Alexander Mogilny, Sergei Fedorov and Pavel Bure played on the same line in the former Soviet Union. Mogilny was the first to make the jump to the NHL, with Fedorov and Bure following. Bure and Fedorov were both elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame and their linemate Mogilny should make the jump and follow them to Toronto.
Mogilny was a pioneer, overcoming early culture shock and becoming the first non-North American player named a team captain, with the 1993-94 Buffalo Sabres. Mogilny is also a member of an elite club, the Triple Gold Club, winning a Stanley Cup (1999-00), Olympic Games gold medal (1988) and a World Championship gold medal (1989).
At a time when scoring dropped off in the NHL, Mogilny was a sharp shooter with speed and finesse. Teaming with Pat LaFontaine in 1992-93, Mogilny tied Teemu Selanne with a league-best 76-goals. Those 76 tallies are a Sabres single-season franchise record. It was a season which saw Mogilny record 127 points and a league-best eleven game-winning markers. Mogilny would register three additional 30-plus goal campaigns with Buffalo and likely would’ve had a fourth if not for the 1994-95 lockout. Mogilny garnered three All-Star appearances with the Sabres and would earn a place in their Hall of Fame in 2011.
After being dealt to the Vancouver Canucks following the lockout, the thinking was Mogilny and Bure would reconnect and crush the league. While Bure was beset by a knee injury, Mogilny was still able to notch 55 goals and 107 points during a 1995-96 All-Star season. Although Mogilny netted 31 goals the following season, his time in Vancouver was hampered by injury and inconsistency. To be fair to Mogilny, not even Mark Messier could save those Canucks teams.
Traded to the New Jersey Devils during the 1999-00 campaign, Mogilny teamed most with Scott Gomez, Claude Lemieux and fellow countryman Sergei Brylin, would net four goals, including one game-winning tally, helping the Devils win their second Stanley Cup title in franchise history. The next season Mogilny led the Devils with 43 tallies and totaled 16 points in 25 postseason contests, helping New Jersey win the Eastern Conference. Contrary to popular belief, those Devils could fill up the back of the net and Mogilny played a huge role in their offensive attack.
From there, Mogilny moved on to the Toronto Maple Leafs. In his first season with the Maple Leafs, Mogilny registered eleven points across 20 playoff games, helping Toronto reach the Eastern Conference Finals. The following season, Mogilny netted 33 goals and a team-best 79 points. It was also the 2002-03 campaign which saw Mogilny awarded the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy.
Unfortunately, a hip injury sapped Mogilny’s power in his final year with Toronto and the new era NHL made him a salary cap casualty in a return to New Jersey, which saw him finish out his career with the Albany River Rats of the American Hockey League.
Despite the injuries and lockouts taking games off his career, Mogilny’s resume is quite impressive, to say the least. On his career, Mogilny netted 473 goals and recorded 1,032 points. Mogilny was a four-time All-Star, twice an NHL Second Team All-Star. Mogilny enjoyed three seasons in the top ten in goals and hat tricks, four seasons in the top ten in even-strength goals and goals created and goals per game, two seasons in the top ten in points, plus/minus.
Mogilny could shred through an opposing defense, whether it was beating you with a wrist shot on the fly or the signature touch of a backhand on a breakaway, he could absolutely fly. Yes, he was plagued by injuries and some enigmatic moments but on the whole, Mogilny was a solid teammate and a great player. As mentioned above, Mogilny was a pioneer, All-Star, scoring champion, Stanley Cup champion and like Bure, probably would’ve racked up, even more, numbers if not for injuries and lockouts.
Originally published September 6, 2016