Legends of Hockey -- NHL Player Search -- Player -- Viktor Kozlov
Viktor Kozlov's hockey talent was apparent to everyone by the time he was 15. ESPN's Barry Melrose told of first seeing the 16-year-old Kozlov when he was in Canada with the Russian junior team. Even then, Kozlov was outstanding among his peers. At home in Russia, Moscow's leading teams fought to acquire him. When he was 17, the managers of CSKA and Dynamo wooed him while the young player tried to make up his mind. Finally he chose Dynamo at his father's request. The story goes that when Kozlov left for Moscow, a CSKA official was waiting for him at the railroad station in Moscow. But he never saw him because the Dynamo manager had already taken Kozlov off the train at a small station in the Moscow suburbs.

Kozlov's early North American career seemed to be plagued by bad luck. After he was drafted, Kozlov was doing well at his first training camp and was the team's best preseason scorer. He was anxious for the regular season to begin, but an NHL lockout was declared. It was a big shock for the non-English speaking player to be asked to leave the hotel he was staying at. Fortunately, San Jose's goalie Arthur Irbe invited Kozlov to stay at his home.

His first season in the NHL was difficult for Kozlov. Back on the ice he felt awkward and unsure of himself. As well, his coaches and the media started to pressure him. The players who were selected with him in the first round draft?Paul Karyia, Jason Arnott, Rob Niedermayer were performing so much better than Kozlov that many were questioning his ability. All this was making him very nervous and he stopped reading the newspapers' sports pages altogether.

In the NHL, not many young European players are successful right away. In Kozlov's case, observers were quick to draw unflattering conclusions about him. Perhaps his manner of playing was to blame. A big and powerful man, Kozlov does not like to get involved in fierce bodychecking. Darryl Sutter, the tough coach of the Sharks, especially disliked his understated style of play. And Kozlov's two goals and his record setting 10 shots on goal in his first 1997-98 regular season game did not help. In the second game he was moved to the fourth lineup. By the end of November, in the first round of the next year's draft, he was traded to the Florida Panthers.

In the summer of 1998 Kozlov was dealt to the Florida Panthers. He was to be included on the Russian team going to the Olympics in Nagano, Japan, but three days before the departure date he injured his shoulder. The following year, he was invited for the first time to play in the NHL All-Star Game but he injured the same shoulder in the last game of the regular season. He was playing better than with the Sharks, but his coaches expected much more of him.

But all that changed when Pavel Bure arrived in Florida. Finally, at 25, Kozlov started to fulfill the promise he showed at 17. In the first half of the 1999-00 season he had beaten his personal points record and was amongst the top five scorers in the league early on.

Since the 1999-00 season Kozlov has shown flashes of brilliance establishing a career high 22 goals in 2002-03, while also being plagued by injuries, missing a combined 62 games in 2000-01 and 2001-02. After the better part of six seasons in Florida, Kozlov was acquired by the New Jersey Devils in the latter stages of the 2003-04 season.

As a member of the New Jersey Devils, Kozlov recorded 31 points in 80 games played over two seasons before signing as a free agent with the New York Islanders. As a member of the New York Islanders Kozlov tallied a career-high 25 goals and was a regular in the clubs line-up appearing in 81 regular season games.

In the summer of 2007, as an unrestricted free agent, Kozlov signed with the who signed with the Washington Capitals. After two seasons in Washington, which included 16 and 13-goal campaigns, Kozlov agreed to join Salavat Yulayev Ufa of the KHL. He would spend six seasons in the KHL before announcing his retirement prior to the 2015-16 season.

On the international stage, Kozlov represented his homeland at the 1993 World Junior Championships, multiple times at the World Championships, at the 2004 World Cup of Hockey, as well as the 2006 and 2010 Winter Olympics.


REGULAR SEASON PLAYOFFS
Season Club League GP G A TP PIM +/- GP G A TP PIM
1990-91 Lada Togliatti USSR-2 2 2 0 2 0
1991-92 Lada Togliatti CIS 3 0 0 0 0
1991-92 Russia EJC-A 6 3 3 6 2
1992-93 Dynamo Moscow CIS 30 6 5 11 4 10 3 0 3 0
1992-93 Russia WJC-A 7 2 1 3 2
1992-93 Russia EJC-A 6 3 3 6 4
1993-94 Dynamo Moscow CIS 42 16 9 25 14
1994-95 Dynamo Moscow CIS 3 1 1 2 2
1994-95 San Jose Sharks NHL 16 2 0 2 2 -5
1994-95 Kansas City Blades IHL 4 1 1 2 0 13 4 5 9 12
1995-96 San Jose Sharks NHL 62 6 13 19 6 -15
1995-96 Kansas City Blades IHL 15 4 7 11 12
1995-96 Russia WC-A 8 0 3 3 0
1996-97 San Jose Sharks NHL 78 16 25 41 40 -16
1997-98 San Jose Sharks NHL 18 5 2 7 2 -2
1997-98 Florida Panthers NHL 46 12 11 23 14 -1
1997-98 Russia WC-A 6 4 5 9 0
1998-99 Florida Panthers NHL 65 16 35 51 24 +13
1999-00 Florida Panthers NHL 80 17 53 70 16 +24 4 0 1 1 0
1999-00 Russia WC-A 6 1 3 4 2 +1
2000-01 Florida Panthers NHL 51 14 23 37 10 -4
2001-02 Florida Panthers NHL 50 9 18 27 20 -16
2002-03 Florida Panthers NHL 74 22 34 56 18 -8
2003-04 Florida Panthers NHL 48 11 16 27 16 -4
2003-04 New Jersey Devils NHL 11 2 4 6 2 0 2 0 0 0 0
2004-05 Russia W-Cup 4 1 0 1 0
2004-05 Lada Togliatti Russia 52 15 22 37 22 10 3 3 6 6
2004-05 Russia WC-A 9 1 0 1 0 +2
2005-06 New Jersey Devils NHL 69 12 13 25 16 0 3 0 0 0 0
2005-06 Russia Olympics 8 2 3 5 2 +2
2006-07 New York Islanders NHL 81 25 26 51 28 +12 5 0 2 2 2
2007-08 Washington Capitals NHL 81 16 38 54 18 +28 7 0 3 3 2
2008-09 Washington Capitals NHL 67 13 28 41 16 -9 14 4 2 6 6
2009-10 Salavat Yulayev Ufa KHL 48 10 18 28 43 16 3 4 7 0
2009-10 Russia Olympics 4 1 0 1 0 +1
2009-10 Russia WC-A 9 1 2 3 2 +5
2010-11 Salavat Yulayev Ufa KHL 48 17 15 32 14 21 4 6 10 2
2011-12 Salavat Yulayev Ufa KHL 36 10 16 26 8 6 1 0 1 2
2012-13 Lokomotiv Yaroslavl KHL 21 1 5 6 14
2012-13 CSKA Moscow KHL 6 1 0 1 0 4 0 1 1 4
2013-14
2014-15 Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg KHL 18 0 2 2 0
NHL Totals 897 198 339 537 248 35 4 8 12 10


EJC-A All-Star Team (1993) Played in NHL All-Star Game (2000) Traded to Florida by San Jose with Florida's 5th round pick (previously acquired, Florida selected Jaroslav Spacek) in 1998 NHL Draft for Dave Lowry and Florida's 1st round pick (later traded to Tampa Bay - Tampa Bay selected Vincent Lecavalier) in 1998 NHL Draft, November 13, 1997. Traded to New Jersey by Florida for Christian Berglund and Victor Uchevatov, March 1, 2004. Signed as a free agent by Togliatti (Russia), July 11, 2004. Signed as a free agent by NY Islanders, September 13, 2006. Signed as a free agent by Washington, July 1, 2007. Signed as a free agent by Ufa (KHL), May 26, 2009.
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