A few days ago the NHL introduced the 2019 Hall of Fame Inductees. Among them was two time Stanley Cup Champion Sergei Zubov. Zubov retired in 2009 after a sixteen year career finally the NHL added one of the most prolific defenseman of the dead puck era.
For me Zubov was one of my favorite players. An undersized guy only six foot one in an era that defenceman had to be six foot four, two hundred and forty pounds. Zubov’s game was Orr esc, and he became the blueprint for guys like Duncan Kieth, Kris Letang, and Erik Karlsson. A great skater with exceptional vision, able to play big minutes and quarterback a powerplay.
I vividly remember watching the Dallas cup runs watching my beloved Stars attempting to come back in a game. My eyes would frantically scan the ice for number fifty six. Once my eyes would find him they wouldn’t leave. He would start behind his own net patiently waiting for a lane and then like a flash he was cruising across the opponents far blue line. He would throw on the brake wheel towards the board come out of a tight turn and find Mike Modano or Brett Hall on the back door for an easy one touch goal.
The man was magnificent and someone I always wanted to emulate. As time went on I used him as a measuring stick for other defenseman. Comparing their importance to their teams success to the impact of Zubov on those Dallas Stars teams.
His final career stats are staggering. 1,068 games played, 152 goals, 619 assists, and 771 points. In the playoffs the man was money, 117 points in 164 games averaging 26 minutes a game. Winning two Stanley Cups and appearing in three finals. To give a point of reference Duncan Kieth has 81 points in 126 playoffs games averaging 28 minutes a game. Needless to say the man was ahead of his time.
He may not be a big name like Lidstrom, Stevens, or Niedermayer but all of those legends will tell you in that era there were few better then Sergei Zubov.