April 21, 2016

Valeri Karpov

The expansion Mighty Ducks of Anaheim drafted five-foot-ten winger Valeri Karpov 56th overall in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft hoping that he could provide a spark of offense.

Karpov, who grew up in Chelyabinsk and idolized Soviet great Sergei Makarov, was a fantastic skater and shooter. He had excellent acceleration and speed, and he had the agility to side-step the heavy checks from bigger opponents.

He also had a strong and accurate wrist shot and was a creative passer if given a little time. He was a competitive defensive player, but offense was his forte?

But Karpov's final amateur season was a disaster. He struggled through shoulder surgery and a broken wrist. He still made the Russian Olympic team in 1994, but the Russians finished without a medal - once an unthinkable possibility.

Karpov would also represent Russia five times at the World Championships, winning gold in 1993.

Karpov joined Anaheim in January of 1995 but in parts of three seasons in the NHL he could never get his footing in the NHL. A broken forearm hindered his progress tremendously. In 76 career games he scored 14 goals and 29 points.

In 1997 Karpov returned to Russia to continue a long career as a player and later a manager and coach.

In 2012 Valeri Karpov - just 44 years of age - passed away. He had suffered serious head trauma at an incident in his house. Doctors operated on him twice but they could not get him out a coma.

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