TheSportster.com

Globetrotting: 15 Former NHLers You Won't BELIEVE Are Still Playing Overseas

Most of us thought that these former NHL players were on a beach somewhere enjoying retirement; instead, they’re actually still playing hockey!

It is every young hockey player’s dream to make it to the National Hockey League where they will have a long and successful career. And for quite a few very talented guys, their dream becomes a reality. But unfortunately, not every player has a long career in the NHL. Some of them struggle to earn a permanent spot on their team and as a result spend the majority of their time in the American Hockey League. And others get in a scoring slump that they just can’t get out of, forcing their team to buy out the remainder of their contracts.

On the other hand, some players have very successful careers in the NHL, but decide that they just want a change and decide to head overseas to play in a different league. And some players who were born in Europe just want to head back home to play in their native country.

There are many former NHL players who are currently playing overseas in Europe. While I’m sure most of us thought that these guys were on a beach somewhere enjoying retirement, instead, they’re actually still playing hockey. This list will detail 15 former NHLers that you will not believe are still playing overseas.

15 Alexander Frolov

via RDS.ca

Alexander Frolov spent eight seasons in the NHL from 2002 to 2011 playing mostly for the Los Angeles Kings (seven seasons), along with one season with the New York Rangers. During that time, he recorded 397 points in 579 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he went back home to Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League for the last five seasons (2011 to 2017). He played for Omsk Avangard, CSKA Moscow and Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Region. During his time in the KHL, he has produced 122 points in 233 games. The last time this 35-year-old left winger recorded at least 40 points in a season was in 2012-13, so it’s quite apparent that he’s slowing down in his hockey career. In fact, he hasn’t reached over 20 points since that season.

14 Sergei Kostitsyn

via eliteprospects.com

Sergei Kostitsyn spent six seasons in the NHL from 2007 to 2013 playing for the Montreal Canadiens and Nashville Predators. During that time, he tallied 176 points in 353 regular season games.

He also spent part of the 2012-13 season playing overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League and has spent the last four consecutive seasons (2013 to 2017) playing full time there with Avangard Omsk Region, Ak Bars Kazan, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Region and Dinamo Minsk. So far in the KHL, he has produced 135 points in 226 games. Based on his stats, he has been playing better overseas than he did here in North America and at just 30 years of age, I’m sure this winger has much hockey left to play in his professional career.

13 Alexei Ponikarovsky

via gramunion.com

Alexei Ponikarovsky had a long 12-year NHL career from 2000 to 2013 playing mostly for the Toronto Maple Leafs (nine seasons), as well as the Pittsburgh Penguins, Los Angeles Kings, Carolina Hurricanes, New Jersey Devils and Winnipeg Jets. During that time, he produced 323 points in 678 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he has playing overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League for the past four seasons (2013 to 2017) with SKA Saint Petersburg and Kunlun Red Star Beijing. So far in the KHL, he has recorded just 41 points in 175 games. For a player who we saw produce five consecutive 30+ point seasons during his time in the NHL, there’s no doubt that this 37-year-old left winger is slowing down in his career and he may not be playing hockey for too much longer.

12 Niklas Hagman

via yle.fi

Niklas Hagman spent 10 seasons in the NHL from 2001 to 2012 playing for the Florida Panthers, Dallas Stars, Toronto Maple Leafs, Calgary Flames and Anaheim Ducks. During that time, he recorded 301 points in 770 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, this Finnish left winger played in the Kontinental Hockey League (with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl and Jokerit Helsinki), the Swiss National League (Fribourg-Gotteron), and the Finnish SM-Liiga (Porin Assat, Karpat Oulu and HPK Hameenlinna). His totals for the last five seasons (2012 to 2017) combined between the KHL, Swiss-A league and the Finnish SM-Liiga are 120 points in 218 games. However, at 37 years of age, Hagman seems to be slowing down and has been appearing in fewer games over the last couple of years.

11 Jean-Francois Jacques

via wikipedia.org

Jean-Francois Jacques spent seven seasons in the NHL from 2005 to 2012 playing mostly for the Edmonton Oilers (six seasons), along with one season with the Anaheim Ducks. During his time in the NHL, he tallied just 17 points in 166 regular season games. He also spent a lot of time in the American Hockey League.

After his time in the NHL and AHL, he went overseas and played two seasons in Austria (2014 to 2016) where he did much better playing for Klagenfurt AC. In those two seasons combined, he racked up a total of 70 points in 95 games. He then spent last season (2016-17) playing in Germany in the DEL with ERC Ingolstadt and recorded 16 points in 52 games. There’s no doubt that this 32-year-old left winger has had a much better career playing overseas than he did in the NHL.

10 Andrei Kostitsyn

via RDS.ca

Andrei Kostitsyn spent seven seasons in the NHL from 2005 to 2012 playing mostly for the Montreal Canadiens. He played all but 19 games with the Canadiens – he also spent a short time with the Nashville Predators. During that time, he earned 222 points in 398 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he went overseas and has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League ever since (from 2012 to 2017). He has played for Traktor Chelyabinsk, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod Region and HC Sochi. In that time, he has produced 162 points in 253 games. In four of his five seasons in the KHL so far, this 32-year-old winger has produced over 30 points, so he’s still considered to be a decent player to have on the team.

9 Cristobal Huet

via alchetron.com

Cristobal Huet spent seven seasons in the NHL from 2002 to 2010 playing for the Los Angeles Kings, Montreal Canadiens, Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks. During that time, this goaltender earned 129 wins (including 24 shutouts), 90 losses, 11 ties and 21 overtime/shootout losses, along with a 2.46 goals against average and a .913 save percentage. His best season was in 2007-08 when he produced a career-high 32 wins in 52 games between Montreal and Washington.

After his time in the NHL, he went overseas to play in Switzerland and has been there for the past seven seasons (2010 to 2017) playing for Fribourg-Gotteron and Lausanne HC. At 41 years of age, Huet is still a good starting goaltender as he played in 40 regular season games last season in 2016-17 with Lausanne HC and had a 2.47 goals against average.

8 Cam Barker

via khl.sk

Cam Barker spent eight seasons in the NHL from 2005 to 2013 playing for the Chicago Blackhawks, Minnesota Wild, Edmonton Oilers and Vancouver Canucks. During that time, he totalled 96 points in 310 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he went overseas to play in the Kontinental Hockey League. He has been there for four seasons (2013 to 2017) and has played for Slovan Bratislava and Barys Astana. So far in the KHL, he has earned 77 points in 154 games. His best season was in 2015-16 when he racked up 40 points 55 games which ranked him second on the team. At just 31 years of age, this defenseman should have at least a few more years left in his professional hockey career.

7 Jeff Taffe

via wikipedia.org

Jeff Taffe spent parts of nine seasons in the NHL from 2002 to 2012 playing for the Phoenix Coyotes, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild. He had a difficult time earning a permanent spot in the NHL, so he ended up spending a lot of time in the American Hockey League. During his time in the NHL, he tallied 46 points in 180 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he went overseas and spent one season in Sweden (2014-15) playing for Linkopings HC in the Swedish Hockey League. Then he went on to play in the Kontinental Hockey League which is where he has been for the last two seasons (2015 to 2017) playing for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk and Slovan Bratislava. This 36-year-old forward is obviously doing much better playing overseas, as he has recorded 127 points in 168 games between the SHL and KHL.

6 Jonathan Cheechoo

via hokej.pravda.sk

Jonathan Cheechoo spent seven seasons in the NHL from 2002 to 2010 playing mostly for the San Jose Sharks (six seasons), along with the Ottawa Senators. During that time, he recorded 305 points in 501 regular season games. His best season was in 2005-06 when he racked up 93 points in 82 games, which earned him the Maurice Richard Trophy. After the Senators bought out the remainder of his contract, Cheechoo spent the next three seasons (2010 to 2013) in the AHL playing for the Worcester Sharks, Peoria Rivermen and Oklahoma City Barons.

And for the last four seasons (2013 to 2017), he has been playing overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League for Medvescak Zagreb, Dynamo Minsk and Slovan Bratislava. During his time in the KHL, this 36-year-old right winger has totalled 164 points in 217 games.

5 Jussi Markkanen

via yle.fi

Jussi Markkanen spent five seasons in the NHL from 2001 to 2007 playing mostly for the Edmonton Oilers except for 26 games with the New York Rangers in 2003-04. During his time in the NHL, this goaltender earned 43 wins (including 7 shutouts), 47 losses, 8 ties and 7 overtime/shootout losses, along with a 2.70 goals against average and a .901 save percentage.

After his time in the NHL, this Finnish goalie went to play overseas and has been there for the last ten seasons (2007 to 2017). He has played in the Kontinental Hockey League (CSKA Moscow), the Swiss National League (EV Zug) and the Finnish SM-Liiga (Jokerit Helkinsi and SaiPa Lappeenranta). In the past four seasons with SaiPa Lappeenranta, he has appeared in 155 games and earned 66 wins. It’s hard to believe that at 42 years of age, he’s still goaltending and his numbers aren’t that bad.

4 Maxim Afinogenov

via wikipedia.org

Maxim Afinogenov spent 10 seasons in the NHL from 1999 to 2010 playing mostly with the Buffalo Sabres (nine seasons with them), along with one season with the Atlanta Thrashers. During that time, he produced 395 points in 651 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL, he went back home to his native country of Russia to play in the Kontinental Hockey League for the past seven seasons (2010 to 2017). He has played for SKA Saint Petersburg and Vityaz Moscow Region. So far in the KHL, he has recorded 181 points in 321 games. At 37 years of age, this right winger is still a great player which was proven last season when he produced 47 points in 58 games which ranked him second on his team.

3 Nigel Dawes

via astanatimes.com

Nigel Dawes spent five seasons in the NHL from 2006 to 2011 playing for the New York Rangers, Phoenix Coyotes, Calgary Flames, Atlanta Thrashers and Montreal Canadiens. He had a hard time earning a permanent spot in the NHL and ended up spending some time down in the American Hockey League. During his time in the NHL, he recorded 84 points in 212 regular season games.

After his time in the NHL was finished, he went overseas and has been playing in the Kontinental Hockey League ever since (2011 to 2017) with Barys Astana. This 32-year-old left winger has certainly found his place in the KHL as he has produced 288 points in 331 games. In fact, he has racked up over 50 points in the last three consecutive seasons and even led his team last season with 63 points in 59 games.

2 Ilya Kovalchuk

via thescore.com

Ilya Kovalchuk spent 11 seasons in the NHL from 2001 to 2013 playing for the Atlanta Thrashers and New Jersey Devils. During that time, he produced exactly a point a game with 816 points in 816 regular season games. In seven of his eleven seasons, he recorded over 70 points and was one of three players who were awarded the Maurice Richard Trophy in 2004 as the league’s top goal scorers (along with Jarome Iginla and Rick Nash).

He then spent part of the 2012-13 season playing overseas in the Kontinental Hockey League and has been there ever since. From 2012-13 to 2016-17, he has been playing for SKA Saint Petersburg and has racked up 222 points in 209 games with them.

Although he retired from the NHL in 2013, it has been reported that the 34-year-old right winger is looking to make a return.

1 Steven Reinprecht

via s-magazin.de

Steven Reinprecht spent 11 seasons in the NHL from 1999 to 2011 playing for the Los Angeles Kings, Colorado Avalanche, Calgary Flames, Phoenix Coyotes and Florida Panthers. During that time, he produced 382 points in 663 regular season games. He also spent a portion of the 2010-11 season playing in Germany in the DEL with Adler Mannheim.

After his time in the NHL, he spent one season in the AHL in 2011-12 with the San Antonio Rampage and Chicago Wolves. For the past five seasons (2012 to 2017) he has been playing full time in the DEL with the Thomas Sabo Ice Tigers and is averaging over a point a game with 271 points in 232 games. This 41-year-old center is certainly not slowing down as he has produced over 50 points in the last four consecutive seasons.

Give TheSportster a Thumbs up!

Looking for an AD FREE EXPERIENCE on TheSportster?

Get Your Free Access Now!

More in NHL

Globetrotting: 15 Former NHLers You Won't BELIEVE Are Still Playing Overseas