|Valeri Mikhailovich Zelepukin
Height: 6' 1", Weight: 200 pounds
Born: 9.17.68 Voskresensk, Russia
|How he arrived: Via Entry Deaft
How he left: Traded to the Edmonton Oilers with Bill Guerin for Jason Arnott and Bryan Muir, 1.4.98
|Regular Season Statistics with the Franchise
Stats in bold signifies team leader.
While the Devils have been known more for finding success with undrafted free agents, Zelepukin was an example of
the Devils finding gold with a late round pick.
A solid two-way player that had enough creativity in his game at the same time, Zelepukin had some decent seasons
while he was still in his homeland, but it wasn't until he came to North America that his game saw an improvement.
Some had billed him as the stereotypical Devil. His one-season high in goals in Russia: 18 in 1988. With the Devils: 26
in 1994... plus one that sent game 7 of the Rangers series that year to overtime.
He would sustain an eye injury in 1995 four games in. During a practice, I should add. He would miss the rest of the
regular season, but would return in time for the playoff run.
His game, however, was just not the same since that injury. His biggest standout moment since then was a playoff hat
trick in 1997. But that was it.
His stay in Edmonton was short-lived. He would move on to the Flyers and worked on his defensive game. He became
a solid checking line winger for them. He was also counted on in crunch time with 5 game winning goals his first year
there, and 3 the following year.
He finished his NHL career with the Blackhawks. Nothing eventful happened there. He was sent to the Norfolk
Admirals of the AHL for the remaining season and a half of his North American career. Yup, I'm getting at that he
retired back in Russia, having bounced around with a few teams over there until 2006.
I had read that he was the head instructor for Victory On Ice, a Russian hockey school that actually runs clinics in the
Northeast, as late as 2013. No word on what he's been doing since.
|Entry Draft: 1990 Eleventh Round Pick (221st overall) by
the New Jersey Devils
|Playoff Statistics with the Franchise