D, Traktor, 5 GP, 5 (0+5) points, +4
Traktor lost its series to Magnitka in just five games, but a few select players had a tremendous time in the Eastern Conference finals for them – including Sweden’s Lawrence Pilut. The mobile blueliner kicked off the series with an assist in game one, then had a fantastic game two days later. When Traktor collected its lone win in the Southern Urals derby, Pilut posted a hat-trick of assist with a plus-4 differential as Chelyabinsk got away with a 6:4 road win. In the next three games – all lost by Traktor – Pilut only had a helper in game three, but he managed to stay on an even differential and had seven shots on goal in game four, which Traktor lost 0:6. For his efforts, Pilut was awarded best defenseman honors for the round.
F, Metallurg, 5 GP, 5 (3+2) points, -1
Fellow Canadians Leipsic and Philippe Maillet were among the best players for Magnitka in the Eastern conference finals as both had a pivotal role in Metallurg’s offense in the series. Leipsic was instrumental for Magnitogorsk when it mattered more – in game four’s triumph, he posted a double and an assist as Metallurg thumped Traktor with a 6:0 score. Interestingly enough, it was the game where Leipsic had the fewest time on ice in the whole series as he only logged 14 minutes and 33 seconds. In the Gagarin Cup finals, Leipsic will face his former team CSKA Moscow, where he played last year before being moved to the Urals. The forward will thus play in his second straight grand final.
G, Traktor, 5 GP, 1 W, 89,31%, 3,47 GAA
Don’t be fooled by the stats – Will had an excellent series against Metallurg, with the numbers being inflated by game four’s heavy loss (0:6). In particular, Will had a strong showing in game five, stopping 31 Metallurg attempts and surrendering at only fifteen seconds from the final hooter after a ricochet on a blue-line shot by Grigory Dronov. Will gave a chance to Traktor in the series, but Magnitogorsk was just too good for them to gain access to the Gagarin Cup finals. Speaking about big-time performance, Will also stopped 37 shots in game one and 26 in game three. Traktor has now a solid foundation and next year they can return even stronger.
D, CSKA, 7 GP, 0 points, +6
Moving to Moscow, Dietz changed a bit his role – he failed to score in the hard-fought series against SKA, but posted a league-leading plus-6 differential. The series against Metallurg will be the first travel to the Gagarin Cup finals for the veteran defenseman, who only reached the playoffs three times with Barys before this year’s run. Dietz, who will turn 29 in July, posted no negative ratings throughout series and constantly logged more than twenty minutes of time on ice. Undoubtedly, Dietz will be a key part of CSKA’s rearguard in the upcoming grand finals.