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October 29, 2015

Alexei Vasiliev

Alexei Vasiliev was a talented puckhandling defenseman blessed with good mobility. He had the potential to run a power play with his big shot from the point.

The New York Rangers drafted the Russian rearguard with a fifth round pick in 1995, but he never stuck around long enough to become a NHL regular.

Vasiliev was a strong junior player in his native Yaroslavl, but missed the entire 1997-98 season with double shoulder surgery (other sources suggest it was knee surgery).

Vasiliev gave the North American game a try in 1998-99, playing two seasons with the Rangers farm teams in Hartford (winning a Calder Cup in 2000). He was rewarded with what proved to be his only National Hockey League game.

In 2000-01 he was traded to the Nashville Predators organization, playing the season entirely in the AHL with Milwaukee.

In 2001 he returned to Russia and played in the KHL until his retirement in 2013. He mostly played with Yaroslavl, winning Russian league titles in 2002 and 2003. Fortunately for Vasiliev he was not offered a new contract in 2011, forcing him to sign with Nizhny Novogorod. Early that season Yarsolavl's plane crashed, killing the entire team on board.

Unlike some KHL mainstays, Vasiliev never played for the national team outside of junior hockey.

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