Draft Value: Sergei Zubov Best Return On Investment For NHL Defensemen

Defensive Value Over Two Decades
Alvin Change NHL Draft Blog, ESPN June 10, 2010

1. Sergei Zubov, New York Rangers

1990, Round 5, No. 85 overall
Expected: 0.125 points per game
Actual: 0.722
Difference: 0.597

In the 1990 draft, only seven European players were taken in the first four rounds of the draft. In the fifth round, the floodgates opened with four Europeans in that round — the first of which was Zubov. The Rangers took a chance on Zubov and fellow Soviet player Sergei Nemochinov, despite getting limited looks at them. After the draft, Rangers coach Roger Neilson told the Toronto Star, “I have never coached a Soviet player so I have no feeling either way about them. I don’t see how they can be any different than Swedes or Czechs.” For the next two years, the Rangers wouldn’t get many chances to watch Zubov in Russia but, in 1992, he came over to North America. The following year, Zubov made it to the NHL to play for Neilson. But after less than 10 games, Neilson was fired. Of players drafted in the last 20 years, Zubov is No. 1 in scoring with 771 points. He played in the KHL last season.

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