2009-10: Anton Zlobin skated for the Spartak Moscow club and played for Russia in the 2009 U17 Four Nations Tournament and 2010 U17 World Hockey Challenge. In 46 games for Spartak’s U17 team he scored 46 goals with 44 assists and had 77 penalty minutes. In three games at the Four Nations tournament in Slovakia he scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was plus-one with 4 penalty minutes. Zlobin was the third-leading scorer for the Russian team that finished fourth at the WHC. In six games he scored 2 goals with 8 assists and had 10 penalty minutes. He was selected by Dynamo Moscow in the first round (20th overall) of the 2010 KHL Draft and was chosen by Shawinigan (QMJHL) in the first round (15th overall) of the 2010 CHL Import Draft.
2010-11: Zlobin played 59 regular season games for Shawinigan in his first season in North America and tied for the team lead with five playoff goals. Playing in primarily a third line role for much of the season, he scored 23 goals with 22 assists and was plus-ten with 28 penalty minutes. The Cataractes finished fourth in the West Division and reached the second round of the playoffs. In 12 playoff games he scored 5 goals with 1 assist and was minus-one with 2 penalty minutes.
2011-12: Zlobin’s final goal of the season was a memorable one – an overtime game-winner to give Shawinigan a 2-1 win in the Memorial Cup championship game. The goal capped off an impressive second half for Zlobin, who seemed to take his game to another level in mid-December. The leading scorer for the Cataractes during the regular season, he scored 40 goals with 36 assists and was plus-42 with 50 penalty minutes. Shawinigan finished first in the East Division of the re-aligned QMJHL. After losing in the second round of the league playoffs, the Cataractes participated in the Memorial Cup as the host team. In 12 playoff games Zlobin was plus-nine with 3 goals and 7 assists. Zlobin was the second-leading scorer in the Memorial Cup tournament behind teammate Michael Chaput (Columbus); scoring 5 goals with 4 assists and finishing plus-four in six games. In his second year of draft eligibility, he was ranked 137th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and was selected by Pittsburgh in the sixth round (173rd overall) of the 2012 NHL Draft.
2012-13: Obtained by Val d’Or from Shawinigan in a QMJHL Draft Day deal in June, Zlobin was the leading scorer for the Foreurs and finished tied for fourth in the QMJHL with 62 assists. He scored 29 goals in 61 regular season games and was +9 with 43 penalty minutes. Val d’Or finished fourth in the West Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Zlobin scored 2 goals, both on the power play, and had 8 assists in 10 playoff games and was an even plus/minus with 4 penalty minutes. Zlobin signed a three-year entry-level contract with Pittsburgh in April of 2013.
2013-14: Zlobin made his pro hockey debut with Penguins’ AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton as a 20-year-old in November after off-season shoulder surgery and then skated in nine games with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers before being re-called. In 46 AHL regular season games he scored 8 goals with 11 assists and was +15 with 16 penalty minutes. The Penguins finished second in the East Division and reached the AHL Eastern Conference finals. Zlobin scored six goals in 15 playoff games, two behind veteran Chuck Kobasew for the team lead, and was +3 with 4 assists and 4 penalty minutes. In 10 ECHL games with the Nailers, including one game in February, he scored 5 goals with 6 assists and was -1 with 4 penalty minutes.
2014-15: Zlobin played in six games for the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins — suffering an injury in mid-October that eventually required season-ending surgery in December 2015. He was -3 with no points nor penalties in limited ice time.
2015-16: Zlobin skated in 12 regular season games with the AHL’s Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in his third season in the Pittsburgh organization, spending most of the year in the ECHL with the Wheeling Nailers. He scored 3 goals with 2 assists and was -1 with 2 penalty minutes playing for the Penguins. Zlobin scored 10 goals with 13 assists and was -2 with 25 penalty minutes in 41 regular season games for Wheeling. The Nailers finished second in the North Division, defeating the Florida Everblades in a first-round series and facing Reading in the Eastern Conference semifinals. Zlobin scored 1 goal and was -2 with 8 penalty minutes in four playoff games.
Zlobin was a goal-scoring forward at the junior level who is still finding his way at the professional level. He has good hands and a knack for scoring big goals, but lacks the hockey sense to be a dynamic presence offensively. He also watches the puck occasionally, which opens him up for some hard hits. Recovering from back-to-back surgeries on the same shoulder, Zlobin must get stronger and stay healthy in order to even get close to meeting his potential.
Zlobin played just 12 games with Penguins AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in 2015-16, spending most of the year in the ECHL. Viewed as a potential late-round steal when he was selected in the sixth round in 2012 because of his offensive tools, Zlobin has been slowed by injuries and has yet to display the two-way game to play at the higher levels. He would become an unrestricted free agent if not re-signed by the Penguins this summer. Long-term he remains a long-shot to reach the NHL and may end up playing out his career at the minor level or in Europe.