Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
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Hartikainen and Jaskin break records, Da Costa leads Ak Bars, and Johansson backstops CSKA. KHL. ru presents the best imports of the regular season from each country.

Finland

Teemu Hartikainen

F, Salavat Yulaev, 53 G, 64 (28+36) points, +17

Not surprisingly, it has been an eventful season for the Finnish international, who is breaking record after record and is cementing his position as one of the best players in the league’s history. Already the all-time top scorer in the KHL for Salavat Yulaev, this year Hartikainen made history, becoming the Finnish player with the most single-season points defeating Esa Pirnes’ achievement established in the KHL’s inaugural season with 50 points. Interestingly enough, also Hartikainen’s linemates — both Finns — Sakari Manninen and Markus Granlund, surpassed Pirnes, scoring respectively 52 and 53 points. Salavat Yulaev’s Finn trio led the team to fourth place in the Eastern conference’s standings, and they will soon face Traktor in the playoffs first round. Hartikainen had 15 multi-point games, including two five-point performances. In the first one, he posted a double and a hat-trick of assists on Sep. 15’s Salavat Yulaev 6-3 win over Torpedo. However, that incredible performance was overshadowed by the Jan. 10 showing in the Green Derby. Scoring four goals, Hartikainen helped Salavat Yulaev destroying Ak Bars — moreover, it was the night when he surpassed Pirnes, getting his 51st point in the 2020-2021 campaign. Hartikainen finished the regular season in second place of the scoring standings.

France

Stephane Da Costa

F, Ak Bars, 52 G, 57 (27+30) points, +12

Another player who had an outstanding season is Stephane Da Costa. The Frenchman posted four doubles this year and had an incredible 11-game point streak between December and January, with 21 points under his belt for that span — including three consecutive three-point matches. However, Da Costa wasn’t valuable for Ak Bars only at the crossing of 2020 and 2021 — he helped Kazan winning Oct. 5’s Green Derby scoring two goals and an assist, for example; or when he potted the game-winner in Ak Bars’ 3-2 victory in Yekaterinburg on Feb. 3. The Frenchman finished fifth in scoring, while the Tatarstan franchise climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings and lost the Continental Cup for the most points in the regular season only after the final game against CSKA. In the first round, Ak Bars is going to face Torpedo.

Czech Republic

Dmitrij Jaskin

F, Dynamo Moscow, 59 G, 60 (38+22) points, +25

Jaskin’s second season in the KHL was nothing short of phenomenal. Moreover, he also showed that Hartikainen wasn’t the only one out for the records, but he established some himself. He couldn’t beat Jan Marek’s 72 points in 2008-2009, but he set a new best with 38 goals, finally surpassing Marek and Pavel Brendl’s 35 tallies in the inaugural KHL season. If that’s not enough, he also set a new record for the most single-season goals for Dynamo Moscow. Jaskin formed a lethal duo for the Blue-and-Whites with Vadim Shipachyov. The Russian was the league’s top scorer, while Jaskin was the top sniper. The Omsk native forward netted three hat-tricks this season, most recently in a Moscow Derby’s edition against Spartak won by Dynamo with a 6-0 score. Jaskin is currently in a three-game scoring streak as the White-and-Blues head to the playoffs’ first round against Severstal. Moreover, the Czech forward was just awarded Best forward of the month honors.

USA

Chris Wideman

D, Torpedo, 59 G, 41 (9+32) points, even

The Torpedo’s D-man was one of the season’s surprises — he topped the league in scoring from the blue line and reached this achievement in his first year in the KHL. Wideman’s 41 points were the most for any USA defensemen in the league, surpassing Mike Lundin’s 39 in 2014-2015. The American blueliner had 13 multi-point games and logged an impressive 21:49 of average time on ice — the most among Torpedo skaters. The Nizhny Novgorod franchise made it to the Gagarin Cup playoffs for the eighth straight season; however, they only won two series in the KHL era, in 2011-2012 and 2015-2016. It won’t be easy for the Wideman’s squad this season since they will face the Kazan powerhouse — but in the playoffs, anything can happen.

Canada/Kazakhstan

Darren Dietz

D, Barys, 53 G, 37 (17+20) points, −16

In his fourth season, Dietz set a career-high for goals with 17 and was the third scorer among defensemen after Wideman and Dinamo Minsk’s Brennan Menell. Moreover, he was also second only to Menell for time one ice and led Barys earning sixteen powerplays for the Kazakh franchise. A perennial top-scorer among the league’s defensemen, Dietz had nine multi-point games, including two consecutive matches with a goal and an assist to close the regular season on a positive note. Dietz, who demonstrated skills both on and off the ice, will lead the Barys’ rearguard in the playoffs first round against Metallurg. Last year, the Kazakh franchise won the series 4-1; this year, it promises to be a closer contest.

Sweden

Lars Johansson

G, CSKA, 24 G, 19 W, 93.2%, GAA 1.59

In his fourth season in the league, Johansson posted once again astounding numbers, leading the KHL with a goals-against average of 1.59 and being third in saves percentage and shutouts. Moreover, Johansson only lost three games and helped CSKA clinching its third straight Continental Cup as the regular-season winner. It was the sixth time that the Army Men led the overall standings but only won the Gagarin Cup once. This year, Johansson will try hard to help CSKA lift the Cup once again after last year’s interruption due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Moreover, it looks like the Swedish netminder will start between the piping for the Armymen as Ilya Sorokin left the team this summer. For his efforts, Johansson was awarded Best goalie honors for the regular season’s final month, and his achievement list for this year can go on in the postseason.

Alessandro Seren Rosso Alessandro Seren Rosso
exclusive for khl.ru

Related clubs

Ak Bars (Kazan) Ak Bars (Kazan)
Barys (Nur-Sultan) Barys (Nur-Sultan)
Dynamo (Moscow) Dynamo (Moscow)
Salavat Yulaev (Ufa) Salavat Yulaev (Ufa)
Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod) Torpedo (Nizhny Novgorod)
CSKA (Moscow) CSKA (Moscow)
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