September 05, 2012

Anatoli Fedotov

This is Anatoli Fedotov.

Fedotov was a long time member of Moscow Dynamo in the days before Soviet players were granted the freedom to pursue careers in the western world and in the National Hockey League. He played with Dynamo from 1985 through 1992.

Fedotov was a defensive defenseman and was never a top player in the Soviet Union. Outside of his 8 game appearance in the 1987 Canada Cup, Fedotov never represented his country in the Olympics or a World Championships.

In 1992 the Winnipeg Jets, who scouted Russia more than most teams at that time, signed the 25 year old defenseman to an AHL contract. Fedotov played with the Moncton Hawks that season, but surprisingly the Jets called him up for a game against Edmonton. Fedotov made quite the impression, too, record two assists in his debut.

The only problem was Fedotov was not eligible to play for Winnipeg. Since his contract was only at the AHL level, the NHL ruled he was not Winnipeg's property. His contract was voided and he had to re-enter the NHL system the following summer via the NHL draft.

Anaheim drafted Fedotov 238th overall in 1993, and properly called him up for three games in the 1993-94 season.

There you have it - the story of the only player to play in the National Hockey League before being drafted by a National Hockey League team!

Fedotov, by the way, returned overseas after 1995. He played in Japan, Finland, and Sweden before returning to Russia. In 1997 Fedotov finally represented his country at the World Championships. Russia won the bronze medal that year.

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