The Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) recognizes the top forward, defenseman, goaltender, and rookie each month. Selections are made by the KHL Statistics and Information Bureau based upon both statistical results and overall performance. The November winners are:
Forward of the Month
Artem Anisimov, Lokomotiv Yaroslavl
The 24-year-old Yaroslavl native scored 12 points – six goals, six assists – and posted a +9 in nine games. He leads Lokomotiv with nine goals and 14 assists on the season, along with a +12 rating. His 54.2% faceoff win percentage is tops on the team, and he’s second in ice-time among all Yaroslavl forwards. Despite being 14th in scoring in the 26-team league, Lokomotiv finds themselves at the top of the Tarasov Division. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that they have the stingiest defense in the league, having allowed only 68 goals in 33 games this season.
Here’s Anisimov with a highlight reel goal against Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk:
Defenseman of the Month
Victor Hedman, Barys Astana
Through eight games, the 21-year-old Swedish blueliner dished out 10 assists and registered a plus-minus rating of +10. On the season, he has one goal and 18 assists on the season, along with 52 penalty minutes and a +15 rating, all while averaging 22 minutes a game of ice time. Barys can pile up the points – their offensive output is fourth-best in the league – but have a hard time stopping the puck. Among playoff teams, they have the second highest goals against. Obviously, it’s not easy patrolling the defensive end for the Leopards. Imagine where they’d be without the steady defensive play of Victor Hedman.
A frustrated Hedman takes out his aggressions on fellow locked-out-NHLer Evgeni Malkin in a 5-1 loss to Magnitogorsk:
Goaltender of the Month
Ratislav Stana, CSKA Moscow
Stana backstopped his team to four victories in November – one coming via shutout. He stopped 91.7% of the shots he faced, allowing an average of just 1.56 goals per game.
CSKA Moscow currently sits fourth in the Western Conference, with the second-fewest goals allowed in the league, thanks to the stellar play of the Czech netminder. Stana has gone 13-3 this season with a 1.75 goals against average (second best in the league) and a 93.5% save percentage. His four shutouts are tied for the league lead. Of course, if Stana falters, CSKA does have a Plan B sitting at the end of the bench; their backup is the second-highest-paid NHL goaltender, Ilya Bryzgalov. While the Flyers netminder has struggled a bit, Stana’s performance has been good enough to prevent Bryzgalov from getting enough starts to truly work out the kinks in his game. Right now, that’s looking like very good news for CSKA Moscow.
Stana was originally drafted by the Washington Capitals in the 1998 NHL Draft. He spent some time in the minors before making the big club in 2003-04. In six appearances, he went 1-2 with a 3.13 goals against average and an 89.0% save percentage. After the season, he returned to Europe, where he played five years in the Swedish Elite League before signing on with Sebastopol of the KHL in 2008. Each year since 2009, Stana’s goals against average has gone down and his save percentage has gone up. This is his second year as the starting goaltender for CSKA Moscow, and he’s on target for a career year.
Here’s one of his best saves of the season:
Rookie of the Month
Viktor Antipin, Metallurg Magnitogorsk
The rookie blueliner scored seven points – three goals and four assists – along with a plus-minus rating of +1 while averaging just under 23 minutes of ice time in nine games. The Kazakhstan-born winger has nine goals and seven assists for 16 points in 34 games this season.
Here’s his impressive four-point night – two goals and two assists – in a 7-4 win over Spartak.
Josh is a life-long hockey fan. He grew up as a fan of the New York Rangers, but thanks to their general mismanagement and years of mediocrity, has developed a great appreciation for every team across the league.
He’s been writing about hockey on various sites since 1995. In addition to his work at The Hockey Writers, he also keeps tabs on the referees over at ScoutingTheRefs.com.