Sergei Shirokov built up confidence in the AHL

After a 41-point season in 56 games with CSKA Moscow of the Kontinental Hockey League in 2008-09, Shirokov came to North America’s West Coast to chase his NHL dream.

But in six scoreless games with Vancouver last season, he looked small, he was pushed around easily and it just didn’t look like he belonged at that level. Shirokov was moved inland to the AHL?in Manitoba where he could acclimate himself to the different style of game and, after a little more than a year later, he’s back up with Vancouver as the Moose’s top scorer.

“With time in the league you get more confident and you can see he has got a lot more confident,” said an opposing AHL defenceman who shares a conference with Manitoba. “He’s, I’d say, one of the top-10 players in the league right now. He’s just a very skilled player you have to be aware of at all times.”

Shirokov posted 22 goals and 45 points in 76 AHL games last season, but has improved on that pace this year. With 16 goals and 33 points in 39 games, Shirokov is a big reason why the Moose sit second in the North Division, an improvement of two positions over last season.

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