Recently, Teemu Hartikainen established a new record for the most points scored by a Finn player with 51. This week, another record was broken as Kaspars Daugavins tallied a goal against Kunlun Red Star for his 45th point of the 2020-2021 campaign, making it the most points scored by a Latvian player in a single KHL regular season. The previous record was held by Dinamo Riga’s captain Lauris Darzins, who had 44 in two different campaigns, first in 2010-2011, then, most recently, in 2018-2019.
It has been a tremendous season for now for Daugavins, who moved to Vityaz this summer after spending two years with Spartak Moscow. With the Red-and-Whites, Daugavins scored 76 (32+44) points in two years, and both times career-high. With this year’s 45 points, Daugavins is thus at three consecutive seasons with an increasing number of points — a solid achievement by a 32-years-old player. And the season isn’t over yet — with a dozen of games to go, Vityaz is the eighth seed in the Western Conference, and the fight for the last playoff place is on a full-swing, with Daugavins’ former team — Spartak Moscow — tied with Vityaz at 52 points.
Kaspars Daugavins was born in Riga on May 18, 1988. In the Latvian capital, he had his first steps in hockey — he played there until 2004. For the 2004-2005 season, he moved to the CSKA Moscow junior teams, where he spent one year before returning to Riga. Back home, Daugavins played pro hockey with HK Riga 2000 in the Belarusian Extraleague for the 2005-2006 campaign. Later that year, Daugavins also had his debut with the Latvian senior national team, at the 2006 IIHF World Championship, held for the first time in Latvia. After the home WC, Daugavins was drafted in the NHL by the Ottawa Senators in the third round, then was picked by the Toronto St. Michael’s Majors with the third overall pick at the annual CHL Import Draft.
In the 2006 summer, Daugavins crossed the ocean and started his first year. In the Ontario Hockey League, the Latvian forward enjoyed great success and made the OHL First All-Star Rookie team in his debut season. Alongside his play with the Majors, Daugavins also played some games in the AHL with the Binghamton Senators. Finally, in the 2009-2010 campaign, he had his debut in the NHL with Ottawa. Daugavins will then spend the entire 2010-2011 season in the AHL again, but he had an exceptional playoffs campaign and helped Binghamton winning the Calder Cup as American Hockey League champions — so far, the only title the Latvian won in his career. One year later, he played a record 65 games at the NHL level, with 11 (6+5) points. In 2012, with the NHL lockout, he signed a contract with Dinamo Riga for his first stint in the KHL. After 35 games in Latvia, he returned to North America as the NHL restarted operations but was soon traded to the Boston Bruins. Daugavins helped the Bruins reach the Stanley Cup finals with six postseason appearances.
After the stint with the Bruins, Daugavins, as an impending free agent, decided to return to Europe. At first, he didn’t sign in the KHL, but joined the Swiss side Geneve-Servette, where he had a point a game and won the Spengler Cup, making the All-Star team. After one year in Switzerland, Daugavins finally moved to the KHL, signing with Dynamo Moscow. In his first season with the Blue-and-Whites, Daugavins led the Moscow side with 22 goals. However, in the next season, he failed to repeat the result and was waived. After being picked up by Amur, Daugavins was then moved to Torpedo. He will become a key player for Nizhny Novgorod, making the KHL All-Star Game in 2015-2016 in Moscow, becoming the first player to skate in the event after being waived in the same season.
In 2018, Daugavins returned to Moscow, this time signing with Oleg Znarok’s Spartak. As said, he had two highly-successful campaigns with the Red-and-Whites, where, however, he didn’t enjoy much postseason experience. After two years in Moscow, he joined Vityaz in the offseason. Thanks to Daugavin’s points and a tremendous KHL debut season by Canadian Justin Danforth — without forgetting the team’s captain, Alex Semin — Vityaz has now a fantastic chance to qualify for the postseason for the third time in a row. However, Vityaz is yet to win a playoff match. Will Daugavins score the Moscow Region side’s first-ever playoff game-winner?