Last week the Chicago Blackhawks signed Jujha Khaira to a two-year, $1.95 million deal with a cap hit of $975,000.
Khaira began his career on the Edmonton Oilers, getting drafted in the third round (63rd overall) in the 2012 NHL Draft, and went on to spend the next six seasons playing for the team, appearing in 258 games before now signing with the Chicago Blackhawks.
Over the course of his career playing for the Oilers, Khaira scored 24 goals, recorded 39 assists, and finished with 63 points. Not only will Khaira be playing on a new team next season for the first time in his career, but he will also be making history as he will be the first NHL player of Punjabi descent to play on the Blackhawks.
However Khaira is not the first player of Punjabi-descent to play in the NHL, he is actually the third with Robin Bawa being the first and then Manny Malhotra the second.
As mentioned before Bawa made history becoming the first NHL player of Punjabi-descent to play in the NHL.
Bawa began his NHL career in the 1989-90 season with the Washington Capitals where he played five games and scored one goal. From there he went on to play for the Vancouver Canucks and did not receive too much playing time, only appearing in two games.
Bawa`s best season came in the following season playing under the San Jose Sharks in 1992-93, playing in career-high 42 games, and recording career-high numbers in goals and points with five in both categories.
After having one of his best seasons in the NHL, Bawa played his final season in the NHL with Mighty Ducks of Anaheim for the 1993-94 season. Bawa played 12 games for the Mighty Ducks and recorded his first career assist that year.
Over Bawa`s NHL career he played a total of 61 games, scored six goals, and recorded one assist. However, it is also important to mention that Bawa`s greatest years as a professional hockey came in the WHL playing with Kamloops Blazers.
Malhotra was the second NHL player of Punjabi-descent to play in the league and was drafted in the first round with the seventh overall pick in the 1998 NHL Draft by the New York Rangers.
Malhotra played 16 seasons total in the NHL, playing on the Rangers, Dallas Stars, Columbus Blue Jackets, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Carolina Hurricanes, and the Montreal Canadiens.
Malhorta had his best seasons in the NHL from 2008-11 where he spent his time with three different teams recording at least 30 points in all three seasons.
At the end of Malhorta`s career, he played 991 games, scored 116 goals, recorded 179 assists, and finished with 295 points. The 41-year-old now serves as an assistant coach for his hometown team the Toronto Maple Leafs.