24 March 2019
Red Star’s third season of KHL competition saw three players go beyond the landmark of 100 appearances for the club. In total, the club has contested 178 regular season games and five playoff fixtures. Thus, Kunlun’s leading appearance maker has suited up in 76% of all the team’s KHL games.
1) Joonas Jarvinen (139 games, including 5 in the playoffs)
Our big Finnish defenseman has been part of all three of the club’s seasons so far. By the end of last season, he had reached exactly 100 appearances before returning to his homeland to play for Tappara. But the lure of the Orient proved too strong: Joonas was back with Red Star in November and played a further 39 games. He added 7 (2+5) points to his account as well and has 24 (6+18) in total. During his time with Red Star, Jarvinen also represented Finland at the World Championship. He made six appearances in the 2017 edition in Paris and Cologne, helping his country to the semi finals.
2) Zach Yuen (122 games, including 5 in the playoffs)
A versatile player, ever willing to play on defense or offense, Zach was an ever-present in Kunlun’s first season in the KHL. Along the way, he became a popular figure with local fans – the first Chinese-eligible player to score in the big league. Since then, Vancouver-born Zach has had a stint with our farm club, but bounced back to return to the KHL team and continued to make a solid contribution during the current campaign. He reached 100 appearances on November 29 in our 3-0 win at home to HC Sochi and became the first Chinese heritage player at the club to achieve that landmark. Along the way, Zach has contributed 17 (7+10) points.
3) Brandon Yip (110 games, all regular season)
Club captain, record-breaking goalscorer and third on our list of appearances, Brandon Yip has established himself as a key part of the club. Arriving at the beginning of last season after a successful stint in Germany, Yip played 48 times for 18 points in his rookie KHL campaign. But, with a year’s experience to draw on, the 33-year-old from British Columbia stepped up in his second season. Ever present, he potted 36 (21+15) points to lead the team’s scoring and set a new record for goals in one campaign; as captain he played a big role in helping our young contingent of local talent adapt to the challenges of elite level hockey. Game #100 came on Jan. 24 in a tight loss at home to Salavat Yulaev; future challenges for one of our Chinese heritage stars could soon include a role with the national team as Brandon completes his progress towards dual citizenship.
Last season also saw Tomi Karhunen return to the club. The Finn was a big player in our first season and featured briefly at the start of the second campaign before moving on to join Vityaz. This time around, he joined up with Jussi Tapola, with whom he had won a Finnish championship at Tappara, and took his tally of appearances for Kunlun to 51 (47 regular season, four playoff games). That equals the 51 appearances Magnus Hellberg made in the 2017/18 season before he earned his big move to SKA St. Petersburg and Karhunen a share of the club appearance record for a goalie.
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