Top 5: Rating the best European players in Vancouver Giants’ history


Here’s our top five import players ever, excluding the Swedes, for the Vancouver Giants.

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Goalie Jesper Vikman and winger Fabian Lysell playing such crucial roles in their inaugural campaigns with the Vancouver Giants this season got us to thinking about who have been the best European players in the WHL club’s history.

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We’ll hold off on slotting the Swedes on our list just yet. We’ll wait to see how this Giants team manages in the playoffs and then possibly revisit our rankings.

For the time being, though, here’s our top five import players ever for the Giants:

1. Michael Repik (2005-08)

The right-winger from the Czech Republic is the Giants’ all-time leading scorer among European players after putting up 168 points, including 75 goals, in 176 games in three regular seasons. He’s 11th in goals overall and 16th in points.

His best moments as a Giants, though, came in the 2007 Memorial Cup run. The Giants won the national championship out of the host berth and Repik led the four-team tournament based out of the Pacific Coliseum in scoring (three goals and seven points in five games) after having led the WHL playoffs in scoring (10 goals, 26 points in 22 games) earlier that spring.

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All told, I have produced 22 goals and 53 points in 56 WHL playoff and Cup games over three post-seasons with Vancouver.

Repik, 33, who got into 72 NHL games over four seasons, is playing in the Czech pro league for Sparta Praha this year.

2. Milos Roman (2017-20)

It would have been interesting to see what a 20-year-old Roman could have accomplished in the 2020 playoffs, which wound up being wiped out by COVID-19. Roman, too, was a member of the Giants’ club that lost in Game 7 in overtime in the 2019 WHL championship series to the Prince Albert Raiders.

Roman, a Slovak centre, was part of the Giants’ rejuvenation, playing a key role in the 2018 team that made the franchise’s first playoff appearance in four years. All told, he had 61 goals and 139 points in 160 regular-season games with Vancouver over three seasons.

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Roman, 22, helped Slovakia to a Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics bronze medal. He’s playing for Oceláři Třinec of the Czech league.

Roman was a 2018 fourth-round draft pick of the Calgary Flames but never signed with the club.

3. Mario Bliznak (2005-08)

Like Roman, Bliznak was a center from Slovakia. Like Roman, he was diligent defensively in his time with Vancouver.

He didn’t produce offensively at quite the same rate as Roman did with Vancouver, totaling 36 goals and 94 points in 183 regular-season games. He did have one goal and six points in the 2007 Cup.

Bliznak, 34, retired after playing the 2018-19 season with Dukla Trenčín in the Slovakian league. I have played six games in the NHL, all with the Vancouver Canucks.

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4. Andrej Meszaros (2004-05)

Meszaros was the most talented European player the Giants have ever had. The Slovak defenseman played just eleven seasons with Vancouver and only 59 games at that. I have totaled 11 goals and 41 points over that stretch.

That Vancouver team lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Kelowna Rockets in six games. Many players said afterwards that it taught them about what it took to succeed in the playoffs.

Meszaros played 645 games in the NHL. He’s listed as having played two games this year with Dukla Trenčín of the Slovakian league.

5. Marek Tvrdon (2010-13)

Tvrdon had the highest-scoring single season by a Euro with the Giants to date, with his 31 goals and 74 points in 60 games in 2011-12. That was sandwiched between two injury-filled seasons with Vancouver where the Slovak left-winger amassed a combined 14 goals and 33 points over 30 games.

Tvrdon, 29, was a 2011 fourth-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings and bounced around the Wings’ farm system for a time but never got into an NHL game with them. He’s playing in Slovakia this season with Nitra.

[email protected]

twitter:@SteveEwen

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