scored 25 points in 34 games, Mogilny was not the same player as he was before prior to his major hip surgery. He agreed to play for the Albany River Rats, the Devils' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate at the time midway through the 2005-2006 season for salary cap reasons. 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.

Mogilny was the first non-North American to lead the league in goals scored (along with Teemu Selänne from Finland), the first Russian and non-North American to be an NHL captain, first Russian named to the NHL All-Star Team, holds the highest single-season goal and points total for a Russian player, and is (as of the end of the 2017–18 season) the third all-time Russian scorer in the NHL, behind Sergei Fedorov and Alexander Ovechkin. Mogilny was the second Russian player to score 1,000 points in the NHL, reaching the milestone just a few days after Fedorov.

International play[edit]

Medal record
Men's ice hockey
Representing Soviet Union Soviet Union
Olympic Games
Gold medal – first place 1988 Calgary Ice hockey
World Championship
Gold medal – first place 1989 Sweden Ice hockey
World Junior Championship
Silver medal – second place 1988 Soviet Union Ice hockey
Gold medal – first place 1989 USA Ice hockey

At the 1988 Winter Olympics, Mogilny made his senior debut with the Soviet national team as an 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 Finland (Moscow), Germany (Landshut), Sweden (Stockholm), USA (Detroit), and tied against Canada (Calgary).[5][6][7][8] 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,[7][9] and was considered "perhaps the best forward line on earth" at the time.[10] 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[edit]

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.[11]

A natural right-winger, Alexander Mogilny profiles the classic Russian winger: An off-wing sniper with elusive skating ability, shiftiness, exceptional puck skills and an arsenal of shots. Under the CSKA Moscow hockey program, Mogilny developed elite skating and shooting capabilities to become one of the most talented Russian prospects to play in the NHL. He had explosive acceleration, which helped him generate numerous breakaways and the ability to blast through defenders. Listed at 6 feet and 200 pounds, he possessed a strong combination of agility, balance as well an uncanny ability to be evasive in checks. A highly effective forechecker, he did not rely on physicality to generate turnovers but instead a combination of anticipation, excellent positioning and a swift stick to create takeaways. 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.[12]

He was generally a very structured, calculated player, utilizing his patience, physicality, and creative passing plays to generate offense. Offensively, Mogilny 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.[13]

Former Toronto Maple Leafs captain Mats Sundin once called Mogilny the best player he's ever played with.[14] The two were teammates during Mogilny's tenure with the Maple Leafs. Sundin described Mogilny as gifted, skilled, and a natural hockey player. The late 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."[15] Mogilny was characterized by Quinn as having good size and wonderful skating ability. He can play any kind of game.[16] Sergei Fedorov was quoted to say "Alex was faster than all of us, Bure and Fedorov, and Alex was a machine. He was built like a machine." [17] Plus on top of all the crazy skill he had, he’s better than all of us. He’s amazing." Fedorov said all three players were known for their speed, but Mogilny, in his opinion, was the fastest player of them all. "If you went back and forth five times, (Mogilny) will be first,” Fedorov said. “I will be third." 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.[18] Pat Lafontaine described Mogilny as the "Best player he's seen and played with". “I’ve been lucky to play with some great players in my career, but I put Alex as the best player that I had a chance to see and play with talent-wise,” LaFontaine said recently of his Buffalo Sabres winger. “He was the rare combination of the speed, the skill and finesse, quickness. He was just the full package.” Lafontaine and Mogilny were linemates during the 1992-93 NHL season and enjoyed remarkable success, as Mogilny scored 76 goals and Lafontaine had 148 points that year. Lafontaine described that year as "There was a sixth sense. We just had an idea of where each other was going to be on the ice. One thing about Alex, he thinks the game at such a high level. His hockey sense and to be able to have the hands and the feet and the speed, he’s that rare combination of everything.”[19]

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 play-maker 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 backhand 5-hole is also one of Mogilny's favourite moves.

Awards and achievements[edit]

Career statistics[edit]

Regular season and playoffs[edit]

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


Year Team Event Place   GP G A Pts PIM
1987 Soviet Union WJC DSQ 6 3 2 5 4
1988 Soviet Union WJC 2nd, silver medalist(s) 7 9 9 18 2
1988 Soviet Union Oly 1st, gold medalist(s) 6 3 2 5 2
1989 Soviet Union WJC 1st, gold medalist(s) 7 7 5 12 4
1989 Soviet Union WC 1st, gold medalist(s) 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[edit]


  1. ^ "Admiral Vladivostok". Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  2. ^ "Defector: The Alex Mogilny story". 2014-11-25. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  3. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  4. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  5. ^ Lapointe, Joe (1996-08-25). "Russians Mix and Match for World Cup". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Lapointe, Joe (1996-08-29). "Matchup of Power Players". The New York Times. 
  7. ^ a b "Ľ189/14/Sports". Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  8. ^ Lapointe, Joe (1996-08-18). "Superpowers Lace Up To Take On the World". The New York Times. 
  9. ^ "Bure's back on blades". Toronto Star. 1996-08-15. 
  10. ^ Lapointe, Joe (1996-08-18). "Superpowers Lace Up To Take On the World". The New York Times. 
  11. ^ "Q&A with Sergei Fedorov". 2005-11-24. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  12. ^ Doug Magwood (2002). Heart and Spirit: The Toronto Maple Leafs of 2001-2002: a Fan's Journal. p. 25. ISBN 9781553698968. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  13. ^ "Ron Barr's Quotes". Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  14. ^ "Mats Sundin Documentary". YouTube. 2013-01-19. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  15. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-05-14. Retrieved 2014-02-19. 
  16. ^ "Archives -". Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  17. ^ Clinton, Jared (2015-11-07). "Fedorov believes Mogilny and Tikhonov should join him in Hall of Fame". The Hockey News. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  18. ^ Brunt, Stephen (1921-08-07). The Way It Looks from Here: Contemporary Canadian Writing on Sports. p. 124. ISBN 9780307368560. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  19. ^ Vogl, John (2016-09-30). Buffalo News Retrieved 2016-10-20.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  20. ^ "Alexander Mogilny Statistics". Retrieved 2016-10-20. 
  21. ^ "Alexander Mogilny". 1969-02-18. Retrieved 2016-10-20. 

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Pat LaFontaine
Buffalo Sabres captain
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

(tied with Teemu Selanne)

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