The 12th KHL season is about to start. The teams are still trying to strengthen their lineups, but most of the players are already signed and practicing with the team. This, of course, includes the foreign legion, whose composition significantly changed in this offseason. It’s always exciting to analyze international players. Who they are? Where are they from?

In the previous 11 seasons, the KHL hosted 8960 games featuring 2754 players representing 24 countries. The following are the represented countries, in alphabetical order: Austria, Belarus, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Norway, Russia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, USA.

For the purposes of this article, we’ll consider the players’ nationality as it was at the moment they signed in the KHL, and now what it may be now. That is, for example, Kevin Dallman and Brandon Bochenski are considered as representing Canada and the USA, respectively, even if they own a Kazakh passport and represented the Kazakh national team. There are other examples. Eduard Lewandowski was born in Russia but later moved to Germany. If things are clear with most of the players coming from the far abroad, things aren’t that easy for the players from the former USSR countries. This is why we aren’t considering them here. The scope of the article is to show how ample is the geography of the League and analyze from what countries players get to it, not to follow every player’s personal fate.

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The hottest commodity? Goalies

According to our calculations, 916 players – or 33.26% of the total – are players from far abroad. That is including cases like Dallman and Bochenski.

The following is a list of countries by number of players: Canada (236), Finland (155), Czech Republic (144), Slovakia (130), Sweden (102), USA (91), Croatia (16), Denmark (8), Slovenia (7), China (6), Norway (5), Germany, France (4), Austria, Italy, Switzerland (2), Hungary, Israel (1).

As you can see, there are six main countries, while many of the rest of the countries can be considered exotic. In the list of international players, there are 120 goalies (42.25% of the total number of goalies), 279 defensemen (31.74%), and 517 forwards (32.50%). As it’s possible to guess by the numbers, goalies are the hottest commodity among international players.

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And now, most games played by player per country:

Austria: Bernd Bruckler (110), Canada: Kevin Dallman (620), China: Zach Yuen (121), Croatia: Mike Glumac (215), Czech Republic: Jiri Novotny (440), Denmark: Philip Larsen (249), Finland: Petri Kontiola (581), France: Stephane Da Costa (199), Germany: Eduard Lewandowski (429), Hungary: Karol Csanyi (2), Israel: Eliezer Sherbatov (35), Italy: Thomas Larkin (92), Norway: Patrick Thoresen (417), Slovakia: Tomas Starosta (425), Slovenia: Ziga Jeglic (252), Switzerland: Goran Bezina (56), Sweden: Staffan Kronwall (501), USA: Brandon Bochenski (455).

Top 10 international players in different categories:

Games played – goalies

Michael Garnett (Canada): 401, Jakub Kovar (Czech Republic): 327, Jakub Stepanek (Czech Republic): 307, Henrik Karlsson (Sweden): 262, Mikko Koskinen (Finland): 261, Karri Ramo (Finland): 247, Alexander Salak (Czech Republic): 237, Dominik Furch (Czech Republic): 234, Jeff Glass (Canada): 234, Rastislav Stana (Slovakia): 231.

Games played – defensemen

Kevin Dallman (Canada): 620, Staffan Kronwall (Sweden): 501, Juuso Hietanen (Finland): 481, Miroslav Blatak (Czech Republic): 433, Sami Lepisto (Finland): 431, Tomas Starosta (Slovakia): 425, Deron Quint (USA): 417, Filip Novak (Czech Republic): 407, Peter Podhradsky (Slovakia): 381, Jan Kolar (Czech Republic): 364.

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Games played – Forwards

Matt Ellison (Canada): 594, Petri Kontiola (Finland): 581, Geoff Platt (Canada): 568, Niko Kapanen (Finland): 510, Nigel Dawes (Canada): 483, Jonas Enlund (Finland): 462, Brandon Bochenski (USA): 455, Dustin Boyd (Canada): 448, Oskar Osala (Finland): 442, Jiri Novotny(Czech Republic): 440.

Shutouts – Goalies

Jakub Kovar (Czech Republic): 32, Mikko Koskinen (Finland): 32, Michael Garnett (Canada): 31, Karri Ramo (Finland): 26, Alexander Salak (Czech Republic): 25, Henrik Karlsson (Sweden): 24, Dominik Furch (Czech Republic): 20, Juha Metsola (Finland): 20, Petri Vehanen (Finland): 20, Jakub Stepanek (Czech Republic): 19.

Goals – Defensemen

Kevn Dallman (Canada): 142, Deron Quint (USA): 76, Juuso Hietanen (Finland): 68, Patrik Hersley (Sweden): 63, Mat Robinson (Canada): 61, Staffan Kronwall (Sweden): 58, Peter Podhradsky (Slovakia): 54, Chris Lee (Canada): 54, Sami Lepisto (Finland): 52, Miroslav Blatak (Czech Republic): 47.

Goals – Forwards

Nigel Dawes (Canada): 247, Matt Ellison (Canada): 193, Brandon Bochenski (USA): 179, Geoff Platt (Canada) 176, Patrick Thoresen (Norway): 149, Marcel Hossa(Slovakia): 137, Petri Kontiola (Finland): 129, Jan Kovar (Czech Republic): 129, Dustin Boyd (Canada): 127, Justin Azevedo (Canada): 115, Teemu Hartikainen (Finland): 115.

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Points – Defensemen

Kevin Dallman (Canada): 431, Chris Lee (Canada): 245, Juuso Hietanen (Finland): 215, Sami Lepisto (Finland): 211, Staffan Kronwall (Sweden): 210, Peter Podhradsky (Slovakia): 192, Deron Quint (USA): 190, Mat Robinson (Canada): 168, Patrik Hersley (Sweden): 164, Filip Novak (Czech Republic): 150.

Points – Forwards

Matt Ellison (Canada): 458, Nigel Dawes (Canada): 450, Brandon Bochenski (USA): 444, Patrick Thoresen (Norway): 382, Jan Kovar (Czech Republic): 377, Linus Omark (Sweden): 363, Petri Kontiola (Finland): 359, Geoff Platt (Canada): 351, Justin Azevedo (Canada): 301, Niko Kapanen (Finland): 298.

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PIMs – defensemen

Filip Novak (Czech Republic): 591, Kevin Dallman (Canada): 493, Branislav Mezei (Slovakia): 485, Martin Grenier (Canada): 407, Tomas Kloucek (Czech Republic): 375, Sami Lepisto (Finland): 355, Shaone Morrisonn (Canada): 344, Peter Podhradsky (Slovakia): 340, Tomas Starosta (Slovakia): 325, Michal Sersen (Slovakia): 324.

PIMs – forwards

Darcy Verot (Canada): 796, Oskar Osala (Finland): 568, Chris Simon (Canada): 550, Matt Ellison (Canada): 542, Geoff Platt (Canada): 437, Stefan Ruzicka (Slovakia): 404, Jan Bulis (Czech Republic): 396, Jesse Joensuu (Finland): 387, Josh Gratton (Canada): 385, Martin Cibak (Slovakia): 381.

Picking the right foreigners is a sensitive matter, as it can easily go either way. 178 international players out of 916 played less than 20 games (19.43% or every fifth international player): 39 goalies, 46 defensemen, and 93 forwards. Many new international players are going to have their debut in the upcoming season, and everything will be clear by then.

Vladimir Zhidkov Vladimir Zhidkov
Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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