29 matches, 7 (0+7) points, +8 plus/minus rating, 10 penalty minutes
4 matches, +2 plus/minus rating
HOW THE SEASON TURNED OUT
In the summer, Dinar Khafizullin went through the pre-season process with the first team, but he trained in accordance with an individual program due to injury issues. Nevertheless, as the end of autumn approached, the defenseman was able to train with the main group and subsequently made his maiden appearance of the 2019/2020 KHL campaign against HC Amur in Khabarovsk.
It's worth noting that fellow defensemen Anton Belov, Lukas Bengtsson and Vasily Tokranov were also on the sidelines with injuries during the first stage of the regular season.
On December 19, Dinar competed in one line with Artyom Zub in the KHL Russian Classic against CSKA Moscow at the Gazprom Arena, and the pair ended up playing together for 17 matches. Dinar was paired up with the young Danila Galenyuk after Artyom received an injury in the opening game of the Gagarin Cup playoff series against Vityaz Podolsk.
Interestingly, Dinar became SKA's most productive defenseman in matches against CSKA Moscow in the KHL, boasting 12 (3+9) points in those games. He has participated in a grand total of 339 KHL games for SKA - more than any other defenseman.
"I try to play well in order for the team to rely on me, rather than becoming famous. I don't like to show off at all," stated the 31-year-old when speaking to the media in the campaign.
In the first round of the playoffs against Vityaz, Dinar initially struggled after Zub was ruled out with an injury, but he rapidly improved over the course of the series and SKA didn't concede a single goal with him on the ice after the second match. SKA will be hoping for Dinar to continue performing with such reliability when the sport returns in the summer.