Mikhail Shtalenkov played for the Moscow Dynamo for six seasons beginning in 1986 where he was named the USSR Rookie of the year. He would also represent his country in several tournaments such as the NHL-Soviet Super Series, Canada Cup, World Championship and 1992 Winter Olympics where he would claim a gold medal in the Unified teams win over team Canada.
In 1992 Shtalenkov moved to North America to play in the IHL with the Milwaukee Admirals, winning the Garry F. Longman Memorial Trophy as the leagues top rookie. He would then be drafted by the Anaheim Mighty Ducks in the 1993 entry draft, joining the Ducks first round choice Paul Kariya. Shtalenkov would join the team in his NHL debut for the 1993-94 season, but would spend the majority of the year with their IHL affiliate team the San Diego Gulls.
Shtalenkov would play four more seasons with the Ducks while also playing for Russia in tournaments like the World Championships, World Cup and the 1998 Olympics where he earned a silver medal. He would be on the move in 1998 when the Nashville Predators claimed him from Anaheim in the expansion draft, but would be dealt to the Oilers before playing a game in Nashville.
The Oilers would deal Shtalenkov to the Phoenix Coyotes before the end of the 1998-99 season and after playing fifteen games for the desert dogs the next year he was dealt one last time, to the Florida Panthers. Shtalenkov would leave the NHL to play for the Moscow Dynamo in Russia for the 2000-01 season.