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VSN Presents: VHL's All-Decade Team: S21-S30


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More great VSN Content:

VHL's All-Decade Team S1-S10 | S11-S20 | S83 All-Star and Prospects Games | TPE Max Earners #23-#25 | VHL Season Update | VHLM Illustrated 2nd Edition

 

 

Welcome to Part 3 of our presentation of the VHL’s All-Decade Teams where we name the most impactful players in each of the league’s eight 10-season periods. As we’ve tried to gage each player’s value in each decade, slight preference has been given to careers played in the majority of one decade but others may have left an indelible mark on their comrades and the history books in just a few seasons. The VHL’s third decade would feature some firsts: the first goalie to win regular season MVP (and three more netminders would follow suit), the first and only three-time Playoff MVP, the first and only four-time winner of the Top Goaltender, the first (and one of eventually two) five-time Cup Champion, as well as the highest goal total since S6. There was also relative parity in the league as four teams won the Continental Cup twice and the New York Americans became the poster team for “close but no cigar” as they lost in the Cup Finals four seasons in a row.

 

VSN thanks the long-time members of the league that voted on the more contested inclusions:  

@Kendrick @JardyB10 @sterling @Frank @Advantage @scoop @Victor @STZ @Beketov @Baozi @BOOM @DollarAndADream @CowboyinAmerica @diamond_ace @Phil @Banackock @Mr_Hatter

 

VSN Presents: The VHL’s All-Decade Teams:

S21-S30

 

Forwards

 

Leeroy Jenkins, S23-S30 @Squinty

GP: 576  PTS: 815, HOF

What Jenkins accomplished in the span of the decade that contained his career has only been matched by a few. He was the leading point-getter of the era finishing with 815 points, 9th all-time at his retirement. He was the first and one of two players ever to win five Continental Cups (with four different teams, no less), four Boulet Trophies, a Campbell Trophy, and led the VHL in goals twice and points and assists once.

 

Pavel Koradek, S21-S28 @Koradek

GP: 510  PTS: 640, HOF

Despite a slow start to his career, a trade to Helsinki sparked Koradek into the league’s premier goal-scorer from S25-S28. No one scored more than his 240 goals during the last four seasons of his career and he became the fifth and last player to score 60 or more goals in three separate and/or consecutive seasons. In S25 he led the VHL in goals and points and won the Campbell and Slobodzian Trophies even though the Titans missed the playoffs.

 

Evgeni Fyodorov, S22-S28 @fyo

GP: 504  PTS: 705

Undoubtedly one of the most consistent scorers in VHL history, the S22 Rookie of the Year led the decade with an impressive 346 goals in only seven seasons, 13th all-time at the end of his career and a spot he would have kept if he had scored at the same rate for one more season. Despite scoring at least 43 goals and 85 points every season (with four different teams), he only co-led the league in goals once with 66 in S26, but also won two Continental Cups with Calgary and Davos.

 

Tukka Reikkinen, S25-S30 @.sniffuM

GP: 432  PTS: 598, HOF

The one player to lead the league in points twice during the decade, only Jenkins won more awards than Reikkinen’s eight although all his awards were won during two spectacular seasons. In S27, the Finn scored a historic 78 goals and 152 points, leading the league in both categories and winning the Most Improved Player but Vasteras would miss the playoffs after winning the Cup the season before. S30 would be his most successful season individually again leading the league in goals (58) and points (124), winning the Campbell and Slobodzian Trophies and setting the league record for hits in a season with 430 which would garner him the Boulet Trophy as well. That record would stand for 19 seasons.   

 

Phil Gerrard, S21-S26 @Phil

GP: 432  PTS: 588, HOF

As consistent as they come, Gerrard failed to reach 40 goals only once and 85 points once during the decade. He won Most Gentlemanly in S21 and Top Leader in S22 before finally breaking out statistically for 122 points in S24. That season he led the league in assists (73), won the Campbell and Slobodzian Trophies and Most Improved Player. He finished his career leading Vasteras to their first (and his only) Continental Cup since the VHL’s inaugural season and won the Playoff MVP with 15 points in 10 games.

 

Anton Brekker, S21-S25 @DGFX.

GP: 360  PTS: 551, HOF

The “Swedish Gretzky” did a lot of scoring and winning in the first half of this decade to finish his career. Five straight 40-goal, 100-point seasons, two World Cup Gold medals (S22, S24), and the S22 MVP, along with five straight playoff appearances, five series wins, eight playoff game-winning goals, and consecutive Continental Cups with Davos in S24 and S25.

 

Mathias Chouinard, S21-S25 @Spangle

GP: 362  PTS: 532, HOF

One of the biggest draft steals in VHL history, Chouinard wasn’t selected until 20th Overall in the S18 draft but quickly showed his worth. He led the league in scoring in S24 with 124 points, one of three 100-points seasons in his career. He was named a VHL All-Star in each year of the decade, was one of only four players to win the Continental Cup three times in the decade, won the playoff MVP in S23, and won two World Cup Gold medals (S22, S24).

 

Tarik Saeijs, S21-S25 @frescoelmo

GP: 360  PTS: 521, HOF

Known as one of the most supremely gifted players ever to grace a VHL ice surface, Tarik Saeijs hit over 100 points three times in the first half of the decade, including in S23 when he led the league in scoring for the second time with 126 points (he had 157 point in S20) winning the Campbell and Slobodzian Trophies and Most Improved Player. He was also a clutch performer in the regular season with 53 game-winning goals in five seasons (second-most in the decade), leading league in S21 and S22. Alas, playoff success did not follow as he failed to win a championship during his storied career.

 

Lars Berger, S21-S24 @Victor

GP: 288  PTS: 440, HOF

There were few players more consistently great than Lars Berger. Although he was rarely the best in any offensive category, aside from leading the VHL in assists in S22, it was his two-way play that defined him. Always among the top scorers and hitters, his dominance in the face-off circle, where he would lead the league in winning percentage from S21-S24, is what elevated him to become the first single winner (no co-wins) of three straight Boulet Trophies (S22-S24) in league history. He also helped Toronto win the S21 Continental Cup and won World Cup Gold in S22 and S24.

 

Cam Fowler, S21-S24 @CoachReilly

GP: 288  PTS: 445, HOF

Fowler made quite the impact at the beginning of decade, finishing his last four seasons in style. To go along with four consecutive 100-point campaigns and four trips to the playoffs, he scored 50+ goals three times, won the decade’s first Boulet Trophy after leading the league in hits in S21, and shared the title of Top Leader in S22 and won it again in S23. His greatest achievement though, was producing the league’s finest playoff performance since S5, helping the Titans win the Cup in S22, leading the VHL with 11 goals in 13 games, including three game-winners, and winning the playoff MVP for his efforts.

 

Felix Peters, S24-S30 @gregreg

GP: 504  PTS: 649, HOF

The fourth highest scorer in the decade (even with his best season being in S31), Peters was a steady contributor for a rebuilding Seattle Bears squad. After his rookie season in S24, he never managed less than 33 goals, 81 points, and 7 game-winning goals in a season, hitting the 100-point mark three times. He was more than a point-per-game producer in the playoffs (49 points in 45 games) in which the Bears reached the finals twice and won the Cup in S28 where Peters shared MVP honors with teammate CAL G.  

 

Ansgar Snijider, S25-S30 @Kyle

GP: 432  PTS: 543, HOF

The first overall pick in the S25 Draft was a gifted player who didn’t shy away from the physical side of the game. He won the S26 Most Improved Player after a 72-point increase from his rookie season as he scored 53 goals and 107 points, the first of four 100-point seasons in the decade. While he never won a championship, he was a respected leader who won the Grimm Jonsson Trophy in consecutive years (S29-S30).

 

Defensemen

 

Japinder Singh, S21-S27 @8Ovechkin8

GP: 504  PTS: 638, HOF

One of the best offensive blueliners ever to grace the VHL, Singh was the leading playmaker in the decade amassing 498 and ending up with the second-most in VHL history behind only Scotty Campbell. He was also the highest-scoring rearguard with 638 points in the span, only dipping below 87 points once, and retired as the second-leading scorer among defensemen where he still sits behind Sterling Labatte. Despite his production, Singh was only awarded a single individual trophy – for leading the league with 73 assists in S23. He would make up for it though with three Continental Cups – S24 and S25 with Davos and S27 with Helsinki.

 

Mitch Higgins, S24-S30 @Higgins

GP: 503  PTS: 600, HOF

In a bizarre bookend to an astounding career, Higgins was traded twice in his rookie season and once in his final season but spent most of his time in Seattle. After scoring 60 points in S24, he shared the ROY award with another future HOFer, Benjamin Glover. A premier two-way talent and tireless worker, the Canadian defenseman never scored less than 18 goals and 76 points in a season the rest of his career with his best season coming in S28 where he set career-highs of 30-81-111, captained the Bears to the Victory Cup and the Continental Cup, led all VHL defensemen in scoring and co-led the league in assists and power play goals. Despite losing the Labatte Trophy to Daniel Braxton, Higgins did win the Jonsson Trophy as Top Leader.

 

Daniel Braxton, S24-S30 @Jericho

GP: 504  PTS: 584, HOF

One of the top VHL defensemen of all-time, Braxton’s stats and trophy case definitely support this statement. He dominated the decade with two 100-point seasons and twice scored over 30 goals. He became the first defenseman, and still only one of two, to win four Labatte Trophies from S27-S30, he is the only defenseman to win two Slobodzian Trophies and he added a Jonsson Trophy as well. As one of the top playoff scorers of the decade, he never missed the post-season and led all defensemen with 51 playoff points. Infamously, the only thing missing from his resume is a Continental Cup.

 

David Walcott, S21-S26 @Knight

GP: 432  PTS: 536, HOF

Walcott anchored a Toronto Legion team that reached the Cup Finals three times in the first four seasons of the decade, winning his only Continental Cup in S21. He had his best season though after signing with Helsinki for his final year and in S26 produced 145 points (34 G, 111 A) – still a record for VHL defensemen! His brilliance would garner him the first and only individual awards of his career, winning the Slobodzian (Player voted MVP), Beketov (Most Assists) and Labatte (Top Defenseman) Trophies to cap off a Hall of Fame career.

 

Adam Schultz, S21-S26 @Frank

GP: 432  PTS: 528, HOF

Schultz only spent six seasons in the VHL but his career was highlighted with enough fantastic moments to eventually be inducted into the VHL Hall of Fame. Surprisingly, Schultz was one only three defensemen to win two Labatte Trophies this decade (Braxton, Terragni), both times he led all defensemen scoring with totals of 36-61-97 ((S23) and 33-77-110 (S25). He also won a Cup in S22 with Helsinki and is one of six members on this list to play on both of Davos’ consecutive Cup winning teams in S24-S25.

 

James Bencharski, S21-S26 @sterling

GP: 432  PTS: 495, HOF

Never a particularly flashy player, Bencharski instead carved out his HOF career by being excellent defensively and a sublime passer. After a Cup win with Toronto in S21, he won the Labatte Trophy and the Funk Trophy (Most Improved) in S22 in which he scored 89 points – a 29-point increase from the previous season. Bencharski piled up over 70 assists three times in the decade, including 81 in S25 which led the league. The S19 1st overall pick would win the Jonsson Trophy as Top Leader in his final season in S26 to go along with his second Cup with Vasteras.

 

Goaltenders

Four HOF goaltenders played significant roles in this decade but the voters favored for the two who had so much impact that awards were named after both of them.

 

Aidan Shaw, S21-S25 @Ree_21

W: 236  SV%: 0.925, HOF

The reason Shaw’s name graces the Top Goaltender Trophy is because he won it an unprecedented four times (three in this decade). An instant superstar that played for Toronto his entire career, Shaw posted three seasons of sub-2.00 GAA and better than 0.930 SV% during the decade. He led the legion into the playoffs every season, winning one Cup in S21 (and playoff MVP) and reaching the Finals two other times. He would also win the S22 Slobodzian Trophy and finish his career and the VHL’s all-time leader in GAA and shutouts.  

 

Daisuke Kanou, S21-S25 @Baozi

W: 223  SV%: 0.923, HOF

Similarly to his Toronto rival, Kanou played his whole career for Davos. While he didn’t sport such gaudy numbers as Shaw, the Toyko-born puckstopper won Continental Cups in S24 and S25 and each time won the Howe Trophy as Playoff MVP giving him three for his career, the only player in history to do so (until Rayz Funk in S71) hence why the Trophy was renamed after him. Kanou also won the Campbell and Slobodzian Trophies in S21 and shared the Top Goaltender Trophy with Shaw in S24.

 

We hope you enjoyed this breakdown of the S21-S30 All-Decade Team. The series will continue soon with the S31-S40 All-Decade Team.

 

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8 hours ago, Baozi said:

I miss Ree

Don’t worry, he obviously reincarnated into @Rayzor_7. Ray Funk is far too uncommon of a name to be explained in any other way.

 

In other news, I think I was an outlier on a high percentage of the spares that got in 😅. But I don’t actually remember.

 

Also, @scoop low key got robbed. Glover was realistically, by definition, the best goalie of this decade. Though at the same time it’s difficult to vote against the nerds who got the trophies named after them.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, JardyB10 said:

Glover was realistically, by definition, the best goalie of this decade. Though at the same time it’s difficult to vote against the nerds who got the trophies named after them.

All four HOF goalies from that decade (Shaw, Kanou, Glover, CAL G) had similar numbers. Glover played more games during that decade and thus had more wins and shutouts but Shaw and Kanou had slightly more hardware. To be fair, I messed up Glover's numbers initially on the voting form but the way the votes were overwhelmingly in favor of Kanou and Shaw, I don't think it would have made a difference in the eventual outcome. 

Edited by animal74
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  • Head Moderator
8 hours ago, Kendrick said:

I can tell you he is doing well!

 

Are you ever going to come on discord so we can like catch up again? Also I'm going to be in vancouver in June if you care to meetup :)

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On 5/10/2022 at 12:06 AM, Baozi said:

 

Are you ever going to come on discord so we can like catch up again? Also I'm going to be in vancouver in June if you care to meetup :)

All these alias' I actually don't know who anyone is. I can go on discord whenever just I don't often venture there haha

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Posted (edited)
10 minutes ago, Kendrick said:

All these alias' I actually don't know who anyone is. I can go on discord whenever just I don't often venture there haha

 

Its Fong :D I just stopped using my real last name recently lol. But most people still know its me. Just for future as I phase out that name.

Edited by Baozi
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On 5/11/2022 at 4:33 PM, Baozi said:

 

Its Fong :D I just stopped using my real last name recently lol. But most people still know its me. Just for future as I phase out that name.

Can I just call you T-Swift?

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On 5/13/2022 at 3:42 PM, Baozi said:

 

I dont have her legs.

Somehow I doubt you don't. You been working on your fitness

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