Siarhiej Aliehavič Kaścicyn
Born March 20, 1987 (age 25) in Navapolatsk, Byelorussian SSR, Soviet Union (now Belarus)
Right winger for the Nashville Predators
Happy birthday Sergei! He and his older brother Andrei started out playing hockey in their native Belarus, and Sergei was drafted by the OHL’s London Knights in 2005. That’s also when the Montreal Canadiens drafted him (the Habs had drafted Andrei two years earlier). He moved to Canada to play with the Knights, and he led the OHL in rookie scoring in the 2005-06 season. Not only was he in the running for OHL Rookie of the Year, but he also played a big part in the Knights’ playoff run – he made several big goals and was named the Knights’ playoff player of the year as well as their team rookie of the year. The next season, he was set on a line with two kids named Patrick Kane and Sam Gagner, and the three of them were outstanding. Sergei himself was named alternate captain for the team and broke the franchise’s assist record. He was third in scoring in the OHL behind Kaner and John Tavares.
Once his season with the Knights was over in 2007, Sergei signed an entry-level contract with the Habs’ AHL team, the Hamilton Bulldogs, but he was never used during their Calder Cup run. He ended up signing a three-year deal with the Habs, and although he was still with the Bulldogs, he played his first NHL game against the Philadelphia Flyers on December 13, 2007 and got his first NHL point two days later. Four days later, he got his first goal against the Washington Capitals on the power play. He began the 2008-09 season with the Habs but was reassigned to the Bulldogs. Things got dicey in the 2009-10 season, when he refused to report to the Bulldogs when he was assigned there. He did end up reporting to the team a few days after being suspended from the team, but in October he left again and was once again suspended. He went back to the Bulldogs and was even recalled to the Habs, but he was effectively cut from the team during their playoff run. I’d say Sergei was happy when he was traded to the Nashville Predators in the summer of 2010.
This season, on top of his 17 goals and 26 assists, he’s reunited with Andrei, who was traded to Nashville in February. SK74 and AK46 are locked and loaded together once again, and this time their weapon of choice is Smashville.