Will Sergei Shirokov Be This Year's Michael Grabner

Sergei Shirokov: Future Star?

This week, the Florida Panthers and the Vancouver Canucks completed a trade for a couple of prospects. The trade involved forward Sergei Shirokov being sent to Florida for tough guy Mike Duco. This trade seems under the radar, but there might be other ramifications.

Last off-season, the Panthers and the Canucks completed another trade which saw the Panthers pick up prospect Michael Grabner. The speedy forward could not crack the deep Canucks forward ranks and was deemed expendable. Seen as a steal in the trade, Grabner went to Florida’s training camp looking to earn a roster spot and play his first full NHL season of his young career.

But Grabner failed to impress at Florida’s camp and Panthers management wanted to send him down to their AHL affiliate. But to do so, Grabner needed to pass through waivers. While on waivers, Florida lost Grabner to the New York Islanders as they put a claim on him. The rest of the story is history as Grabner went on to score 34 goals for New York and end up with a total of 52 points and a Calder Memorial Trophy nomination for NHL rookie of the year. Grabner also signed a new five year deal with the Islanders for $15 million to cap off a great rookie year for the 23 year old.

Could Shirokov share a similar fate this upcoming season? Will lightning strike twice?

Let’s take a look at both players stats:

GRABNER                                                                                           SHIROKOV

SEASON GAMES GOALS ASSISTS POINTS SEASON GAMES GOALS ASSISTS POINTS
2010-11 NHL-76 34 18 52 2010-11 NHL-2 1 0 1
2009-10 NHL-38 5 6 11 2010-11 AHL-76 22 36 58
2009-10 AHL-38 15 11 26 2009-10 NHL-6 0 0 0
2008-09 AHL-66 30 18 48 2009-10 AHL-76 22 23 45
2007-08 AHL-74 22 22 44
2006-07 AHL-2 1 1 2

As you can see by their stats in the AHL (the highlighted seasons), Grabner and Shirokov have had similar careers stats in the minor leagues. However, both were still unable to crack the Vancouver line-up despite their respectable numbers in the AHL, and thus were traded out of town.

With many similarities between the two, does Shirokov just need a shot on an NHL roster to show he can be an impact player? Shirokov recently signed a three year contract with CSKA Moscow of the KHL and is a RFA. With his rights traded to Florida, he may come back to this side of the ocean if he is promised a legitimate shot at a full time NHL gig. There still is a big question if Shirokov will come to Florida’s training camp this fall as it is not yet known if he will attend. But if he attends, will Florida learn from their mistake and ensure that they keep Shirokov in their system rather then allowing him to get claimed off waivers.

Shirokov shared a similar fate with Grabner in Vancouver, will he share a similar fate in Florida?

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Tags: AHL Florida Panthers KHL MHL Michael Grabner New York Islanders Sergei Shirokov Vancouver Canucks

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