Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Sergei Zholtok
Sergei Zholtok played his junior hockey in the Soviet Union and made his debut in the Soviet elite league with Dynamo Riga in 1990-91. He was a silver medallist with the Commonwealth of Independent States at the 1991 World Junior Championships and a gold medallist at the 1992 tournament. He has also represented Latvia at the World Hockey Championships in 1994, 1997, 1999, 2001, 2003 and 2004.

Selected 55th overall in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Boston Bruins, Zholtok made his NHL debut against the Quebec Nordiques on April 8, 1993, registering an assist in his lone NHL game that year while spending the better part of the season with the AHL's Providence Bruins. The following season, he played 24 games for the Bruins, scoring his first NHL goal against Arturs Irbe of the San Jose Sharks.

The Bruins decided that Zholtok didn't fit in with their future plans, so he signed with the IHL's Las Vegas Thunder prior to the 1995-96 season and won the league's Ironman Award for outstanding play. His play in the IHL led to him signing as a free agent with the Ottawa Senators in 1996.

When he was traded by the Senators to the Montreal Canadiens, he improved his faceoff skills and brought a new level of intensity to his game. The re-invented Zholtok surprised everyone with an NHL career-best of 26 goals in the 1999-00 season. After parts of three seasons with Montreal organization, Zholtok was traded to the Edmonton Oilers and then to the Minnesota Wild prior to the 2001-02 season. In his second season with the Wild in 2002-03, Zholtok registered a career high 42 points and was key player in the team's playoff drive to the Western Conference final.

After parts of three seasons in Minnesota, Zholtok was traded along with Brad Bombardir to the Nashville Predators for third and fourth round picks in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft in the latter stages of the 2004 season.

With the players locked-out at the beginning of the 2004-05 season, Zholtok opted to play in Latvia. However, in a game in Minsk, Belarus, Zholtok left the game with five minutes remaining and collapsed in the team's dressing room. Sergei Zholtok died of a heart failure at the age of 31.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1989-90 RShVSM-Energo Riga USSR-3
1989-90 Soviet Union EJC-A 6 6 4 10 6
1990-91 Dynamo Riga USSR 39 4 0 4 16
1990-91 RShVSM-Energo Riga USSR-3 12 7
1990-91 Dynamo Riga Fr-Tour 1 0 0 0 0
1990-91 Soviet Union WJC-A 7 2 2 4 2
1991-92 Rigas Stars CIS 27 6 3 9 6
1991-92 Rigas Stars CIS-Q 3
1991-92 Russia WJC-A 7 2 4 6 6
1992-93 Boston Bruins NHL 1 0 1 1 0 +1
1992-93 Providence Bruins AHL 64 31 35 66 57 6 3 5 8 4
1993-94 Boston Bruins NHL 24 2 1 3 2 -7
1993-94 Providence Bruins AHL 54 29 33 62 16
1993-94 Latvia WC-B 4 6 1 7 4
1994-95 Providence Bruins AHL 78 23 35 58 42 13 8 5 13 6
1995-96 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 82 51 50 101 30 15 7 13 20 6
1996-97 Ottawa Senators NHL 57 12 16 28 19 +2 7 1 1 2 0
1996-97 Las Vegas Thunder IHL 19 13 14 27 20
1996-97 Latvia WC-A 5 3 3 6 2
1997-98 Ottawa Senators NHL 78 10 13 23 16 -7 11 0 2 2 0
1998-99 Montreal Canadiens NHL 70 7 15 22 6 -12
1998-99 Fredericton Canadiens AHL 7 3 4 7 0 -1
1998-99 Latvia WC-A 6 4 0 4 0
1999-00 Montreal Canadiens NHL 68 26 12 38 28 +2
1999-00 Quebec Citadelles AHL 1 0 1 1 2 0
2000-01 Montreal Canadiens NHL 32 1 10 11 8 -15
2000-01 Edmonton Oilers NHL 37 4 16 20 22 +8 3 0 0 0 0
2000-01 Latvia WC-A 6 5 1 6 4 +5
2001-02 Minnesota Wild NHL 73 19 20 39 28 -10
2001-02 Latvia WC-A 6 0 4 4 2 -7
2002-03 Minnesota Wild NHL 78 16 26 42 18 +1 18 2 11 13 0
2003-04 Minnesota Wild NHL 59 13 16 29 19 +4
2003-04 Nashville Predators NHL 11 1 1 2 0 -2 6 1 0 1 0
2003-04 Latvia WC-A 7 3 2 5 10 -1
2004-05 HK Riga 2000 BelOpen 6 4 3 7 12
NHL Totals 588 111 147 258 166 45 4 14 18 0


Signed as a free agent by Las Vegas (IHL), August 5, 1995. Signed as a free agent by Ottawa, July 10, 1996. Signed as a free agent by Montreal, September 9, 1998. Traded to Edmonton by Montreal for Chad Kilger, December 18, 2000. Traded to Minnesota by Edmonton for Minnesota's 7th round pick (J.F. Dufort) in 2002 NHL Draft, June 29, 2001. Traded to Nashville by Minnesota with Brad Bombardir for Buffalo's 3rd round pick (previously acquired, Minnesota selected Clayton Stoner) in 2004 NHL Draft and Nashville's 4th round pick (Patrick Bordeleau) in 2004 NHL Draft, March 5, 2004. Signed as a free agent by Riga (Latvia), October 2, 2004. Collapsed on the way to the dressing room during a game in Minsk, Belarus and later died, November 3, 2004. He had been previously diagnosed as having cardiac arrythmia.
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