April 03, 2014

Oleg Kvasha

Oleg Kvasha made hockey scouts and coaches on both sides of the Atlantic drool with anticipation. 
I suppose no one drooled more than Mike Milbury, then manager of the New York Islanders. In 2000 he was so enamoured for Kvasha he traded Roberto Luongo and Olli Jokinen for Kvasha and Mark Parrish. Yeah, that trade didn't work out so well for the Islanders.

The Moscow-born Kvasha was a 6'5" 210lb winger with tremendous speed and hands. He had terrific vision and hockey sense, distributing the puck nicely from the wing. He also had an excellent wrist shot though he used it far too sparingly.

Unfortunately for Milbury and company Kvasha, like so many Russian players it seems, remained an enigma throughout his career. On occasion he could dominate a game. On other occasions Islanders fans booed him for his perceived lack of effort. For all his offensive gifts he never put up great numbers. He struggled defensively. He didn't use his size to its fullest advantage. 

The result was an early exit from the NHL - 7 seasons, 491 games. He scored 81 goals, 136 assists for 217 points. He headed back to Russia where he played in the KHL for many years.

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