People get very nostalgic about professional sports in the 1990s and it’s hard to explain what was so much more entertaining about it. The NHL was no exception, as popularity started to rise in the decade thanks to new stars that were taking over, faster play, more coverage and some legends that were leftover from the 1980s.
When it comes to hockey players from the 1990s, there are those ones that still get talked about today such as Mark Messier, Mario Lemieux, Wayne Gretzky and Jaromir Jagr (who is still playing at nearly 45 years old somehow). While those guys were all great and won Stanley Cups, they couldn’t do it alone. There were plenty of players that were overlooked during this era thanks to the absolute legendary players surrounding them, but now it’s time to catch up with them.
Who were some of those players that you might have forgotten about from one of the greatest eras in professional hockey? Everyone on the list is a former All-Star and a lot of them have Stanley Cup titles on their resume. Here are 15 forgotten NHL stars who played their best years in the 1990s and what they are up to today.
15 Bill Ranford
The first Conn Smythe Trophy of the 1990s was awarded to Oilers goaltender Bill Ranford, who helped lead the team to that year’s Stanley Cup. Ranford played with Edmonton for the first few years of the decade before closing out the decade with Boston, Washington, Tampa Bay and Detroit before returning to Edmonton.
Ranford would end up retiring just as the 2000s started and went into coaching for the Vancouver Giants early on. Ranford would then land a job as the goaltending coach with the Kings, helping Jonathan Quick to become one of the more dominant goalies in the NHL. Ranford has been with the Kings for more than a decade now and is also a part owner of a team in the British Columbia Hockey League.
14 Alexei Zhamnov
Starting with Winnipeg in the 1992-93 season, Alex Zhamnov became a quick star with 72 points in his first season. By 1994-95, Zhamnov was an All-Star before finding his way to Chicago for the rest of the decade. Zhamnov would play most of his seasons with Chicago, scoring 140 goals while playing in The Windy City.
Zhamnov called it a career in 2006 and decided to move back to his native Russia to work in hockey front offices. Zhamnov became a general manager in the KHL and still is today. Now, Zhamnov is in charge of HC Spartak Moscow, his third team in the KHL. Zhamnov was also one of the people put in charge to decide the roster for the Russian team in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey.
13 Peter Bondra
It feels like Peter Bondra was one of the most underrated players of the 1990s and his run to get the Capitals into the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998 is quickly forgotten. Bondra was a five-time All-Star that played 14 seasons in Washington, and had two years (1995-96 and 1997-98) where he scored 52 goals. Bondra ended up tallying 472 goals as a member of the Capitals.
Bondra played his final game in the 2006-07 season with the Blackhawks and has had a very quiet retirement thus far. We have seen him in an alumni game, but Bondra has mainly been working for a scoreboard company in the United States. Bondra was also on the staff for Team Europe in the 2016 World Cup of Hockey as the assistant general manager.
12 Kevin Stevens
Sort of lost in the shuffle on the Pittsburgh Penguins teams that had Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, Kevin Stevens was also a star in his own right. With three consecutive All-Star nods from 1992 to 1993, Stevens was a scoring machine in Pittsburgh as he put up a combined 109 goals in two seasons. He'd also play for the Bruins, Kings, Rangers and Flyers before returning to the Pens.
Stevens left the Penguins and the NHL in 2002, but would return to the team’s staff three years later to become a scout. After six years in the organization’s front office, Stevens decided for a more formal retirement where he stayed home and coached hockey for local kids. However, things would go south in 2015 as he was charged for driving with a suspended license. The next year, he would violate probation by possessing oxycodone with an intent to distribute.
11 Tommy Salo
Tommy Salo would not get regular playing time as a goaltender until the 1996-97 season while with the Islanders. Before the end of the decade, Salo was eventually sent to Edmonton where he posted a 147-128-51 record. Salo was only a two-time All-Star, but was certainly in the running for Vezina Trophies for a few years in the middle of his career.
Salo would stick around in hockey after calling it a career in 2007 after three years in the SEL. Salo became the head coach of Kungalvs IK for two seasons. After that, he landed as the coach of IK Oskarshamn before deciding to leave the next year. Salo has since returned closer to home so that he could take a position with Leksands IF of the Swedish Hockey League as the team’s general manager.
10 Curtis Joseph
All of the talk surrounding goaltenders in the 1990s was centered around Martin Brodeur, Patrick Roy or Dominik Hasek, but Curtis Joseph was also a standout. Joseph played with St. Louis, Edmonton and Toronto during the 1990s and was a two-time All-Star. Joseph finished in the top five for Vezina voting many times during that run, posting his best record of 36-23-11 in 1993-94.
Although he did have a lot of moments in the 2000s, Joseph is mostly remembered for his play in the 1990s. He would end up retiring in 2010, but would continue his career in the goaltending industry without skipping a beat. Joseph was hired by the Carolina Hurricanes in July 2016 with the official title of goaltending consultant, as he'll be helping their goalies down in the AHL.
9 Pierre Turgeon
Pierre Turgeon was certainly a journeyman, playing for six different NHL teams in his career and never staying in the same place for more than five seasons. Turgeon won the 1992-93 Lady Byng Trophy and was named to four All-Star teams. Turgeon’s best season in the 1990s came when he scored 58 goals as a member of the Islanders in the 1992-93 season.
Turgeon is living in Colorado these days and rooting on his son Dominic that is currently playing in the Detroit Red Wings organization. When the Canadiens caught up with Turgeon, he said that he is now “watching my...kids play sports, which is something I unfortunately didn’t get to do that often while I was playing in the NHL.” In a recent interview, he said he's been travelling and enjoying skiing. Sounds like a fun, standard retirement.
8 John LeClair
Most people seem to remember Eric Lindros when they talk about the 1990s Philadelphia Flyers, but a lot of them forget John LeClair. LeClaire started the 1990s as a member of the Canadiens, joining the Flyers in the 1994-95 season. LeClair was a perennial All-Star that came over the Philadelphia having already won a Stanley Cup with the Canadiens in 1993 while scoring 406 career goals.
LeClair is now running his own non-profit company that benefits children and had a recent coaching experience with the CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in September 2016. LeClair got to coach against Mark Howe, another former Flyer. LeClair has said that “I loved playing. I don’t miss it so much, I miss a lot of the other stuff that’s not actual playing.”
7 Alexander Mogilny
Alexander Mogilny’s career started with the 1989-90 season with Buffalo where he would stay for six seasons. Mogilny scored 211 goals while adding 233 assists for the Sabres before joining the Canucks for the 1995-96 season. Mogilny finished out the decade there and he would add 308 more points to his resume.
Mogilny left playing professional hockey in 2006 after playing in the AHL and returned to Russia to continue his life in the sport, which many didn't expect, especially after the way he left the country to play in the NHL. Mogilny now finds himself in the KHL with the Amur Khabarovsk organization. Mogilny is the president of the squad that has only made the playoffs once since starting play in the 2008-09 season. Mogilny said that on top of his job, “otherwise, just being a father and helping to raise my kids.”
6 Tony Amonte
Back in the 1990s (when the Blackhawks were actually bad), one of their few bright spots was Tony Amonte, who was there from the 1993-94 season until the early 2000s. Amonte would become a five-time All-Star in his career and scored 541 points as a member of the Blackhawks, including 268 goals. Amonte would then end up heading to Phoenix in the 2002-03 season before also playing for the Flyers and Flames.
The 2006-07 season was the final one for Amonte, who returned closer to his hometown after retirement. In 2010, it was announced that Amonte would become the head coach of the Thayer Academy hockey team in Massachusetts. Amonte has also worked as an analyst recently for Comcast Sportsnet New England, breaking down Bruins games.
5 John Cullen
John Cullen played from 1988-89 until 1998-99, making most of his career come from the decade in question here. Cullen played for Pittsburgh, Hartford, Tampa Bay and Toronto during his career and was a two-time All-Star. Cullen scored 187 career goals and added 363 assists. Although he never won a Stanley Cup, Cullen is one of the more underappreciated players from the decade.
Cullen had a famous battle with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma in the late 1990s that would wind up ending his career. Cullen worked with the Lightning briefly before moving to Atlanta where he worked with his brother at a car dealership, eventually starting his own for two years before the recession claimed his dealership. He is still working in the business, though, as he is now working with his brother again as a general manager.
4 Tomas Sandstrom
There are a lot of hated players out there in the NHL right now, but one that drew a lot of ire back in the 1990s was Tomas Sandstrom. Sandstrom was criticized for his “dirty” play and would try his best to get under opponents’ skin. Sandstrom would still be a solid player, however, as he was a two-time All-Star that helped the Red Wings win the 1997 Stanley Cup, scoring 394 career goals and 856 overall points.
Sandstrom left the NHL after the 1998-99 season, ending his career by playing three seasons in the SEL with Malmo IF, ending in 2002. Sandstrom would stick around in Sweden as he actually became a firefighter in Skanor, a town of about 7,000 residents. Other than that, Sandstrom has been very quiet in his retirement.
3 Dave Andreychuk
You would think that someone that has scored 640 career goals would have been named to more than two All-Star teams, but that wasn’t the case for Dave Andreychuk. Andreychuk played throughout the entire 1990s, but also played nearly all of the 1980s and even half of the 2000s. Andreychuk spent time with six different teams, but most notably in Buffalo where he played for 12 seasons.
When the 1990s came to an end, Dave Andreychuk joined the Lightning as a player before he retired in 2006. Still, Andreychuk has remained with the organization ever since and he's currently their Vice President of Corporate and Community Affairs. Andreychuk also started his own foundation that closed in 2010, but he has still found success as a member of the Lightning.
2 Scott Mellanby
Another player like Dave Andreychuk that was around for a good chunk of the 1980s, Scott Mellanby would have his best years in the 1990s where he played for Edmonton and Florida. Mellanby had a 30 goal season in his first year with the Panthers in 1993-94 and he would be named to one All-Star team. For his career, he posted 840 career points with five teams.
Mellanby would help found the Athletes Against Autism foundation then announced his retirement in 2007. Mellanby landed a job with the Canucks before he would become an assistant coach with St. Louis. After two seasons, Mellanby left St. Louis to join the Canadiens as the director of player personnel. Two years after that, Mellanby was promoted to assistant general manager and has held that job ever since.
1 Brian Bellows
Another holdover from the 1980s ends our list and this time it’s Brian Bellows. After playing with Minnesota through the 1980s and the first part of the 1990s, Bellows would play for Montreal, Tampa Bay, Anaheim and Washington. Bellows won a Stanley Cup in 1993 with the Canadiens and was named to three All-Star teams on the heels of 1,022 career points.
Bellows’s career ended when the 1990s did and his last season came with the Washington Capitals. Bellows moved to Minnesota in the 2000s to work in the banking industry. Bellows is a broker at an investment firm in Minnesota, BusinessInsider even called him one of the “Best Ice Hockey Players in Finance,” which is not where we saw his career headed after the NHL.
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