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Rybak HoF Article


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LW - Volodymyr Rybak
Birthplace: Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Ukraine
Height:  6'4"
Weight: 219 lbs
Jersey Number: 49
Drafted: S28 CAL (1/1)
Username: Rybak_49
Merely looking at his collection of accolades is not enough to give one a sense of just how prolific Volodymyr Rybak was. Spending his entire career in Calgary, he only ever managed to achieve 4 individual accolades, which makes his awards section look at little bare. What people need to remember is that he played at a time where we've seen some of the greatest VHL forwards and goaltenders alike pass through the league. The fact remains that there are still only a select few individuals who managed to out-produce him, and even fewer on a basis as consistent as Rybak. His place in the VHL Hall of Fame should not be overlooked. 
Career Awards:
Season 30 - Continental Cup (Calgary)
Season 31 - Victory Cup (Calgary)
Season 31 - Scotty Campbell Trophy
Season 31 - Mike Szatkowski Trophy 
Season 31 - Kevin Brooks Trophy
Season 34 - Devon Marlow Marta Trophy (Calgary)
Season 35 - Scott Boulet Trophy 
Season 28 Statistics
Regular Season:
S28 (CAL) - 72GP / 44G / 43A / 87P / +20 / 28PIM / 63H / 424S / 11SB / 3GWG
S28 (CAL) - 7GP / 5G / 5A / 10P / +2 / 0PIM / 8HIT / 34S / 0SB / 1GWG
To say this was a solid start to his career would be a whelming understatement. Finishing the season with 87 points, one would think it is ridiculous he did not get the Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy. Netting well over 40 goals in one's rookie season is a dream all players only ever get one shot at. Rybak showed what he could bring to the team, firing a tumultuous 424 shots throughout the season (roughly 6 shots per game). However, despite his success, he still finished 3rd in the race for top scoring rookies, as Ying Qin and Shane Lynch on the rebuilding Davos team connected to collect 96 and 105 points, respectively. As inflated as the offensive stats were that season due to 4 teams being in the early stages of a rebuild,  Shane Lynch had to share his Top Rookie trophy with Toronto Legion goaltender Alexander Labatte, who posted a .921SV% with 2.60 GA. This was a very dynamic year in the VHL and Rybak helped Calgary solidify their place in the playoffs as the third team from the North American Conference. They had a hard-fought, seven-game series against Seattle Bears but lost heart-breakingly to the Victory Cup winners 2-1 in the final game. It should be noted that Rybak, who had the second most points for Calgary in that series, was also the only player on the team to finish with a +/- ratings in the positives. 
Season 29 Statistics:
Regular Season:
S29 (CAL) - 72GP / 27G / 21A / 48P / -9 / 10PIM / 21HIT / 336S / 15SB / 5GWG
After the success of his previous season, one can conclusively conclude that this was a clear-cut case of the sophomore slump. To be fair, it was largely due to the change in circumstances than anything else. The Wranglers were in full rebuild mode and finished dead last in North America, although with a highly respectable 78 points.  Rybak, after showing his coaches that he could be a leader on the team, was paired with two rookies, Clark Marcellin and enforcer Dave Mustaine, and a defensive pairing with 3 VHL years between them. The young line was exposed for most of the season as the coaches relied on Chershenko and Boomchenko to provide most of the offense on the top line, with rookie Ryan Sullivan cashing in from the two. Still, Rybak led the way for his linemates, having the most points and best +/- rating, barring Klaus Muller.
Season 30 Statistics:
Regular Season:
S30 (CAL) - 72GP / 44G / 44A / 88P / +35 / 55PIM / 162HIT / 428S / 17SB / 6GWG
S30 (CAL) - 11GP / 6G / 11A / 17P / +10 / 4PIM / 24H / 57S / 4SB / 2GWG
This was a real bounce-back year for Rybak. Still playing on the second line, he managed to out-score everyone on his team. The acquisition of Leeroy Jenkins from Helsinki half-way through the season didn't hurt his cause, but he was consistent through much of the season regardless. This was the season he stamped his foot on the Wrangler organization and showed them that they had a franchise player on their hands. With his help, they managed to get into the playoffs with 96 points, despite finishing 3rd in North America again (In fact, the Legion, who finished fourth in NA, had 91 points, compared with Vasteras, who finished second in Europe with 48). 
The Wranglers faced-off against the best team in Europe, Davos, who were on the verge of a dynasty. Die nasty, they did. Calgary dismantled them in four games and moved on to the finals to meet up with Seattle once again. The series went all the way to seven games and despite Seattle's heavy offensive line-up, Calgary shut them down, beating them 2-0. Rybak added an apple on the insurance goal in the second period. It was an unexpected name placed upon the Continental Cup that year but no one on Calgary would have seen it cast differently. 
Season 31 Statistics:
Regular Season:
S31 (CAL) -  72GP / 66G / 81A / 147P /  +74 / 111PIM / 225H / 570S / 31SB / 10GWG
S31 (CAL) - 5GP / 4G / 1A / 5P / -2 / 11PIM / 17HIT / 30S / 3SB / 0GWG
Calgary was the undisputed team of the year this season and it was for many of the players, their favourite season in memory. Calgary finished the season with just 8 regulation losses and 123 points. They collected a whopping 307 goals throughout the season, which, put into perspective, is an average of 4.3 goals per game.  Rybak was phenomenal, not only collecting the Brooks Trophy for the most points, but also shared the Mike Szatkowski Trophy for most goals with 66 and was awarded the Scotty Campbell Trophy as the VHL's most outstanding player. He also started to show his physical side, laying out 225 hits over the course of the season. His versatility became a big factor and he would continue to hone his skills as a two-way forward. 
It looked like Calgary were headed for consecutive cups. Since it was the first year of expansion, Calgary were awarded a bye into the second round where they met New York.  Ultimately, New York played Calgary's offense very well by shutting them down in 5 games. Benjamin Glover, Daniel Braxton, Shane Lynch and Damon Wolfe were remarkably effective and other than game three where Calgary netted 7 in their only win of the series, they held them to just 5 goals. Rybak was completely negated in the series, finishing with only 5 points and the only player on Calgary with a minus rating. After the success of their brilliant regular season, this was a humbling defeat. 
Season 32 Statistics
Regular Season:
S32 (CAL) - 72GP / 51G / 77A / 128P / +64 / 26PIM / 58HIT / 523S / 28SB / 10GWG
S32 (CAL) - 5GP / 5G / 3A / 8P / +3 / 6PIM / 3HIT / 34S / 4SB / 0GWG
Some highly amusing changes took place in the off-season. Calgary shipped off Alex Chershenko, their superstar, and acquired Shane Lynch as a piece from the trade and signed Damon Wolfe from free agency. They had taken two of the three reasons they lost to New York last season in hopes of solidifying their defense. This was a bold movement of confidence from GM Glasser, a move that showed he believed Rybak could lead this team to continued success. Rybak didn't disappoint, having another +100 point season, toping his team scoring by 28 points and finishing with the best plus/minus rating. Calgary ended atop the Conference again, finishing with 106 points, 4 points ahead of rivals New York and interestingly with the exact same goal difference of 101. Rybak did not win any individual awards, as he was stuck behind three of his fellow Hall of Famers in scoring (Rafter, Chershenko, and Smalling). However, his hard work was good enough to provide Calgary with another bye into the Conference Finals.  It was written in the stars that they would have a re-match with New York. During game 5, with Calgary in a 3-1 series deficit, Rybak scored early and added another in the 3rd, giving Calgary a two-goal lead. Somehow, the Americans came back with three unanswered goals to win and took the series in 5 once again. Another disheartening end to an otherwise great season for Rybak and the Wranglers.
Season 33 Statistics
Regular Season: 
S33 (CAL) - 72GP / 50G / 78A / 128P / +55 / 36PIM / 113HIT / 547S / 68SB / 6GWG
S33 (CAL) - 13GP / 4G / 8A / 12P/ +6 / 37PIM / 25HIT / 84S / 7SB / 0GWG
In attempts to remain competitive for the Cup, the management brought in two veteran players in Felix Zamora and Jarvis Baldwin, the eventual Brooks and Szatkowski winner. Rybak, Marcellin, and Baldwin made one of the most dominant lines in the VHL and earned  128, 126, 138 points each, respectively. For the third consecutive season, Rybak managed to reach the 50-goal mark. They cruised into the playoffs behind New York with 103 points and disposed of the Toronto Legion in six games to meet New York for the third straight year in the Conference Finals. Calgary pushed it to a seventh game and it went all the way to OT where, much to the chagrin of Calgary fans, former Wrangler Nikolai Chershenko slapped a beauty past Rift to move on to the finals. Once again, a great personal and team regular season  for Rybak that ends up crashing to a halt in New York.
Season 34 Statistics:
Regular Season: 
S34 (CAL) - 72GP / 52G / 69A / 121P / +68 / 87PIM / 173HIT / 484S / 57SB / 7GWG
S34 (CAL) - 21GP / 10G / 21A / 31P / +1 / 42PIM / 54HIT / 129S / 31SB / 2GWG
With Baldwin retired, the GM needed to replace the lost offensive production and he did this by re-acquiring Alexander Chershenko, much to the delight of the Calgary faithful. This would mean yet another 50-goal season for Rybak, who finished second in the league in points, only behind linemate Chershenko. They would finish behind Quebec City with 106 points and have to face their kryptonite, the Americans in the first round of the playoffs. As anticipated, it was a gruelling, hard-hitting series that went 7 games once more. After blowing a 2-goal lead again, sending the game to OT, Larsson scored on the powerplay to finally get past New York and move on to Quebec. This was another series that went all the way to game seven, with Calgary getting the edge over the Meute. They were finally back in the finals, where they had to face Victory Cup winners Helsinki. Calgary quickly jumped out to a 2-0 series lead but let it slip and Helsinki forced a game seven. Trailing 1-0 heading into the third, Chershenko tied it up on the powerplay, forcing overtime. 12 seconds before the end of the first OT period, Helsinki struck a dagger into the hearts of the Wranglers by scoring and winning the Cup. One can't come closer to winning than that and despite being highly praised for this continued success, this loss hurt more than any, for no team can stay competitive forever.
Season 35 Statistics:
Regular Season:
S35 (CAL) - 72GP / 64G / 73A / 137P / +62 / 94PIM / 260HIT / 509S / 65SB / 9GWG
S35 (CAL) - 14GP / 6G / 5A / 11P / -6 / 33PIM / 49HIT / 80S / 15SB / 0GWG
With Chershenko retired and Rift leaving for Quebec, if they wanted to stay competitive, Calgary needed to replace the scorer and goaltender. Glasser went to New York to negotiate a deal that would bring in franchise goaltender Alexander Labatte for his first and second pick in the Season 37 draft. He then signed Mike Wozniak from free agency to replace Chershenko. The team was divisively thinner but the hope was that Labatte could make up for the defensive liabilities. The top line was the most productive in the league and had little competition now they the Season 27 forwards were all retired. Calgary dominated the leaderboards, having 3 players in the top 4 in scoring and 5 in the top 6 for assists. Rybak still stood in the shadow of another as Wozniak had a blazing 72 goals and 154 points, which topped Rybak's highly impressive 64-goal, 137-point season.  The Wranglers met the Legion in the playoffs and won in seven games. They when on to meet Quebec City and took the series to their sixth consecutive seven-game series but fell 3-1 in the ultimate game. 
For his physical play and scoring prowess, Rybak was awarded the Scott Boulet trophy. This was Rybak's 5th straight season where he accumulated over 100 points and was already considered by most to be one of Calgary's all-time greats. He headed into the off-season with his head held high but knew his days in Calgary were finished. He announced his retirement the next week. 
Career Totals:
Regular Season:
576GP / 398G / 443A / 841P / +369 / 447PIM / 1075HIT / 3821S / 292SB / 53GWG
76GP / 40G / 60A / 100P / +14 / 133PIM / 180H / 448S / 64SB / 5GWG

Not many players have spent their entire careers in one city, especially when they have  the exceptional talent that Rybak had. He was the center of the team for 6 of his 8-year career and without his talent, Calgary would never have been able to compete for as long as they did. Despite him only winning one Cup, Rybak will forever be remembered as a Calgary legend and one of the most consistently productive forwards in the VHL. Rybak can now step out from the shadows of other forwards and let the sun shine down solely on his place in the VHL Hall of Fame. 

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