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Career In A Flash - Artom Zhumbayev
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Career In A Flash - Artom Zhumbayev

Artom Zhumbayev hung up the pads for good and officially retired as a professional hockey player from the Simulation Hockey League at the conclusion of Season 46. Zhumbayev had a storied career that stretched through ten SHL seasons and four SMJHL seasons. Artom first joined SHL’s junior league, the SMJHL in Season 34 when he was selected in the late going of the second round, fifteenth overall of the SMJHL Entry Draft by the Prince George Firebirds (now the Anchorage Armada). His draft stock rose quite a bit from the time of his SMJHL draft up until the time of the Season 35 SHL Entry Draft and thus, was selected in the first round with the ninth overall selection by the Winnipeg Jets. The Kazakh born netminder spent Season 34 until the completion of Season 37 in Prince George, compiling a regular season record of 85-68-15 in 168 contests. He also had career SMJHL numbers of a 0.893 save percentage, a 2.71 goals against average, nine shutouts and seven assists. Zhumbayev posted a SMJHL playoff record of 18-14-4 with a 0.882 save percentage of and a 3.03 goals against average, one shutout and one assist but was not able to capture a 4 Star Cup Championship. At the SHL level, Artom spent the entirety of his career with the Winnipeg Jets and finished with a regular season record of 233-126-40 with a 0.908 save percentage, a 2.76 goals against average, sixteen shutouts and seventeen assists. During SHL playoff action, he posted a record of 46-40-6 with a 0.903 save percentage and a 3.07 goals against average, two shutouts and three assists. Zhumbayev won the John McBride Trophy as SHL’s top goaltender in Season 41 and Season 43 as well as the Mike Honcho Trophy for allowing the least goals against in those same seasons, an Anton Razov Trophy as playoff MVP in Season 44 with a Challenge Cup victory and IIHF Bronze Medal in what would be a banner year for him. It is clear that Artom Zhumbayev found success throughout his career but now we will take a look at how he did on a season by season basis.

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Season 34
Artom Zhumbayev became the starting goaltender for the Prince George Firebirds immediately after being drafted by the franchise and in his rookie SMJHL season, he had some decent numbers. Artom suited up for 44 games, posting a 22-19-3 record with a save percentage of 0.890, a goals against average of 2.74, no shutouts and three assists, helping Prince George to a 25-21-4 regular season record, good for sixth in the league. Artom and the Firebirds had a successful playoff run, losing in the semifinals to the St. Louis Scarecrows in seven games and he put up a 7-4-2 playoff record with a 0869 save percentage and 3.08 goals against average.

Season 35
After being drafted to the SHL by the Winnipeg Jets, Zhumbayev was sent back down to his junior team, the Prince George Firebirds to gain some more experience and develop his game in Season 35. He improved on most of his statistical numbers from the previous season, posting a 0.901 save percentage, 2.47 goals against average, four shutouts and a 20-20-4 record, contributing to a Prince George sixth place finish and 24-22-4 regular season record. The Season 35 SMJHL playoffs were not so kind to Artom and the Firebirds who bowed out in the opening round to the Colorado Mammoths in six games, a 2-4-0 record, 0.881 save percentage and 3.63 goals against average for him.

Season 36
The Winnipeg Jets sent Artom Zhumbayev down to Prince George once more for more development in Season 36 and he put up some of his best numbers to date as an SMJHLer in that season, posting a 23-16-4 regular season record, a save percentage of 0.896, a 2.68 goals against average, three shutouts and three assists. The Firebirds finished fifth in league standings with a 26-19-5 record and found more success in the playoffs. Prince George went to the semifinals for the second time in three seasons but fell short once more in a heartbreaking seven game series loss to the Halifax Raiders. Artom had an outstanding playoffs individually, putting up a 0.915 save percentage, 2.36 goals against average, one shutout, one assist and a 11-7-3 record.

Season 37
Artom Zyhumbayev was sent down to the Prince George Firebirds of the SMJHL for one last season of development in Season 37 but he struggled between the pipes for the Firebirds, finishing with a regular season record of 20-13-4 with a 0.886 save percentage, 2.98 goals against average, two shutouts and one assist, surprisingly Prince George’s best regular season finish in his tenure at 27-19-4 and a fourth place finish. Artom also played six games for the Jets in the SHL, posting a 3-3-0 record with a 0.902 save percentage and a goals against average of 3.17, a very decent start to his SHL career in limited action. During the Season 37 SMJHL playoffs, Prince George was ousted in the opening round, dropping a six game series to a familiar foe, the St. Louis Scarecrows. Zhumbayev went 2-3-0 with terrible numbers of a 0.873 save percentage and 3.53 goals against average.

Season 38
Season 38 was the first full season in the SHL for Artom Zhumbayev who took the goaltending reigns over from Lukas Berger and he would be the man in the crease of the defending Challenge Cup Champions, the Winnipeg Jets. Zhumbayev put up a good rookie season, backstopping the Jets to a 35-12-3 regular season record with “AZ” finishing with a personal record of 32-9-3 record. Artom finished the season with a 0.905 save percentage, 2.87 goals against average, two shutouts and three assists. Winnipeg made some noise in the playoffs and looked to be on their way to contending for another Challenge Cup but eventually lost in six games to the Calgary Dragons in the Western Conference finals. Zhumbayev posted a 6-6-1 playoff record with. a save percentage of 0.899, 3.28 goals against average and one assist. He failed to win the Ryan Jesster Trophy as SHL’s top rookie but was named to the all-rookie all star team.

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Season 39
In his sophomore season with the Winnipeg Jets, Artom Zhumbayev took a big step forward in terms of individual statistics, finishing the regular season with a record of 28-14-1 with a 0.914 save percentage and 2.62 goals against average. He added three shutouts and two assists and this helped the Jets to a 31-18-1 regular season record. They advanced to the Western Conference finals of the Challenge Cup Playoffs once more and not unlike the previous season, lost the series in six games, to the Los Angeles Panthers this time. Zhumbayev posted a dismal 0.888 save percentage and 3.51 goals against average in those playoffs with a 6-7-0 record. Despite the fact that Artom had himself and the Jets a great regular season, he was not able to bring home any awards nor was he named to one of the all-star teams.

Season 40
In his third season in the big leagues, Artom Zhumbayev dipped back down a bit as for as statistical success is concerned, posting a 27-10-7 record in the regular season with a save percentage of 0.902, a goals against average of 2.84, one shutout and two assists, backstopping the Winnipeg Jets to a 42-11-7 record. For a third straight season, the Jets went to the Western Conference finals of the playoffs and for the third straight season, bowed out, in seven games to the Calgary Dragons this time around. Artom has a better playoffs, posting a 7-6-1 postseason record, a 0.902 save percentage, 3.01 goals against average and two assists. Zhumbayev was not able to win any awards or be named to one of the all-star teams again in his young career.

Season 41
In Seaaon 41, Artom Zhumbayev took a very big step in his development and had a tremendous season, finishing the regular season with a 31-9-4 record, 0.911 save percentage, 2.53 goals against average, three shutouts and two assists to help the Jets to a 36-9-5 record. Once again, Winnipeg and Artom advanced through the playoffs to the Western Conference finals but once more, were eliminated there by the Los Angeles Panthers in seven games. Zhumbayev had his best playoffs to date, posting a 7-5-1 record with a 0.906 save percentage, 3.10 goals against average and two shutouts. He was named to the first team all-star team as well as winning to John McBride Trophy as SHL’s best goaltender and the Mike Honcho Trophy for allowing the least goals against at the conclusion of the season.

Season 42
During Season 42, Artom Zhumbayev put up some decent numbers, finishing the regular season with a 21-19-4 record with a 0.903 save percentage, 2.89 goals against average, a single shutout and a pair of assists. The Winnipeg Jets record at the conclusion of the regular season was 25-21-4 and for the first time in Zhumbayev’s career as a Jet, they failed to qualify for the Challenge Cup Playoffs. Artom did not receive any awards at season’s end or make the cup to be named to one of the SHL all-star teams.

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Season 43
Season 43 was another great one for Zhumbayev who made it to the 30 win plateau once more with a 30-12-2 record, 0.906 save percentage, 2.78 goals against average, a shutout and three assists to help lead the Winnipeg Jets to a 34-14-2 regular season record and back into the playoffs. The Jets playoff run was a long one that took them to the Challenge Cup Finals but they lost in four games to the West Kendall Platoon. Artom had a good playoff run too, recording a 8-7-2 record with a save percentage of 0.900 and a goals against average of 2.91. Again, Artom Zhumbayev took home the John McBride and Mike Honcho Trophies at the season ending awards show and was named a first team all-star.

Season 44
Season 44 was a banner year for Artom Zhumbayev and the Winnipeg Jets, finishing the regular season with a 0.910 save percentage, 2.64 goals against average, two shutouts, one assist and a record of 24-14-6, he led Winnipeg to another playoff berth and a 29-15-6 record. Artom was lights out during the playoffs, posting a 0.915 save percentage,  2.67 goals against average and a 12-6-0 record to lead Winnipeg to a Challenge Cup victory over the West Kendall Platoon in six games. Zhumbayev did not win any regular season awards but was awarded the Anton Razov Trophy as SHL’s playoff MVP and topped it off with a silver medal with Team Latvia in the IIHF.

Season 45
Season 45 was another good one statistically for Artom Zyhumbayev who posted a 21-7-6 record and once again, another 0.910 save percentage season with a 2.85 goals against average and matching his two shutouts and one assist from one season ago. The Winnipeg Jets finished the regular season at a 23-19-8 record, qualifying for the playoffs in a third straight season but were swept in four straight games by the Texas Renegades. Zhumbayev had decent playoff numbers, recording a 0.906 save percentage, 3.60 goals against average and a 0-3-1 record.  He was not able to win any individual awards but was named to the third team all-star team.

Season 46
In his final season as a professional hockey player in the SHL, Artom Zyhumbayev did everything in his power to get the Winnipeg Jets to the playoffs and one last chance at a Challenge Cup but it was not enough as Winnipeg failed to qualify for the postseason. Artom finished with a 17-19-7 record, a save percentage of 0.915, a goals against average of 2.75 with one shutout and one assist. Again, Zhumbayev failed to bring any hardware home nor was he named to any of the all-star teams.

It is clear that Artom Zhumbayev had himself very successful career, playing every second of his SHL time with the Winnipeg Jets but was it successful enough to warrant a hall of fame induction? The answer to that question will become apparent in due time as he will eligible for the first time and will appear on his first ballot in the offseason following Season 48 and prior to the start of Season 49.

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Respect to a great opponent

Cheers

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