Here is a little bit about my ice hockey career thus far. I currently play for the Florida Panthers of the National Hockey League (NHL). I was selected by the Panthers in the first round (second overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. My father, Aleksander Barkov Sr., is a former Russian hockey player and he gave me the spark for playing hockey. I have Russian citizenship due to my Russian roots, but I have spent my whole life in Finland. I grew up in Tampere where I started my ice hockey journey in the Tappara Junior Organization. At an early stage I also made my choice to represent the Finnish National team instead of playing for Russia.
While playing in the Finnish National Hockey League, (SM-Liiga) for Tappara, I broke several records. Some of these records included: youngest player to score a point and player to score a goal and earn the most points as an under 20-year-old player. I also broke several Finnish National team records, such as the youngest player to play in the Olympic Games and the youngest player to score at the U20 World Championships. However, the most memorable record for me is the youngest player to score a goal in the NHL in modern history. This accomplishment happened on October 4th, 2013 when I scored in my first NHL game against the Dallas Stars.
My transition from SM-Liiga to the NHL happened surprisingly smooth. I was quickly able to adjust my playing style and my skating methods to be more suitable for the NHL. Also, the amazing support from all of my teammates at the time helped a lot. My 2015-2016 season with the Panthers was my best season yet. Our team worked our way to the playoffs after a long drought. I scored 59 points in 66 games during the regular season and another 3 points in the 6 playoff games we played against the New York Islanders. After being eliminated from the playoffs, I was able to join the Finnish National squad for the 2016 World Championships in Russia. We ended that season on a good note, being rewarded with silver medals for our efforts. During the 2016-2017 season with the Panthers, we did not make the playoffs and had some difficulties within the team. Now we are preparing for the 2018 season and in my opinion are stronger than ever as a team. We look forward to hit the playoffs as well as go as far as possible towards the Stanley Cup Finals.