Alexander Gennadevitch Mogilny (orn February 18, 1969) is a former Russian professionalice hockey player, currently the team consultant of the KHL team Amur Khabarovsk. Mogilny was best known for his lightning quick speed and lethal wrist shot in his early years, which led to his career year of 76 goals in the 1992–93 NHL season. As his career progressed, he grew to become a selfless player and was not only known for his speed and shooting but also his vision, passing, and skilled stick-handling ability.
Mogilny’s most common nickname was Alexander the Great (coined by Sabres broadcaster Rick Jeanneret), but he has since passed that down to Russian phenom Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin later said in an interview how he was honored to be receiving the nickname of one of his boyhood heroes. Mogilny’s contract with the New Jersey Devils expired at the end of the 2006–07 season, with Mogilny not playing in a single game all season due to injury.
A recipient of the Medal “For Distinguished Labour”. In the Soviet Union, he played on a line with center Sergei Fedorov and winger Pavel Bure, a lethal combination that is best remembered as one of the most productive lines in hockey history, as all three posted spectacular numbers with their combination of speed and puck-handling skills. He represented the Soviet Union in 1988 and 1989 at the World Junior Championships, winning the Best Forward award in 1988. Mogilny was also part of the 1987 junior squad that competed in the World Championships known as the “Punch Up at Piestany” after both the Canadian and Russian juniors were disqualified after a bench clearing brawl in the gold medal match. Mogilny played for the senior Soviet Team that won a gold medal at the 1988 Winter Olympics. After the medal ceremony of the 1989 World Championships, he left the Soviet team and defected to North America with the help of representatives of the Buffalo Sabres, the NHL club that had drafted him, 89th overall, a year earlier in the 1988 NHL Entry Draft. Mogilny chose the number 89 in recognition of both the year he defected and his place in the draft, wearing #89 for his entire playing career.
Mogilny tied Teemu Selänne for the most goals scored in the 1992–93 NHL season, scoring 76 goals in 77 games. In that same season he scored his 50th goal in his 46th game; however, it does not count as an official 50 goals in 50 games because his 50th goal came in his team’s 53rd game.
Toronto Maple Leafs
During the 2001 offseason, Mogilny signed a 4 year, $22 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs on July 3, 2001, and quickly became one of their top players. Despite nursing a knee injury and missing 16 games of the season, Mogilny was able to score 24 goals and 57 points to place him 2nd in team scoring. He would elevate his play during the post-season of the same year. During the 2002 Stanley Cup playoffs, with former team captain Mats Sundin injured for much of the playoffs, Mogilny stepped up his game and was instrumental in the team’s run to the conference finals, scoring 8 goals, including 2 goals in each of the game 7s versus the New York Islanders and Ottawa Senators. The Leafs however, would fall in 6 games in the conference finals against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Mogilny emerged as the Leafs best player in the 2002–2003 NHL season. He became the only person to dethrone Leafs captain Mats Sundin as the team’s leading scorer since his Leafs debut, beating him by 7 points in 2002–03 and finishing in the top-15 in league scoring with 79 points. In game 1 of the 2003 Stanley Cup playoffs, Mogilny recorded his first career playoff hat trick against the Philadelphia Flyers. He finished the year winning the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct. In the 2003–04 season, he injured his hip and had to have major surgery and missed most of the season, but returned late to helped the Leafs finish with their best record in franchise history. On March 15, 2004, versus the Buffalo Sabres, Mogilny became the second Russian player in NHL history to ever to score 1000 career points in the NHL when he assisted on the game-tying goal by Gary Roberts. The Leafs would complete the comeback, after trailing 5–2 in the third period, and win 6–5 in overtime when Mogilny set up Tomas Kaberle for the game winning goal.
After recovering over the lockout cancelled 2004–05 season, he re-signed with New Jersey in August 2005, agreeing to US$7 million for two years. Mogilny was placed on waivers by the New Jersey Devils, and was assigned to the Albany River Rats, the Devils minor league affiliate at the time, in order to make salary cap room for Patrik Eliáš‘ return. His 473 career NHL goals at the time were the most ever for a player entering the AHL.
Alexander Mogilny was the first Russian player to defect from the Soviet Union in May 1989, first non-North American to lead the league in goals scored (along with Teemu Selänne from Finland), first Russian to be named to the NHL All-Star Team, first Russian to be named captain of an NHL team, and is (as of the end of the 2008–09 season) the second all-time Russian scorer in the NHL. Mogilny was the second Russian player to score 1000 points in the NHL, reaching the milestone just a few days after former linemate Sergei Fedorov.
“The Mogilny Rule”
At the start of the 2006 season the New Jersey Devils won a decision to make room for their salary cap by not counting Mogilny’s $3.5 million annual salary while he was placed on long term injury reserve. The disputed clause in the NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement has been referred to as the “The Mogilny Rule”.
Awards and achievements
|Men’s ice hockey|
|Competitor for Soviet Union|
|Gold||1988 Calgary||Ice hockey|
|Gold||1989 Sweden||Ice hockey|
|World Junior Championship|
|Silver||1988 Soviet Union||Ice hockey|
|Gold||1989 USA||Ice hockey|
- NHL All-Star Game(s) – 1992, 1993, 1994, 1996, 2001, 2003 (Injured)
- NHL Second All-Star Team – 1993, 1996
- NHL Stanley Cup Champion: 2000 with the New Jersey Devils
- 1992–93 NHL Season – NHL Leader in Goals (76) (*tied) (since 1999, this distinction has been awarded the Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy)
- 2002–03 NHL Season – Lady Byng Memorial Trophy
- Became a member of the Triple Gold Club in 2000
- 1988 Winter Olympics (Ice Hockey) – Gold Medal
- 1989 World Junior Championships (Ice Hockey) – Gold Medal
- 1989 World Championships (Ice Hockey) – Gold Medal
- World Junior Ice Hockey Championships (Best Forward) – 1988
- Played for Team Russia in 1996 World Cup of Hockey
- Buffalo Sabres Hall of Fame (Inducted on January 1, 2011)