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The Top 75 VHL Players (S75): #75-51

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The VSN writing staff knew we wanted to do something special for the VHL’s 75th season. Not since S64 when league historian @Victor ranked the VHL’s past and present stars in a series of Top-10 articles had a large scale ranking of the league’s best ever players been compiled and VSN felt it was time. Over the past few months, an expert panel of members whose experience ranges almost the entirety of the VHL's existence set out to rank the top 75 players in league history regardless of position. Each panelist submitted a ranking of their top players and then an average ranking was devised to complete the final ranking of which you will see over the next few VSN releases. The one rule was that the player must have retired before S75 so that we could compare whole careers. Then, VSN’s crack team of writers provided short accounts lauding each player’s achievements and why they deserve to be in our list of Top 75 VHL players. This has been a labor of love and leg-work. 


Before we get to the first installment of the VSN’s Top 75 for S75 (75-51), we’d like to acknowledge our contributors who have put in countless hours planning, discussing, researching, spreadsheeting, and writing!


@Advantage - S17-Present. BOG, Correspondent for Board of Governors, VSN Contributor
@animal74 - S5-S12, S67-Present. VSN History writer
@Doomsday - S32-S45, S69-Present. VSN History Writer, Saskatoon Wild GM, BOG
@Patrik Tallinder - S68-Present. Calgary AGM, VSN Contributor
@tcookie - S74-Present. VSN writer
@Victor - S10-Present. Moscow GM, Financier, Keeper of Trivia and HOF


@Advantage, @animal74, @Doomsday, @fromtheinside, @McWolf, @PatrikLaine, @tcookie




@Mr_Hatter, @animal74



Honorable Mentions:
These players each received 1-3 rankings by the panelists in the Top 75 but didn’t quite make the cut.


Alexander Beketov, F, S6-S12 @Beketov
Theo Axelsson, F, S50-S57 @solas
Edwin Reencarnacion, F, S44-S50 @Tagger
Sebastian Ironside, F, S61-S68 @DollarAndADream
Jake Wylde, D, S38-S45 @STZ
Josh Vestiquan, F, S6-S13 @v2
Mats Johnsson, D, S57-S64 @Quik
Hulk Hogan, D, S67-S74 @TXC
Ansgar Snijider, F, S25-S32 @Kyle
Patrice Reynaud, D, S3-S9 @mikek_02
Carl Jacobs, F, S11-S18 @bobbylu


And now, a VSN Special Presentation, to celebrate 75 seasons in the VHL, here are the Top 75 VHL Players, #75-51



Toronto Legion legend Alex Gegeny ranks #57

#75 - Rayz Funk, G, S67-S74, (SEA, DAV) @Rayzor_7
GP 522 | W 294 | L 179 | OTL 40 | SV% 0.917 | GAA 2.56 | SO 36
Cups: S68, S69, S71, S73 Seattle


Rayz Funk is a familiar name to all of us and will be one for the record books for quite some time. Rayz was the face of the Seattle Bears for seven seasons that saw the team win four Continental Cups and Funk win an outstanding four Daisuke Kanou Trophies, which is awarded to the Playoff MVP. How special is winning four Kanou Trophies?  Only two players (Sterling Labatte and Daisuke Kanou) have won the award three times, while Funk was the first to ever win it that fourth time. Kanou was a regular in the top five of pretty much every statistical category with six Top-5 finishes in Wins, five in GAA, six in Save Percentage and four in Shutouts. In three of Funk's four Continental Cup victories, he would record at least a .935 save percentage, which means he had three of the greatest postseason runs in VHL history. Rayz finished his career with 294 wins, a 2.56 GAA and a .917 SV%, but it will be his playoff excellence that will be his legacy as a future Hall of Fame talent and a definite Top 75 Player of All-Time.


#74 - Matt Defosse, LW/D, S1-S8, (STO, VAS, SEA, HSK, AVG) @Cowboy
GP 546 | G 343 | A 454 | PT 797 | +398 | SHT 3810 | PIM 986 
Cups: S4 Seattle, S6 Helsinki


Matt Defosse, along with a few others who will end up on this list, would have stood out a lot more if Scotty Campbell never existed. Defosse was an original who signed with Stockholm in Season 1 before being selected 8th overall in the Season 2 Draft. Defosse's claim to fame is his three Alex Delvecchio Trophies (later renamed Scott Boulet Trophy) which is awarded to the best two-way player in the VHL. Defosse was a tremendous offensive talent as well though, recording 343 goals and 797 points in 546 games. He finished with 673 hits which was actually quite strong for the era and was even a solid playoff contributor as well. Season 3 was especially an outstanding one for Defosse as he recorded 64 goals and 124 points and was also named top two-way forward for his +67 and 110 hits. Defosse's legacy may not stand out when compared to someone like Scotty Campbell or Brett Slobodzian, but his performances over his career should not get overlooked whatsoever, especially with how well he did as a two-way player amongst defensive greats like Scott Boulet.  


#73 - Fredinamijs Krigars, C, S54-S60, (RIG) @hedgehog337
GP 504 | G 332 | A 406 | PT 738 | +208 | SHT 3752 | GWG 52 
Cups: S57, S58 Riga


One of only nine players to lead the league in scoring in back-to-back seasons, Fredinamijs Krigars was the premier playmaker of his time. No one scored more points (492) or assists (283) then the S56 Most Improved Player from S56-S59. The native Latvian’s trophy case got a boost when John Locke joined the Reign from S57-S59 as Riga won two consecutive Continental Cups, coinciding with two Mike Szatkowski Trophies (leading scorer), a S57 Brett Slobodzian Trophy (Most Outstanding Player) and a S58 Alexander Beketov Trophy (most assists) for Krigars. In S57, he crafted one of the top-25 seasons in VHL history with 66 goals and 81 assists for 147 points. Krigars finished his distinguished career with five straight 100-point seasons and as one of Riga’s greatest players of all-time.



Riga's dynamic duo of Fredinamijs Krigars (#73) and John Locke (#58)

#72 - Lincoln Tate, D, S67-S74, (RIG) @Tate
GP 576 | G 98 | A 410 | PT 508 | +125 | HIT 835 | SB 940 
Cups: S72 Riga


The recently retired Lincoln Tate was the Riga Reign’s franchise player for his entire career. He was surprisingly taken first overall in Season 67, despite not being rated in the top five by most analysts. However, Lincoln would prove Riga right with their pick over the long haul. Tate combined a talented offensive game with a very complete and physical defensive one that saw him win two Sterling Labatte Trophies (Top Defenseman), two Jake Wylde Trophies (Top Defensive Defenseman) and two Alexander Beketov Trophies (league leader in assists). Tate was in a constant rivalry with some other incredible future Hall of Fame talents like Condor Adrienne, Smitty Werbenjagermanjensen and Hulk Hogan, which makes his era arguably the deepest in league history. Season 72 would see Tate's only Continental Cup win, but he played a significant role in it.  While Greg Eagles would take home the Kanou Trophy, Tate was certainly in the running with 17 points, 27 hits and 17 blocked shots in 13 games. He was key for them and as he was throughout his entire career with Riga, the heartbeat of the franchise. While Tate's below average points-per-game may not stand out next to some of the defensemen from other eras, his defensive play and physicality mixed with his elite offensive numbers for the era he played in, make him not only a future Hall of Fame player, but a very deserved Top-75 Player of All-Time.



#71 - Sandro Clegane, G, S46-S52, (COL, SEA, DAV, RIG) @JardyB10
GP 447 | W 279 | L 137 | OTL 31 | SV% 0.923 | GAA 2.04 | SO 74
Cup: S51 Riga


Sandro Clegane was one-half of the greatest brother duo in league history. While Greg Clegane ultimately received more accolades for his incredible career, Sandro was pretty impressive himself. Sandro finished his career with 279 wins, 2.04 GAA and a .923 SV% to go along with an earth shattering 74 shutouts. A lot of those shutouts came from his record breaking Season 51 with Riga, that will go down as one of the greatest seasons in goaltending history.  Clegane finished the season with a 48-10-3 record, 1.40 GAA, .931 save percentage and 22 shutouts, which is still a VHL record. Sandro would win one of three Aidan Shaw Trophies that season and he would win his one and only Scotty Campbell Trophy that season as League MVP. In addition to all of his tremendous regular season accomplishments, his playoff performances were legendary as well including Season 51 that saw him win the Clegane Bowl against his brother and Toronto in a heroic Game 7. Sandro would record a .931 save percentage during that run and had several other terrific playoff performances throughout his career as well. He was a truly amazing goaltender who unfortunately gets overshadowed due to his brother’s practically unparalleled career. However, as some point out, Sandro Clegane won the Clegane Bowl in the end.



#70 - Markus Strauss, C, S17-S23, (SEA, DAV) @gregreg
GP 504 | G 351 | A 397 | PT 748 | +161 | SHT 2897 | GWG 48 
Cup: S17 Seattle


The German-born Strauss was drafted second overall in S17 and would go on to have a terrific VHL career in which he established himself as one of the most potent snipers in the history of the league. Strauss had a remarkable run of three straight 60-goal, 130-point seasons from S20-S22, during which he captured a pair of Joe Malone Trophies for leading the league in goals, and he was a fixture among the league’s goal-scoring leaders throughout his career. Strauss retired after just seven seasons in the league. His career totals would be even more remarkable if not for a slow rookie year. In the unbelievable six-season stretch that covered his prime, Strauss scored 332 goals and 703 points. He was a six-time VHL All-Star and remains a legend in Seattle.



#69 - Matt Bentley, D, S35-S42, (DAV, QUE, NYA) @Victor
GP 576 | G 130 | A 507 | PT 637 | +288 | HIT 1601 | SB 882 
Cups: S36, S38 Davos, S41 New York


Matt Bentley proved to be a consistent force from the blue line throughout his career, with success following the seven-time All-Star at every stop. An offensive catalyst for the HC Davos Dynamo dynasty that terrorized the European Conference in the latter half of the 30s, Bentley also proved to be equally adept in his own zone, becoming one of the top two-way defensemen of his era. He really came into his own in Season 38, when he took the step from a good player to an elite player, scoring 30 goals and 70 assists for 100 points, along with a +40 rating, 208 hits and 115 blocked shots, a key force for Davos' second Continental Cup victory in the past three seasons. His greatest individual seasons, however, came with the New York Americans, where he scored 100+ points in both seasons he played with them, also winning his third Continental Cup in Season 41 and winning the coveted Sterling Labatte Trophy both seasons. Never missing the playoffs in his career, Matt Bentley was a fierce competitor whom success seemed to follow, and he takes a well-deserved place among the VHL's best at #69 (nice) on our list.




#68 - Joseph McWolf, D, S63-S70, (NYA, RIG, MAL) @McWolf
GP 576 | G 114 | A 433 | PT 547 | PIM 1243 | HIT 1887 | SB 1130 
Cup: None


When Joseph McWolf finished his career, his statistical performances may have seemed mediocre to some. He was one of the first retirees for defenders of the modern low-scoring era, but when you deep-dive into how he compared to the rest of his era, you truly get a picture of how legendary McWolf ended up being. Defensively, we all know McWolf was a stud. He finished his career with 1887 hits and 1130 blocked shots, which helped shape the all-around play that saw him win two Sterling Labatte trophies. Offensively he was better than many realize as well, winning one Alexander Valiq Trophy (Top Offensive Defenseman) and being a mainstay on both the Top 10 in VHL Assists and Top 10 in VHL defenseman scoring. In fact, McWolf would finish in the Top 10 in assists four times but even more impressively, the Top 10 in scoring for defenders an incredible seven times. One of the elite pinnacle players of his era and one of the most consistent talented defenders we have seen in quite some time, McWolf has become a benchmark for other defenders in his era to compare to.



#67 - CAL G, G, S26-S32, (SEA, VAS) @JardyB10
GP 439 | W 303 | L 100 | OTL 34 | SV% 0.926 | GAA 1.88 | SO 68
Cups: S28 Seattle


Despite being created with a gimmick name, what followed would prove to be anything but a joke. As an elite goaltender of his era, the career of CAL G has held the test of time, retiring with the most career shutouts, along with single season records for shutouts and GAA. Despite his name, CAL G never actually suited up for the Calgary Wranglers, playing for the Seattle Bears and Vasteras Iron Eagles. After two dominant seasons in the VHLM with the Saskatoon Wild, CAL G made an immediate impact in the VHL as a rookie, bringing home the Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy as the top rookie. Season 27 saw him ascend to elite status, with a 53-8-4 record, .928 save percentage and 19 shutouts, which somehow didn't result in an Aidan Shaw Trophy. After winning a Continental Cup and a share of the Daisuke Kanou Trophy in Season 28, CAL G finally won the elusive Aidan Shaw Trophy, along with the Scotty Campbell Trophy as VHL MVP in Season 29. Despite only playing 439 games, CAL G still won 303 of them with a career save percentage of .926, cementing him as one of the greats.



#66 - Markus King, G, S54-S61, (COL, RIG, SEA, HSK) @Kendrick
GP 520 | W 313 | L 159 | OTL 34 | SV% 0.924 | GAA 2.11 | SO 74
Cups: S57, S58 Riga


King moved around the league a bit during his eight-season career, but wherever he went, he was a factor between the pipes. He was drafted by Calgary, traded to Cologne before playing a game, then after one season there, traded to Riga where he spent five seasons. Then he played one season each in Seattle and Helsinki to close out his career. Despite often-changing conditions around him, King’s SV% only fell below 0.921 once in his career and almost always hovered between 0.925 and 0.930. A two-time Aidan Shaw Trophy winner and one-time Clegane Trophy winner (he’d have won three if the trophy were around for his entire career), King’s best known for a ridiculous S56-S57 run with Riga where he went 109-12-3 with 24 shutouts over the two seasons, as well as a brilliant playoff run with the S58 Riga squad that saw him post a 0.939 SV% and capture a Kanou Trophy as the Playoff MVP, capping off back-to-back title seasons for the Reign. Among retired goalies, King ranks 9th all-time in wins and 6th all-time in shutouts, despite spending the first two years of his career on rebuilding teams.



#65 - Fabio Jokinen, D, S52-S59, (QUE, SEA, TOR) @jRuutu
GP 576 | G 151 | A 489 | PT 640 | +304 | HT 1354 | SB 741
Cup: S56 Quebec


The slick Finnish defender was one of the best all-around defensemen to play in the VHL. A two-time Labatte Trophy winner (S56, S58) and the inaugural Wylde Trophy winner (S59) could do it all - score, pass, hit, block shots, and even fight. In fact, he led the league in fights and minutes played multiple times. He was as consistent a threat from the blueline as they come, never scoring less than 16 goals in a season and after his rookie season, never totaling less than 70 points. Jokinen was also a dazzling passer as he was in the top-5 in league assists five times and ranks 9th among full-time defensemen with 489 assists. The truest testament to his value though was his five consecutive trips to the Continental Cup Finals (S54-58). Unfortunately, he only claimed the Cup once with Quebec in S56. He still ranks among the top-15 in playoff blocked shots and playoff assists for defensemen.



#64. Jardy Buncewirth, LW, S18-S23, (CGY) @JardyB10
GP 432 | G 291 | A 398 | PT 689 | +144 | HIT 1230 | GWG 39
Cups: S18, S19, S23 Calgary


Jardy Bunclewirth may have only played six seasons in the Victory Hockey League, but it is what he did over those seasons that made him an easy Hall of Famer and a definite Top 75 player. Bunclewirth was a bit of a surprise star to say the least, being selected in the third round of the Season 16 VHL Entry Draft. Despite this, he would surge through the minors and hit the ice running in the VHL winning an impressive number of awards and going down as one of the best players of his era. Bunclewirth would win one Scotty Campbell Trophy (League MVP), one Brett Slobodzian Trophy (Players MVP) and two Mario Lemieux Trophies as the VHL's top scorer. Bunclewirth started his career off well with a Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy (Top Rookie) that saw him record the most points by a rookie since Christian Stolzschweiger himself. Ultimately, he would become a household name in the VHL, and his debut was nothing short of legendary with Jardy Bunclewirth becoming one of the best overall players of his era and arguably the best over a four season stretch that spanned from Season 18 to Season 21.




Toronto's David Walcott (#63) and Calgary's Jardy Bunclewirth (#64)


#63 - David Walcott, D, S19-S26, (TOR, HEL) @Knight
GP 576 | G 162 | A 529 | PT 691 | +206 | HT 1091 | SB 1015
Cup: S21 Toronto


As the leader of the Toronto Legion's powerhouse teams of the 20s, David Walcott was a model of consistency, never finishing under 70 points with the exception of his rookie season. He averaged over a point per game for his career, never missed the playoffs, and finished his career with over 1000 hits and blocked shots, a rare feat. While individual accolades eluded him, Toronto was a powerhouse for his seven seasons with them, with four conference championships, three Victory Cups, and one Continental Cup win. Walcott quickly developed into a reliable two-way defenseman, although he particularly blossomed late in his career, highlighted by a 93 point year in Season 25 and an astounding 145 points in Season 26 after signing with the Helsinki Titans as a free agent. It was this incredible final season of Walcott's career that finally earned him the Sterling Labatte Trophy, with his league-leading 111 assists also earning him the Mikita (now Alexander Beketov) Trophy. The consistent defensive play of David Walcott, along with his late offensive prowess, earn him a spot on our list among the game's best.



#62 - Ethan Osborne, C, S31-S37 (HSK, SEA) @STZ
GP 504 | G 315 | A 429 | P 744 | +295 | HT 589
Cups: S34 Helsinki


Osborne was a highly-regarded prospect, drafted first overall in the S30 draft and possessing tantalizing offensive talent. He spent another year in the minors - where he tore it up to the tune of a 192-point season - before making his VHL entrance with a bang in S31. He’d score 106 points that year and capture the Stolzschweiger Trophy, and he’d end up eclipsing the 100-point mark four more times in a seven-year VHL career. He wasn’t known for his grit or two-way play, but he was an incredibly gifted offensive player with great vision and the ability to finish from anywhere on the ice. After helping turn a rebuilding Helsinki team around and winning a Continental Cup in his third year in the league, Osborne would lead Helsinki and Seattle teams to the Cup finals again in each of his final three years in the league, and while S34 was the only year he tasted the ultimate prize, Osborne was a force when the games mattered most, and would finish his career with 38 goals and 87 points in 72 playoff games.



#61 - Matt Bailey, RW/D, S12-S19, (HSK, NYA, CGY) @Quik
GP 576 | G 291 | A 451 | PT 742 | +164 | HIT 1594 | PPG 114 
Cups: S15 Helsinki, S19 Calgary


After being selected first overall by the Helsinki Titans in Season 12, Matt Bailey seemed destined to have a great career as a forward. Bailey would achieve that destiny pretty quickly in the VHL, but would shock many by switching positions midway through his VHL career and achieving tremendous success at defense as well as upfront. He would become one of the first players to make this transaction that so many do nowadays in the modern Victory Hockey League. Bailey started his career out right by winning the Scott Boulet Trophy (Top Two-Way Forward) in just his second season and by winning another in his third season to go with a Joe Malone Trophy (Goals Leader). Season 15 (his fourth season) would be his last as a forward and saw the future Hall of Famer win a third Scott Boulet Trophy and his first and only Goldie Howe Trophy (Playoff MVP) for his tremendous 18 points and 37 hits in 11 games, on route to a Continental Cup victory. The switch to defense was pretty seamless as he was an All-Star in each of his four seasons as a defenseman and won a Sterling Labatte Trophy (Top Defenseman) and Stan Mikita Trophy (Most Assists) in his final campaign.  A true pioneer in our league and one that goes overlooked far too often, I believe, Matt Bailey is one of the greatest two-way forwards and also still one of the best defenseman to ever grace the VHL.



#60 - Jeff Hamilton, D, S46-S53, (SEA, QUE, RIG, TOR) @sterling
GP 576 | G 181 | A 478 | PT 659 | +194 | SB 988 | GWG 43
Cups: S51 Riga


Jeff and Phil Hamilton were one of the best brother duos in VHL history, with both accomplishing enough to find themselves on this list. Jeff was the second pick in Season 46 by Seattle and he had a pretty rough start playing for one of the worst VHL teams in league history which saw him post just 40 points and a -79 rating. Things would change fast though for Hamilton who would become one of the league’s best offensive defensemen while also being a positionally sound defender who excelled at blocking shots, especially when on the penalty kill.   Hamilton would finish his career with 659 points, +411 and 987 blocked shots over his eight season career. He was the recipient of the Sterling Labatte Trophy twice and won the Alexander Beketov Trophy after leading the league in assists once as well.  He was in the Top-10 in assists on six occasions, Top-5 in points for a defenseman an amazing seven times and was Top-10 in blocked shots four times as well. One of the highlight moments of his career was his Season 51 Continental Cup victory on the back of Sandro Clegane, that saw him topple over brothers Phil and David along the way. He was a beast during that run himself with 13 points, 37 hits and 33 blocked shots over the fourteen game postseason. One of the best defenders of his time and frankly, one of the best ever, Jeff Hamilton is absolutely deserving of being named to our list of the 75 greatest players in VHL history.



#59 - Bruno Wolf, RW, S38-S45, (SEA, QUE, NYA) @brovy
GP 576 | G 372 | A 372 | PT 744 | +354 | HIT 2272 | GWG 74 
Cup: None


The American right winger’s career started off somewhat slow, but after he moved from Seattle to Quebec, it took off and the name Bruno Wolf started floating around with those of more recognized power forwards at the time, like David Smalling and Lord Karnage. Wolf reached his peak in S41 and played at an insane level for 2 straight seasons, during which he got his hands on two Scott Boulet trophies, two Kevin Brooks trophies and a Brett Slobodzian trophy. During that two-season span, he scored an astounding total of 129 goals, 131 assists, 260 points and 714 hits, a peak that would make even the namesake of the Best Two-Way Forward trophy proud. Wolf retired at the conclusion of S45, without ever getting to put his name on a Continental Cup, but after 75 seasons of VHL hockey, he still sits at 22nd on the all-time goals list and 14th on the all-time hits list. He was finally inducted in the Hall of Fame in S46, sealing his legacy as one of the best power forwards to ever play in the game.



#58 - John Locke, LW, S54-S60, (QUE, RIG, HSK) @Will
GP 504 | G 355 | A 337 | PT 692 | +383 | SHT 4293 | GWG 79 
Cups: S56 Quebec, S57, S58 Riga, S60 Helsinki


John Locke was one of the most pure offensive talents the league has ever seen. The S54 Rookie of the Year was a rising star and won a Cup with Quebec even before his legend grew with a move to Riga. Locke became a deadly sniper playing on a line with Reign center Fredinamijs Krigars and the duo were 1-2 in league scoring in back-to-back seasons in S57-58. Locke won consecutive Brooks Trophies as he scored 131 goals those two seasons, 30 more than anyone else aside from Krigers, including becoming only one of sixteen players to score 70 goals in a season and only the fourth player to accomplish the feat since S35. His 20th-ranked career plus/minus of +383 proves his underrated defensive game and he is tied for 5th in league history with 79 game-winning goals. And while he was a dominant regular season goal scorer, he was absolutely otherworldly in the playoffs. In fact, he holds the record for playoff goals (60) ahead of some guy named Scotty Campbell. He reached the playoffs in every season, only missing the Finals once, and won the Cup four times. Locke led the league or tied for the lead in playoff goals on five occasions peaking with capturing the Kanou Trophy as playoff MVP in S57 with 13-14-27 in only 11 games.



#57 - Alex Gegeny, G, S7-S12, (HAM, TOR, RIG, VAS) @Pominville29
GP 389 | W 262 | L 91 | OTL 28 | SV% 0.929 | GAA 2.24 | SO 45
Cups: S9 Toronto


As a third round selection in the Season Five VHL Entry Draft, Alex Gegeny is a lasting reminder that greatness can be found in the most unlikely of places. After serving as a backup to Jesus Christ as a rookie, Gegeny spent all of his sophomore season in the minors. But after being traded to Toronto prior to Season Seven, his career exploded, immediately establishing himself as a premier goaltender. For Seasons Eight and Nine, he was unquestionably the best tendie in the league, with two straight Tretiak (now Aidan Shaw) Trophies, boasting save percentages of .940 and .935 and allowing less than two goals a game in those years. Season Nine also marked the year where Gegeny became a champion, as Toronto defeated the Riga Reign to win the Continental Cup. With a career save percentage of .929 (.933 in the playoffs), Gegeny to this day is still regarded as one of the best goalies to ever play in the VHL. Not bad at all for an overlooked third round pick who simply needed the opportunity to prove himself to reveal how great he truly was.



#56 - Tom Lincoln, C/LW, S47-S54, (QUE, COL, NYA) @Kesler
GP 576 | G 385 | A 439 | PT 824 | +411 | HT 253 | SB 239
Cups: S52 NYA, S53 NYA


Centerman Tom Lincoln’s legacy is a strange one, for sure. When you start building a list like this one, you expect to find many players with impressive award cabinets. Such is not the case for Lincoln, whose most important personal accolades in the VHL were three now-discontinued Mikka Virkkunen trophies, awarded until S58 to the league’s most sportsmanlike player. The Canadian forward never peaked like Unassisted or Edwin Reencarnacion that beat him for the major awards, but very few players in the history of the league were ever as consistent as Lincoln. In fact, from his sophomore season with the Meute in S48 until his final season with Americans in S54, Lincoln posted north of 46 goals and 95 points every single time. Overall, he's featured at the 15th and 21st positions in the all-time goals and points leaderboards, respectively. It's a shame that he never got to lift a personal award like a Scotty Campbell Trophy or even a Kevin Brooks Trophy, because we all know he'd be way higher on this list if he had.



#55 - Julian Borwinn, LW, S63-S70 (HSK) @Jubo07
GP 576 | G 325 | A 380 | P 705 | +135 | HT 1165 | SB 251
Cups: S66 Helsinki


The 3rd overall pick in the S63 draft, Borwinn was seen as a bit of a high-risk, high-upside pick on draft day, but when the puck dropped on his rookie season it became clear immediately that he was a special player. An 84-point rookie season during a low-scoring era earned him a Stolzschweiger award as the league’s top rookie, then a couple of years later, Borwinn authored his signature year, breaking out for 114 points, capturing five different awards (Campbell, Slobodzian, Brooks, Szatkowski, and Funk) and then leading Helsinki to a Continental Cup. Borwinn continued to be consistent and dominant right through to the end of his career - leading the VHL in scoring in his second-last year, and winning another Campbell Trophy as the league’s MVP in his final season. He spent his entire career in Helsinki, only missing the playoffs once, playing in four Continental Cup finals and winning one Cup.



#54 - Diana Maxwell, RW, S50-S57, (STO, NYA, DAV, QUE) @scoop
GP 576 | G 367 | A 389 | PT 756 | +330 | SHT 3909 | GWG 59 
Cups: S52, S53 New York


Diana Maxwell's career didn't get off to the storybook start that you would expect from someone that finds their way on this list. In spite of being selected first overall in the S50 Draft, Maxwell would struggle to record just 85 points in her first 144 games, while also having an abysmal -98 rating and just 151 hits. However, Maxwell would go on one of the most amazing runs by a forward since Scotty Campbell to make up for this terrible start. After an excellent bounce back season in S52 that saw Maxwell record 94 points she would then go on to record 137, 124, 114 and 114 again over the course of four seasons. Maxwell led the league in goals and points twice over this time, showcasing that she was one of the VHL's best offensive players. Maxwell would go even further than that though by becoming one of the league's best playoff performers as well. She would finish her career with 92 points and 290 hits over 87 playoff games, including two Continental Cup victories in Season 52 and 53. Those two runs were absolutely special by Maxwell, as she would finish those runs with a combined 24 goals, 24 assists and 48 points, along with 98 hits in just 36 playoff games. To cap it off, Maxwell was named Playoff MVP in Season 53 and was runner-up for the award in Season 52.



#53 - Aleksi Koponen, C, S52-S59 (HSK, QUE, CGY) @Will
GP 576 | G 338 | A 489 | P 827 | +424 | HT 1024 | SB 248 | FO 62.3%
Cups: S45, S46 Helsinki


Compared to some other all-time greats, Koponen’s trophy case is a little bare: he has just one award to his name - a Szatkowski Trophy in S51 as the league’s top scorer. But Koponen was a team player and a winner, who also had several seasons near the top of the league in scoring, most notably a 132-point season in S49 and a 135-point campaign in S51. He was a terrific playmaker and his scoring touch developed over time in the league; he never had a season in the league below 80 points and between S48-S51, he had a four-season run in the league’s Top 6 scorers. Koponen entered the league with Helsinki and captured back-to-back Continental Cups to begin his career, and though he would never hoist another one, his teams made the playoffs every year of his 8-year career, adding 76 post-season points to go along with the 827 he scored in the regular season. 



#52 - Elijah Incognito, D, S27-S34, (SEA, TOR, RIG) @Strummer
GP 576 | G 142 | A 511 | PT 653 | +309 | HT 939 | SB 904
Cups: S28 Seattle, S29 Toronto, S33 Riga 


Elijah Incognito was an unassuming star especially in the early 30s as he quietly climbed up the ladder of best offensive defensemen in VHL history (he’s 10th all-time in assists with 511) and smashed playoff records along the way. A respected leader who led by example on the ice, his standard was always excellence and in his eight seasons he only missed the playoffs once.  In his first four seasons, his point totals increased every season with 53, 64, 72 and 75 points. The Canadian rearguard’s blossoming offensive game belied his steady commitment to his own zone. After having already won two consecutive Continental Cups with Seattle and Toronto his career would get the jolt that would make his name a common occurrence in the annals of VHL lore. A trade to Riga helped him to career-highs in S31 of 27-67-94 and added 12 points in 11 playoff games. In S32, Incognito posted one of the greatest seasons ever by a defenseman. He smashed the Riga record for points from the blueline with 31-96-127, the 7th highest point total ever recorded by a defenseman in the VHL and a total that has not been matched since. These spectacular numbers would garner him his first individual awards - the Beketov (most assists) and Labatte (best defenseman) Trophies. But the next season would be the cherry on top of his already illustrious career. He would again lead the Reign in scoring with 93 points and then provided the VHL with one of the most inspired playoff performances in history. In 20 games, culminating in Riga’s first Continental Cup since S16, Incognito set league playoff records - still standing - for assists (24), points (34 - a record broken by Alexander Chershenko the next season but not matched since), power play goals (9), and tied for the most power play points (16). He easily won the Daisuke Kanou Trophy as playoff MVP. Even to this day, he remains 2nd in the VHL in career playoff assists, and 1st in playoff points and blocked shots for defensemen.



51. Pietro Maximoff, LW, S49-S56, (RIG, SEA, STO, QUE) @OrbitingDeath
GP 576 | G 372 | A 417 | PT 789 | +371 | SHT 4362 | GWG 62
Cup: S51 Riga, S56 Quebec


When you look over a player's career and find that the fewest amount of goals they scored in a season is 28, that's a consistently great goal scorer. That player, as it turns out, is Pietro Maximoff, who wasted absolutely no time establishing himself as a top scoring threat as a rookie, with 29 goals, 75 points and a Christian Stolzschweiger Trophy. Season 51 saw him not only score nearly 40 goals, but he won a Continental Cup with the Riga Reign, along with establishing himself as leader with the Grimm Jonsson Trophy. However, he was only just getting started, as Maximoff established himself as truly elite in Season 52. Scoring 69 (nice) goals and 70 assists, resulting in a Mike Szatkowski Trophy for his league-leading 139 points, the Kevin Brooks Trophy for leading the league in goals, and the Dustin Funk Trophy as the most improved player in the VHL. Even playing on three teams in his final four seasons couldn't slow Maximoff down, only falling short of 100 points once (and even then, he still scored 96 points), including a 117 point season with Quebec City in which he ended his career in style with a second Continental Cup win. A tremendously gifted player in a forgotten era, Pietro Maximoff is recognized here for his legendary scoring abilities, along with a relentless pursuit of success during a time where the VHL desperately needed heroic figures. We finish off our first segment of the Top 75 Players in VHL History with Pietro Maximoff coming in at a well-deserved spot at #51!


Thanks for reading! Stay tuned for the Top 75 VHL Players (S75): 50-26.

Edited by animal74
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2 hours ago, animal74 said:

Alexander Beketov, F, S6-S12 @Beketov

Well.... that guarantees I’ll only be seeing Thompson in this list haha. Oh well.


Also all your tags are busted, probably because they don’t copy and paste well. That’s gonna be fun to fix haha

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5 hours ago, animal74 said:

Alexander Beketov, F, S6-S12 @Beketov
Theo Axelsson, F, S50-S57 @solas
Edwin Reencarnacion, F, S44-S50 @Yeah!
Sebastian Ironside, F, S61-S68 @DollarAndADream
Jake Wylde, D, S38-45 @STZ
Josh Vestiquan, F, S6-S13 @v2
Mats Johnsson, D, S57-64 @Quik
Hulk Hogan, D, S67-74 @TXC
Ansgar Snijider, F, S25-32 @Kyle
Patrice Reynaud, D, S3-9 @mikek_02
Carl Jacobs, F, S11-18 @bobbylu 

The quality in this list really hits home how difficult it is to do these rankings and how difficult it is to make the cut.

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#68 - Joseph McWolf, D, S63-S70, (NYA, RIG, MAL) @McWolf
GP 576 | G 114 | A 433 | PT 547 | PIM 1243 | HIT 1887 | SB 1130 
Cup: None


When Joseph McWolf finished his career, his statistical performances may have seemed mediocre to some. He was one of the first retirees for defenders of the modern low-scoring era, but when you deep-dive into how he compared to the rest of his era, you truly get a picture of how legendary McWolf ended up being. Defensively, we all know McWolf was a stud. He finished his career with 1887 hits and 1130 blocked shots, which helped shape the all-around play that saw him win two Sterling Labatte trophies. Offensively he was better than many realize as well, winning one Alexander Valiq Trophy (Top Offensive Defenseman) and being a mainstay on both the Top 10 in VHL Assists and Top 10 in VHL defenseman scoring. In fact, McWolf would finish in the Top 10 in assists four times but even more impressively, the Top 10 in scoring for defenders an incredible seven times. One of the elite pinnacle players of his era and one of the most consistent talented defenders we have seen in quite some time, McWolf has become a benchmark for other defenders in his era to compare to.

Seein my boy @McWolf make the cut 

Happy Proud Of You GIF by SYBO

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King was one of my favourite players I created, not only because of the success but because it literally was at a time when I was going to war with some. Those days are behind me! Back to created above average players

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22 hours ago, Kendrick said:

King was one of my favourite players I created, not only because of the success but because it literally was at a time when I was going to war with some. Those days are behind me! Back to created above average players


It was fun going against you for sure man.

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On 1/9/2021 at 3:48 PM, animal74 said:

@Kendrick I think you and I had some grammar wars back in the Torsten Schwarz days. 😉

Oh did we? Who was your player? Being raised by Germans will naturally make me struggle with some words and phrases but I think I've worked on things haha

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1 hour ago, Kendrick said:

Oh did we? Who was your player? Being raised by Germans will naturally make me struggle with some words and phrases but I think I've worked on things haha

Gunnar-Rune Rorvik with Seattle. I was a Media Spot Grader and I tended to be more strict than others. 😆

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