Viktor Tikhonov (born Viktor Vasilievich Tikhonov on 12 May 12, 1988) is a former Russian professional ice hockey forward for the Chicago Blackhawks who is currently under contract to SKA St. Petersburg of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).
Tikhonov grew up in Los Gatos, California and moved with his family to Lexington, Kentucky in 1994. His late father, Vasily was the goalie coach for the San Jose Sharks' American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate, the Kentucky Thoroughblades. He was heavily involved in the Bluegrass Blades youth hockey program.
Tikhonov was drafted 28th overall by the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft from Russian team Severstal Cherepovets, making it his third time entering the draft as he was passed over in his two previous years of eligibility.
On July 1, 2008, he was signed by the Coyotes to a three-year entry-level contract.
In the following 2008–09 season, Tikhonov made the Coyotes' opening-night roster making his NHL debut on October 12, 2008, against the Columbus Blue Jackets. He played in 61 games scoring 8 goals and 16 points before he was assigned to American Hockey League affiliate, the San Antonio Rampage.
Tikhonov started the 2009–10 season in the AHL with the Rampage and played in 18 games before he opted to take up a loan to regain form with Severstal Cherepovets of the KHL for the remainder of the season on November 27, 2009.
After scoring 14 goals in 25 games (tied for second among Severstal), he was recalled by the Coyotes on March 13, 2010 and rejoined the Coyotes as a part of the practice squad as they reached the first round of the playoffs.
In the 2010–11 season, Tikohonov failed to make the Coyotes' roster for opening night, spending the duration of the year again with the Rampage, posting a then professional high of 33 points in 60 contests.
On August 10, 2011 the Phoenix Coyotes re-signed Tikhonov to a one-year deal and he returned to the KHL to play four seasons for SKA Saint Petersburg, helping capture the Gagarin Cup in his final season with Saint Petersburg in 2014–15 season.
As a free agent, Tikhonov returned to play in North America, signing a one-year contract with then-defending Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks on July 1, 2015.
He made the Blackhawks squad to open the 2015–16 season, playing his first game in the NHL since 2009 in a 3–2 overtime victory against the New York Islanders on October 9, 2015.
Used in a depth role, Tikhonov went scoreless with the Blackhawks in 11 games before he was placed on waivers on December 5, 2015. The following day, he was claimed off waivers by his former club, the Arizona Coyotes.
Unable to reach his offensive upside in the NHL, Tikohonv was not tendered a new contract to remain in Arizona, and as a free agent, he opted to return to his native Russia for a second stint with SKA St. Petersburg on a one-year deal on July 17, 2016.
Regular season and playoffsEdit
|2008–09||San Antonio Rampage||AHL||4||2||1||3||0||—||—||—||—||—|
|2009–10||San Antonio Rampage||AHL||18||2||6||8||12||—||—||—||—||—|
|2010–11||San Antonio Rampage||AHL||60||10||23||33||26||—||—||—||—||—|
|2011–12||SKA St. Petersburg||KHL||42||17||13||30||18||10||4||2||6||4|
|2012–13||SKA St. Petersburg||KHL||39||12||15||27||16||15||10||8||18||20|
|2013–14||SKA St. Petersburg||KHL||52||18||16||34||20||10||2||1||3||2|
|2014–15||SKA St. Petersburg||KHL||49||8||16||24||29||15||1||1||2||4|
Tikhonov won a bronze medal in the 2008 IIHF World Junior Championships with the Russian squad in a game versus Team USA and finished the tournament with five goals & two assists in seven games, and was also named the Best Forward.
In July of 2013, he was named to the preliminary 35-man roster for the Russian 2014 Olympic team.
Tikhonov later won a gold medal in the 2014 IIHF World Championship with Russia and led the tournament in scoring.