2021 Mid-Season Update

There is a problematic and consistent increase in hate crimes and malicious, targeted attacks towards those of Asian descent, especially evident in recent days – I encourage readers to first review these anti-racism resources to support the AAPI community.

With the NHL trade deadline coming up, most teams are just over the halfway point of the NHL’s 56-game season. A quick update on various players of Asian descent:

Matt Dumba (NHL / Minnesota Wild / D)

Another solid season for Minnesota’s top-pairing defenceman, with the Wild posting a 62% expected-goals rate with Dumba on the ice. A co-founder of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, he launched a youth camp last month to further diversity efforts in hockey at the grassroots level.

That’s where you can make the most change for the next generation of young hockey players, young leaders in our game. Having a camp like mine with as much inclusivity and diversity involved in it as there’s going to be is something special, something hockey’s really never seen before.

Matt Dumba to NHL.com (2021)

Jujhar Khaira (NHL / Edmonton Oilers / LW)

Khaira has had another solid season for the Oilers in their bottom-six, contributing as a depth option and on the penalty-kill, although he looks to be injured for the near future after suffering a concussion in a fight during a game against Calgary on the 15th.

Jason Robertson (NHL / Dallas Stars / LW)

The 21-year-old rookie started the season relatively slowly, but has seen a recent uptick in production while gaining more confidence while adjusting to the NHL. Now seventh on the Stars in scoring, Robertson had a memorable four-assist game in a win against Chicago last week.

Devin Shore (NHL / Edmonton Oilers / C)

Mostly centering the Oilers’ fourth line, Shore has had a solid year in his sixth NHL season posting 5 points in 17 games.

Nick Suzuki (NHL / Montreal Canadiens / C)

Suzuki started the season very strong with a seven-game point streak as clearly one of Montreal’s best players. His production has fallen off a bit recently, but he’s still fourth on the team in scoring with 17 points in 27 games and an integral piece of not only the team’s future, but also its present.

Kailer Yamamoto (NHL / Edmonton Oilers / RW)

Yamamoto has been a terrific fit this season playing alongside one or two of the best players in the world. Now firmly established in his first full NHL season, he has 16 points in 31 games so far this season.

[Yamamoto’s] a really good, full ice player. He checks well, makes good little plays. He likes to go to the front of the net.

Edmonton Oilers Head Coach Dave Tippett (2021)

Taro Hirose (NHL / Detroit Red Wings & AHL / Grand Rapids Griffins / LW)

Hirose has continued to go up and down between the Red Wings and their farm team. With nine points in eight AHL games, he’s been excellent in the AHL and should figure to get a longer look in the NHL soon.

Nick Robertson (NHL / Toronto Maple Leafs & AHL / Toronto Marlies / LW)

Recently recovered from a tough injury to start the season partway through his first regular-season NHL game, Robertson posted nine points in ten games with the Marlies before being recalled to the Leafs’ taxi squad earlier this week.

Kiefer Sherwood (NHL / Colorado Avalanche & AHL / Colorado Eagles / RW)

On one of the strongest teams in the league this season, Sherwood has been a solid depth player again this season. Bouncing between the fourth line, taxi squad, and AHL team for the Avalanche, he has strong underlying numbers, with a 61.8% Corsi For actually leading the team.

Cliff Pu (AHL / Cleveland Monsters / RW)

Pu has a pair of assists in four AHL games this season as he looks to get his career back on track.

Kole Sherwood (AHL / Cleveland Monsters / RW)

After accepting his qualifying offer, Sherwood was loaned to Kunlun Red Star Beijing in the KHL although soon returned for training camp with the Blue Jackets. He has spent this season in the AHL, and has missed a fe games with an injury.

Pavel Shen (AHL / Providence Bruins & KHL / HK Sochi / C)

On loan to HK Sochi in his native Russia earlier this season, Shen returned to North America to join the Bruins’ farm team where he’s posted a pair of points in eight AHL games.

Dylan Sikura (AHL / Henderson Silver Knights / RW)

Traded to the Golden Knights this offseason, Sikura has had a solid year with 10 points in 13 AHL games for their farm team’s inaugural season as their fourth-leading scorer.

Tyler Sikura (AHL / Cleveland Monsters / C)

Also his team’s fourth-leading scorer, Sikura’s older brother is now a veteran in his sixth AHL season, and has posted five points in eight games.

Ryan Suzuki (AHL / Chicago Wolves / C)

Suzuki played for Team Canada at this year’s World Juniors, winning a silver medal, before starting his professional career with the Chicago Wolves in the AHL. The Hurricanes’ first-round-pick in 2019, he has 6 points in 13 games in a unique experience playing professional hockey before he’s usually eligible due to the OHL’s stoppage.

Mitchell Vande Sompel (AHL / Bridgeport Sound Tigers / D)

A high-octane scorer in junior, Vande Sompel was injured for all of last season but has returned to Bridgeport’s lineup this year.

Jett Woo (AHL / Utica Comets / D)

The Vancouver Canucks’ 2018 second-round-pick made his professional debut this year with the Utica Comets where he’s earned a prominent role on the team, playing in all situations. Woo’s skating, physcality, and steady game all point to a promising path to the NHL.

Oleg Li (KHL / Sibir Novosibirsk / RW)

A seven-year KHL veteran, Li was second on his team in scoring this year with 17 goals and 31 points in 56 games. With the KHL playoffs well underway, Sibir Novosibirsk’s season is now over.

Luke Lockhart (KHL / Kunlun Red Star Beijing / RW)

KRS Beijing had a tough season, spending almost all of their time on the road as a barnstorming team as they were unable to play games at home in Beijing. The team’s captin, Lockhart spent the season centering the team’s first line beside Tyler Wong and Spencer Foo. Lockhart’s 11 goals and 21 points in 53 games were good for fifth on the team and career-highs in his fourth KHL season.

Rachel Llanes (Russia WHL / Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays / F)

After winning the WHL Championship in their inaugural season, the Rays have had another terrific season, returning to the finals which are still yet to come. Now in her eigth professional season, Llanes has been a significant contributor to the team’s success, with 14 goals and 34 points in 28 games, tied for eigth in scoring league-wide.

Jessica Wong (Russia WHL / Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays / D)

Scoring over a point per game, Wong has been another key reason for the team’s success both this season and last, as the former CWHL first-overall pick in 2013 has formed a world-class top defensive pairing with US Olympian Megan Bozek.

Kimberly Newell (Russia WHL / Shenzhen KRS Vanke Rays / G)

Newell has started most of the team’s games this season, and leads the league in all categories with a sparkling 0.961 save percentage and 0.72 GAA in 18 games while also posting 6 shutouts.

Jordan Spence (QMJHL / Val-d’Or Foreurs / D)

After winning a silver medal on Team Canada in this year’s World Juniors, Spence was traded to the Foreurs, where he’s continued his prolific junior scoring at over a point per game, posting 14 points in 13 games since arriving in Val-d’Or.

Jordan Kawaguchi (NCAA / University of North Dakota/ C)

UND’s captain, Kawaguchi had an outstanding senior season leading his team to a NCHC championship while also leading the league in scoring with 34 points in 26 games. After generating significant NHL interest after his junior year last season, he’ll likely again have his choice of NHL teams to sign with.

A more comprehensive list of hockey players of Asian descent can be found on the database here.