|He made his NHL debut with the Devils
against the Hartford Whalers on December 19, 1991, and scored his first
goal a week later against the New York Islanders.
|Prior to his NHL career Zelepukin
played with Khimik in the Soviet league and toured NHL cities with his
club team in 1989, 1990 and 1991. In International Hockey he represented
the Soviet Union at the 1988 World Junior Hockey Championship and at the
1991 World Hockey Championship. He was also a member of the Russian
team during the 1996 World Cup of Hockey and the 1998 Olympic Games, where
he was a silver medallist.
|Four games into the 1995 season
Zelepukin suffered an eye injury during a Devils practice that kept him
out of the lineup for the balance of the regular season. He recovered
sufficiently to return for the playoffs and appeared in 18 games as the
Devils went on to win the Stanley Cup.
|Essentially he was the prototypical
New Jersey Devil, but his offensive output dropped off dramatically after
his injury. His statistical maladies, coupled with the depth of two-way
talent on the Devils, led to his being packaged in a four-player deal to
Edmonton on January 4, 1998.
|His stay with the Oilers was short-lived
and he was on the move again, this time to Philadelphia, just prior to
the start of the 1998-99 season.