Players Who Just Went Away

by Mike Conway

As a hockey fan there are some players that you know of but don’t really care about. Second and third line forwards and second pairing defensemen on another team are the type I’m talking about, you know of them but not much about them. The thing about these players are that you have to be careful, cause if you aren’t paying attention they might just go away. Here are five players who were there one day and then gone the next.

Quick disclaimer: I’m sure if you are a fan of one of these players or their team you know where they want, problem is the rest of us don’t.
Kristian Huselius
Huselius was a Panther, Flame and then finally a Blue Jacket. This is a player who could capably put up 50 points, maxing out one year at 77 points. Despite putting up more than solid stats he faded out of the NHL quickly. Injuries knocked Huselius into retirement, explaining why he disappeared so quickly. It wasn’t a lack of skill that kept him off the ice, he physically couldn’t play. There was an issue with Huselius claiming the Blue Jackets rushed him back, injuring him further, though apparently it wasn’t a big enough controversy to be remembered a couple years down the road. While Huselius’ last season playing the majority of games was 2009-10, he actually only just announced his retirement last year in 2013, right after the lockout ended. 
Petr Prucha
Petr Prucha looked like he was going to be at least a solid top 6 forward during his rookie year, scoring 47 points in 68 games. He took a small step back in his sophomore year putting up fewer points in more games, but it was still 40 points in 79 games. Then that was it, his time as a top 6 forward was over and that was all most people heard about him. Where did he go? He spent a couple more years under the radar in New York, and then got traded to Phoenix where he dug himself even deeper below the radar. It wasn’t long before he went to Russia where he still is now, playing fairly productively.
Miroslav Satan
Satan was a well-known player in the league for two reasons, the first being that he was a very consistent player for 10 years, having his best years with Buffalo. The second reason is that his last name was Satan, come on who didn’t enjoy making a good Satan joke, looking back at him it’s one of things I really miss about the NHL. Satan is the best player on this list, so how did he escape the public eye so subtly? He left the NHL with class; he played until his skills just weren’t there anymore. He spent time in the AHL in 2008-09 and then finished with a stretch in Boston the next year. The reason I think he escaped publicity is that he didn’t retire. Satan is actually still playing in the KHL, after his final season with Boston instead of retiring he signed a contract to keep his career going in the KHL. He popped back into the news briefly during the lockout when Zdeno Chara knocked him out and almost finished off his career. Miro is still trucking though.  
Andrew Raycroft
Andrew Raycroft is another player who was well known in the NHL before he unceremoniously left. Raycroft won the Calder award for best rookie with the Bruins before being going to Toronto in an infamous deal that sent then prospect Tuukka Rask to Boston.  Raycroft played fairly well in Toronto before being replaced between the pipes by Vesa Toskala. (an honourable mention on this list!) That’s where most people’s memory of Andrew Raycroft ends, but he stuck around as a backup for a while. Raycroft played seasons as the backup goalie with Colorado, Vancouver and Dallas before playing some AHL games and ending up in Italy of all places. Raycroft has since moved on to a 2nd tier Swedish Elite League team. So to anyone complaining about Steve Mason’s play this year, it can go a lot worse for Calder winning goalies.
Scott Hannan
Scott Hannan was a very solid presence on the blue line for the Sharks and Avalanche. For me anyways he began to start being known by playing for Team Canada in a couple international tournaments. He was never flashy or put up a lot of points but was a durable and could guarantee you 70+ games a year. How did he disappear? In a different way than anyone else on this list. While other players went down with injuries or their skills declined to the point that they were no longer NHL material, Hannan bounced around in the NHL on a journey that included Washington, Calgary and Nashville before finally coming full circle and landing in San Jose. How did Hannan leave San Jose? Surprise! He didn’t, he managed to disappear in San Jose. Hannan didn’t have to retire or go to Europe; he is to this day doing his best to get ice time in San Jose showcasing the great durability that Hannan has.

Honourable Mentions: Wojtek Wolski, Marek Svatos, Jason Blake, Vesa Toskala, David Aebischer.

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