Lost in Russia: Alexandre Volchkov

Alexandre Volchokov: We'll Never Forget. (RMNB Graphic)

Alexandre Volchokov. Hopefully the beard symbolizes maturity. (RMNB Graphic)

Widely regarded as one of the biggest busts in NHL history, Alexandre Volchkov was the Washington Capitals 4th Overall Selection in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft. Then he proceeded to play in only 3 games for the NHL Club, never registering a single point. For those whose memory of Volchkov is fuzzy, let’s let the wonderful Wikipedia fill in those blanks:

“Volchkov was a talented right-winger who put up impressive offensive numbers while playing junior hockey for the Barrie Colts. Washington management were well aware of Volchkov’s attitude issues, but decided that his talent overshadowed any potential problems. Offensively gifted, the enigmatic Volchkov never reached his potential as a pro due to his poor attitude. In one incident while playing with the Capitals’ minor league affiliate Portland Pirates, he walked out on the team during a playoff game.

Having had enough of his poor attitude and chronic underachieving, the Capitals traded Volchkov to the Edmonton Oilers on February 4, 2000, for a fourth round draft pick, but he never played with the parent club. Former Oilers’ GM Kevin Lowe, then the team’s coach, recalled his first training camp meeting with Volchkov in which the player insisted on being referred to as The Volch-inator. After just twenty-five games with the Oilers’ minor league affiliate Hamilton Bulldogs, team management soured on his poor attitude, and he returned to play in Russia.”

Where’s The Volch-inator now? Surprisingly he’s still playing hockey! We had Fedor search through a bunch of Russian and Belarus websites. And this is what he found.

Let’s go back to 2003. After Alexandre Volchkov failed in North America, he came back to Russia and has since played for the following Russian teams: Sibir, Molot-Prikamye, Vityaz, Krylya Sovetov and Torpedo. Here’s part of an interview taken when he came to Mogilev to play in Khimvolokno of the Belarus League. His father, a pretty famous Soviet player, worked there as a coach.

Q: Your NHL career lasted only 3 games. What do you think. Why didn’t you make the Capitals roster?
A: Maybe, I didn’t have good luck. It’s an important factor in every sportsman’s life. I think, sometimes a Fortune’s smile can help more than years of practice.
[…]
Q: When you came back to Russia in 2003, did you lose any hope about having a successful NHL career?
A: I didn’t feel any doom about not playing in the League. I thought that my skill would translate well to the League’s requirements. But I didn’t have good contact with the coach and I wasn’t lucky. So when i signed with [Russian Team] Molot I tried to make myself more known. And maybe get another shot in the NHL.

I have a short comment on his words: His “Fortune’s smile” was his draft pick number. He had to work hard after that. He didn’t and it ended up being an honor he never deserved.

After Mogilev, Volchkov played for Yunost Minsk, a very popular team in Belarus. Then he came to HC Neman Grodno.

I found his name in news about Lada Togliatti (Russian Superleague), HC Dmitrov and HC Kapitan (Russian High League).

The next team he played for was Keramin-Minsk after the team traded for him. Here’s their ofiicial press-release from 25.09.09.

Finally, Alexandre signed with Beybarys Atyrau (Kazakhstan Republic League, don’t confuse with Barys of the KHL). Volchkov currently plays there. He’s only 32 and we’ll see, maybe his name will appear again in news about KHL or Russian Superleague. At least the Capitals now have a 4th Overall Draft Pick that actually worked out.

Russian Players Selected With High First Round Draft Picks:

1 Alexander Ovechkin (2004)
1 Ilya Kovalchuk (2001)
2 Alexei Yashin (1992)
2 Andrei Zyuzin (1996)
2 Oleg Tverdovsky (1994)
2 Evgeni Malkin (2004)
3 Alexandr Svitov (2001)
4 Alexandre Volchkov (1996)
4 Nikolai Zherdev (2003)
5 Darius Kasparaitis (1992)
5 Stanislav Chistov (2001)
5 Vitaly Vishnevski (1998)
6 Nikita Filatov (2008)
6 Viktor Kozlov (1993)
8 Sergei Samsonov (1997)
8 Nikita Alexeev (2000)

  • miseenjeu

    I guess we’ll wait and see on Semyon Varlamov, but he’s definitely showing a lot of promise.

  • FedFed

    Agreed.