Russian centre Viacheslav Butsayev was a fine playmaker and power play specialist during four years in the NHL in the 1990s. He showed flashes of being effective but was worn down by the more physical style of play in North America.
Born in Togliatti, USSR, Butsayev excelled with the Central Red Army and was drafted 109th overall by the Philadelphia Flyers in 1990. The young talent helped the USSR win the bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships, was a member of the Unified Team that won the gold medal at the 1992 Albertville Olympics, and played for Russia at the World Championships a few weeks later.
In 1992-93, Butsayev played 52 games as a rookie with Philly and helped Russia claim gold at the World Championships. He scored 12 goals in the first 47 games of the 1993-94 season when he was traded to the San Jose Sharks for Rob Zettler. Butsayev played only six games for the Sharks in 1995 and then joined the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for a few contests the next year. He spent most of the 1995-96 season with the AHL's Baltimore Bandits where he averaged more than a point per game.
Butsayev returned to Europe in 1996-97 to suit up for the Swedish club Farjestads. He also played for Russia when it finished fourth at the World Championships. In 1997-98, he returned to North America and scored 36 goals for IHL's Fort Wayne Komets. During the next two seasons he made brief appearances with Florida, Ottawa, and Tampa Bay but spent most of his time in the "I". He scored 33-goals for the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2000-01 but subsequently decided to return to his homeland in 2001-02 and went on to suit up for Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the Russian Elite Leage and has gone on to make his fourth and fifth appearances at the World Championships in 2002 and 2004.