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Then and Now: Nikolay Zherdev

Many of the biggest names in today’s NHL were selected in the first round of the 2003 draft. After Marc-Andre Fleury, Eric Staal, and Nathan Horton were picked with the first three overall picks, the Columbus Blue Jackets picked Nikolay Zherdev. Thomas Vanek, Milan Michalek, and Ryan Suter were the next three players to be picked after Zherdev, as the group of Braydon Coburn, Dion Phaneuf, Jeff Carter, Dustin Brown, Brent Seabrook, Zach Parise, Ryan Getzlaf, Brent Burns, Ryan Kesler, Mike Richards, Brian Boyle, and Corey Perry were also taken in the opening round of the draft 10 years ago. …

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Then and Now: Mika Pyorala

Mika Pyorala was signed by the Philadelphia Flyers in June of 2009. Even though the Finn never played a game in the NHL, the Flyers believed Pyorala proved himself enough in the SM-liiga and Elitserien to earn a shot in North America. With a cap hit of $500,000 for the 2009-2010 season, Pekka Rinne’s brother-in-law posted pretty decent numbers for the Flyers and the Phantoms. In his 36 games with the Orange and Black, Pyorala had two goals and two assists. His first goal as a Flyer was important, as he potted one in a 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Kings on November …