Igor Larionov returning to the NHL?

Could the Professor be making a return?



They called him "The Professor" for good reason. Simply put, former NHL forward Igor Larionov was one of the smartest hockey players every to lace up the skates.

Of course, he was also instrumental in the introduction of Russian players into the National Hockey League, playing a key role in forcing the then-Soviet government into allowing their players compete in hockey's top league. During his career, he suited up for the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils, though he was best known for his time with Detroit in which he helped them win a trio of Stanley Cup championships. 

Right now, he's behind the bench of Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod in the KHL as head coach. Could he be eying a return to coach in the NHL? According to longtime Russian scout and agent Alexey Dementyev, it's a very real possibility. 

“When the time comes and he has the desire, I don’t think Larionov will have any problems getting a job in the NHL,” Dementyev told Russian website With the way he works now and what he knows about hockey, his prospects will be great.”

“I am sure that if Larionov wishes, he can absolutely calmly lead an NHL club, and his team will be bright, original, and interesting,” Dementyev said. “Today, Igor Larionov is the brightest coach in the KHL. His work and the team’s play attract great attention. Regarding Larionov’s prospects in the NHL, Igor speaks excellent English. He understands the mentality of people in the league.”

Larionov's arrival in the Motor City gave birth to the "Russian Five", and he helped Detroit to three Stanley Cup titles (1997, 1998, 2002). He appeared in a total of 921 NHL games with the Vancouver Canucks, San Jose Sharks, Red Wings, Florida Panthers and New Jersey Devils. During his career, he scored 169 goals along with 475 assists, as well as 97 points in 150 career Stanley Cup Playoffs games. 

Following his playing career that ended after the 2003-04 season, Larionov would be named director of hockey operations for Russian powerhouse hockey club SKA Saint Petersburg of the KHL. 

Recommended articles: