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Uvis Balinskis - 28th Latvian hockey player in NHL

Uvis Balinskis playing for Florida Panthers on October 12, 2023 became the 28th Latvian hockey player who has played in NHL. At the age of 27 Uvis Balinskis is the 3rd oldest Latvian NHL debutant and doesn't qualify as a rookie. Balinskis is surpassed by Viktors Ignatjevs who was 28 years old when he played his first game for Pittsburgh Penguins and Helmuts Balderis who was 37 years old when he played for Minnesota North Stars.

Uvis Balinskis is 7th Latvian hockey player who has played in NHL signed as a free agent,

  1. Goalie Peteris Skudra made his debut in 1997-98 playing for Pittsburgh Penguins and played a total of 147 regular season games in 6 seasons for 4 teams

  2. Forward Herberts Vasiljevs made his debut in 1998-99 playing for Florida Panthers and played a total of 51 game in 4 seasons for 3 teams

  3. Forward Raitis Ivanans made his debut in 2005-06 season playing for Montreal Canadiens and played a total of 282 games in 7 seasons for 3 teams

  4. Forward Ronalds Kenins made his debut in 2014-15 season playing for Vancouver Canucks and played 38 game in 2 seasons

  5. Goalie Matiss Kivlenieks made his debut in 2019-20 season playing for Columbus Blue Jackets and played 8 games in 2 seasons

  6. Defenseman Kristians Rubins made his debut in 2022-23 season playing 3 games for Toronto Maple Leafs

Chart of how many Latvian hockey players have played in NHL by position and status.

Uvis Balinskis is also a 6th Latvian hockey player who has played for Florida Panthers.

From previous 21 skater 10 hasn't played more than 10 regular season games in their debut season so let us hope for a great season for Balinskis and Panthers.

P.S. By the way Uvis Balinskis seems to be a one of those few European players who has made his debut in NHL by skipping minor leagues, I haven't checked out how many of Latvian players has made that jump but it looks like I should.


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2021-22 NHL season is the 30th NHL season in a row with at least one Latvian hockey player who has played in a regular season.

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