Like many other guys, this week's AGM had shown flashes of greatness in terms of what he had done in the minors and with European based teams, but when push came to shove, he couldn't get the job done when it counted most in the NHL due to lack of consistency or losing out on a logjam in net. Yet, somehow; onces you get them out of the spotlight, they shine the best. Plus, this goalie has what could be a record for miles covered over a season. This week, we profile Andrei Trefilov.
Trefilov started out in 1985-86 with the Olimpiya Kirovo-Chepetsk club of the Russian third league and spent three seasons with them. While it seems Trefilov didn't play in the 1988-89 season, he did return for the 1989-90 season, first with Dizelist Penza before being moved to Dynamo Moscow 2, both in the Russian third league. Trefilov continued to play for Dynamo 2 in the 1990-91 season before being moved up to the top-tier club of Dynamo Moscow in the Super League. Trefilov would go on to play in the Super Series with Dynamo Moscow, where Dynamo went across the NHL to play NHL teams. Trefilov went 2-1-2 in his five games. He would also play with the Soviet Union for the WEC (World and European Championship), going 5-1-2 in his eight games.
The exposure from the Super Series caught the eye of many teams, but the Calgary Flames took a risk by picking Trefilov in the 12th round, 261st overall in the 1991 Entry Draft. Unfortunately for the Flames, Trefilov was in the midst of a two-year deal with Dynamo, so he couldn't come over yet. It was a trying year in 1991-92, not only for hockey, but the world. It was when the Soviet states fell and a rebuilding was in order. Trefilov started out with the Dynamo 2 squad for a few games, but was then moved up to the top division Dynamo, where he recorded five shutouts in 28 games played and had a 1.58 GAA for the year. That same year, Trefilov was selected to play for the Unified Team in the Olympics, where he played four games behind former AGM Mikhail Shtalenkov and was able to garner a Gold Medal for himself.
After that season, Trefilov moved to North America, since his contract with Dynamo was up. Trefilov would spend most of the 1992-93 season with the Salt Lake Golden Eagles of the IHL, playing 44 games and going 23-17-3. Trefilov played on game with the Flames, a 5-5 tie against the Canucks in November, while also backstopping Russia to another World Championship title in the spring. For the 1993-94 season, Trefilov would split time in Calgary and Saint John of the AHL. For the 11 games he played in Calgary-- his record didn't reflect his play. He had two shutouts and a 2.50 GAA, but a record of 3-4-2 for his season. It was a .500 year in Saint John, going 10-10-7 in his 28 games. Even with the shortened-season in 1994-95, Trefilov didn't get much time in either the NHL or AHL. He played six games in Calgary, going 0-3-0; while in Saint John he posted a 1-5-1 record in seven games on the farm.
Due to a logjam in net, Trefilov was allowed to walk by the Flames and he subsequently signed with the Buffalo Sabres in the summer of 1995. Trefilov started off with Buffalo and went 3-4-0 in his nine games, but injured a ligament in his knee which caused him to miss 23 games. When he came back, he got five games of rehab in Rochester of the AHL going 4-1-0 in the process. When he got back to Buffalo, Trefilov would go 5-4-1 in his remaining 13 games of the season, including being the start for the last game in Buffalo's Memorial Auditorium. The 1996-97 season was difficult for Trefilov, but started out well playing in the World Cup and going 2-1-0 in four games. However, his year in Buffalo was short-lived, as it ended after three games (0-2-0) when he had to have arthroscopic surgery on his knee in December. He was able to come back for five minutes during the 1997 playoffs to replace Steve Shields.
It was a bizarre 1997-98 season, with Trefilov being pushed out of Buffalo and relegated to Rochester, where he played three games going 1-0-1. Trefilov was traded to the Chicago Blackhawks for future considerations. Trefilov started with the Indianapolis Ice of the IHL, going 0-1-0 in his one game before being moved up to Chicago. In six games with Chicago, Trefilov went 1-4-0.
The 1998-99 season was quite the trip for Trefilov. He would start out with Indianapolis and would go 9-6-2 in 18 games, while playing one game in Chicago, which was a loss. Trefilov would then get traded back to Calgary Flames in December of 1998 for a seventh round pick, playing in four games and going 0-3-0 in those games. Then, the Flames let him go and Trefilov would go over to play for Ak Bars Kazan in Russia. He played for Ak Bars Kazan 2 team in the Russian fourth league for two games before playing for the top club for three games. After those five games, Trefilov would return to North America to play for the Detroit Vipers of the IHL. He would play 27 games with the Vipers and go 17-8-2. Trefilov would play in 10 games in the playoffs going 6-4. Trefilov would make the IHL Second-Team All-Star roster and would share the James Norris Memorial Trophy for fewest goals against with Kevin Weekes.
The 1999-2000 season was a little more stable for Trefilov, who spent the entire year with the Chicago Wolves of the IHL. Trefilov would see 37 regular season games going 21-9-3 with three shutouts. In the playoffs, Trefilov came alive, going 7-1 in his nine games, receiving Bud Poile Trophy for Playoff MVP, as he helped the Wolves to their first and only Turner Cup championship in the IHL. In 2000-01, Trefilov would go over to Germany to play for the DEG Metro Stars for six seasons, playing in 233 games for them and recording a 2.37 GAA in those seasons with 21 shutouts during that time.
The whereabouts of Trefilov nowadays are unknown, but his history is very odd. While he seemed to adjust to the North American game, as shown by his minor league stats-- but while he was in the NHL, he could never get the job done. He got pushed out of places, but also had injuries to hinder him as well. In any case, his international and minor league success shows he did have sparks of glory and was good enough to get the job done-- just not when it counted on the big stage.