Friday, March 28, 2014

Hnat Domenichelli

Hnat Domenichelli is a clever little player with fantastic hockey sense. The unfortunate part of that statement is the fact that he is little.

Hnat was a scoring sensation in junior with the Kamloops Blazers. The Edmonton native was part of 4 great Blazers teams that won three Memorial Cup championships.He was a key performer on that team, especially in his last two season when he often played with Jarome Iginla.

Hnat was drafted 83rd overall by the Hartford Whalers. Despite putting up 48 points in 39 minor league games and 3 points in 13 games with the Whale, Hnat was traded at the trading deadline to the Calgary Flames in a large package of mostly lesser known players and draft picks. Veteran defenseman Steve Chaisson was the key player going to Hartford.

The Flames acquired Hnat to reunite him with Iginla. The two formed a dynamic scoring tandem and junior and the cash-strapped Flames were hoping that the two buddies would recapture some of that old Kamloops magic.

Hnat finished the 1996-97 season with the Flames but was unimpressive if not disappointing. The rookies scored 3 points in 10 games but it was apparant he wasn't quite ready for the NHL just yet.

In 1997-98 the Flames sent Hnat to their farm team where he lit up the AHL in scoring. He had 33 goals and 46 points in 48 games before getting called up on a more permanent basis with the Flames. And this time Hnat impressed the Flames with his offensive creativity. However his right winger was not Jarome Iginla, instead it was the Flames best player, Theoren Fleury.

Despite a good showing in the late going of the 1997-98 season, Hnat again found himself back playing more games in the minors than the NHL in the 1998-99 season. The reason was simple. He was very slender and easy to knock off the puck. He stands at 6' tall but only weighs around 170lbs.

Hnat, as said earlier, had tremendous hockey sense. A scorer at every level except the NHL, Hnat was a good skater though he lacked that extra gear. He did not shy away from physical contact but because of his body build he wass very ineffective in that aspect of the NHL game.

Domenichelli played 267 games in the NHL but has been in Switzerland since 2003. In 491 Swiss league games he scored 528 points including 240 goals. He also represented Switzerland at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

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