A centre with excellent speed, quickness, and scoring ability, Slava Kozlov was born in Voskresensk, USSR, Kozlov played with Khimik club for four years and competed against NHL clubs for the first time during the 1990-91 Friendly Tour in Moscow. He played for the USSR at European Junior Championships in 1990 where he was named the top forward and placed on the tournament all-star team. Kozlov scored 11 points in seven games when the USSR won silver at the World Junior Championships in 1990. That year he was also named the USSR Rookie-of-the-Year and was drafted 45th overall by the Detroit Red Wings.
Kozlov suited up for the senior national team when they won the bronze medal at the 1991 World Championships and competed in the Canada Cup later that year. He joined Detroit for seven games in 1991-92 then played most of 1992-93 in the AHL with the Adirondack Red Wings where he adjusted to the smaller ice surface and North American style of play.
Kozlov scored 34 goals in 77 games in his first full year in 1993-94 and helped the Wings register 100 points in the regular season. The talented forward became constant in the Wings' lineup. He cored 36 goals in 1995-96 and enjoyed solid post-seasons when Detroit won consecutive Stanley Cups in 1997 and 1998. Recently, Kozlov has been a solid two-way 20-goal producer for the Wings while they have remained near the top of the NHL standings.
After ten seasons in the Red Wings organization, Kozlov was traded to the Buffalo Sabres as part of a deal that saw Dominik Hasek head to Detroit. Kozlov spent one injury plagued season in Buffalo before being dealt to the Atlanta Thrashers just prior to the 2002-03 season. In his first season with the Thrashers, Kozlov reached the 70-point plateau for the first time since the 1995-96 season and continued to be one of the club's offensive leaders. After another productive season in Atlanta, Kozlov returned home due to the NHL lockout and split his time between Voskresensk and Ak Bars Kazan of the Russian Super League. He returned to Atlanta and the NHL the following season and once again reached the 70-point plateau while the Thrashers showed signs of improvement.
In 2006-07, Kozlov appeared in 81 games for the Thrashers and recorded a career-best 80 points (28 goals, 52 assists). His offensive contributions helped the Thrashers earn their first Southeast Division championship and a birth into the playoffs. However the upstart club would be quickly swept by the New York Ranges in only the first round of the playoffs.
In the seasons that followed, the veteran winger would serve as an elder statesman on a young Thrashers club, continuing to put up impressive offensive numbers along the way.