Toronto Maple Leafs: Whatever Happened to Nikolai Borschevsky?

Toronto Maple Leafs - NHL 2020 (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs - NHL 2020 (Photo by Jeff Vinnick/Getty Images) /

Former Toronto Maple Leafs right winger, Nikolai Borschevsky, may have only been with the team for a brief moment in time, but he’ll forever be remembered in our hearts.

I love retro gaming and one of the greatest games of all time is NHL 94.  I loved it as a kid, and I still play it today.  Obviously, I usually play as the Toronto Maple Leafs.  I love the pixelated images of each teams starting lineup.  Starting on right wing you’ll see Nikolai Borschevsky, and after Doug Gilmour, he’s the next best forward on the team.

Nikolai Borschevsky was selected in the fourth round (77th overall) in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft by the Toronto Maple Leafs at the age of 27.

It would be absolutely ridiculous to draft a  27 year-old player today, but at the time, drafting Russian players was still relatively new and the fall of the Soviet Union made it easier than ever to import Russian players from overseas.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Nikolai Borschevsky

Nikolai Borschevsky played for the Toronto Maple Leafs right after they drafted him, and he exploded onto the NHL scene scoring 34 goals and 74 points in 78 games.  That would be the Toronto Maple Leafs rookie record, but the NHL hasn’t recognized players over 25 as rookies since Sergei Makarov won the Calder trophy in 1989 at the age of 31.  The Toronto Maple Leafs rookie scoring record now belongs to Auston Matthews with 69 points in 82 games.

The most memorable moment of Nikolai Borschevsky’s NHL career came in the 1993 NHL playoffs.  Borschevsky had suffered a cracked orbital bone in Game 1 of the first round series between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Detroit Red Wings and was expected to be out for at least the remained of the series.  However, Nikolai Borschevsky returned for Game 7 to score the historic overtime winner that advanced the Toronto Maple Leafs to second round.

Nikolai Borschevsky was the type of player fans loved.  Not only was he fast with skilled hands and an amazing shot, he also played hard, battled in the corners and was fearless despite his small statue at only 5’8″.

Nikolai Borschevsky’s style of play quickly caught up to him.  During the 1993-94 season, he suffered a severely separated shoulder and later a ruptured spleen that could’ve killed him.  The NHL was a much more physical league back then and a lot of damage was done to his relatively small frame.

Despite the injures, Nikolai Borschevsky was able to product decent numbers in the 1993-94 season putting up 14 goals and 35 points in 45 games but was only able to produce 4 points in 15 post-season game.

After starting the 1994-95 NHL shortened season goalless and with only 4 assists in 19 games, it became apparent that Nikolai Borschevsky was on a downward spiral.  The Toronto Maple Leafs shipped Nikolai Borschevsky to the Calgary Flames the day before the trade deadline for a mere 6th round pick.

After a glimpse of brilliance on the Toronto Maple Leafs, it was sad to see what Nikolai Borschevsky had become.  Instead of being the hard-nosed, speedy grinder that fans loved, he was reduced to and injury-prone perimeter player.

After finishing the 1994-95 season with the Calgary Flames, Nikolai Borschevsky signed with the Dallas Stars but could only muster a mere 4 points in 12 games before ending his NHL career.  Nikolai Borschevsky would have a couple decent years back in Russia before hanging up the skates for good.

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After retiring as a player in 1998, Nikolai Borschevsky opened a hockey school in the Greater Toronto Area.  In 2004, he began coaching the Toronto Red Wings in the GTHL before moving back to Russia to coach in the Russian Super League in 2006.

He last served as head coach of Amur Khabarovsk in the KHL during the 2018-19 season.