May 14, 2016

Randy Gilhen

Randy Gilhen's birthplace always catches the eye, as there are not a lot of NHL players coming out of Zweibrucken, Germany.

Gilhen may have been born in Germany, but he grew up in Winnipeg cheering on the original Jets teams.

After being passed over entirely in the 1981 NHL draft, the Hartford Whalers drafted Randy Gilhen 109th overall in 1982. He would only play two games with the Whalers before fulfilling his childhood dream and skating for the Winnipeg Jets.

It took five seasons of apprenticing in the minor leagues but Gilhen finally became a NHL regular with the Jets in 1988.

Gilhen was a very good goal scorer in junior and at the AHL level, but he found a home in the NHL as a defensive specialist and faceoff expert. Gilhen would become a notable "shadow" using his intelligence and strong positioning rather than speed or strength.

Gilhen became a nice utility with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the 1989-90 and 1990-91 seasons. He quietly had his strongest season in 1990-91 scoring 15 goals and helping the Penguins win the Stanley Cup. By doing so Gilhen became the first German-born player in history to win the Stanley Cup.

Gilhen would subsequently bounce around the NHL, filling roles briefly in Los Angeles, New York, Tampa and Florida.

In 1994 Gilhen returned home to Winnipeg to play two and half final seasons with the Jets. He wound up his career in 1998 by staying in Winnipeg and playing for the minor league Manitoba Moose. He was the first captain in Manitoba Moose history.

In his NHL career Randy Gilhen scored 55 goals, 60 assists and 115 points in 457 games.

In retirement Gilhen became a distributor of orthopedic medical equipment.

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