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NHL Draft: 27 Out of 31

By WBH, 06/19/19, 11:30AM CDT

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As recently as two years ago, the Ottawa Senators, Winnipeg Jets, and Minnesota Wild had never drafted a Waterloo Black Hawk.  Shane Bowers, Dylan Samberg, and Nick Swaney changed that in 2017.  For good measure, the Jets followed up by choosing another Black Hawk - Jared Moe - in 2018.

That leaves just four NHL clubs who have never picked a Waterloo player either before, during, or after his time in a Hawks sweater.  Perhaps the list will shrink even farther in 2019 as Vladislav Firstov, Matej Blumel, and others with ties to Waterloo anxiously await the 217 selections which will be made Friday and Saturday in Vancouver.

Here are the NHL teams who have not taken a Black Hawk during the NHL Draft, and a few others who haven’t done so during the 21st Century:

Vegas Golden Knights

Ok, we’ll give the Golden Knights a break.  This will be just their third go-round on draft day.  By the way, the only club to choose a Waterloo player within the first two seasons of becoming an NHL expansion franchise was the San Jose Sharks.  In their first draft (1991), they claimed a pair of Black Hawks: Dean Grillo and Corwin Saurdiff.

Arizona Coyotes

Arizona has never drafted a Black Hawk, but last summer they made a deal to get one…from the Blackhawks.  The Chicago Blackhawks chose Vinnie Hinostroza in 2012 after his second season with the Waterloo Black Hawks.  

Any disappointment Hinostroza may have felt about leaving his hometown team in Chicago was probably overshadowed by his success in Phoenix.  He played in more NHL games (72) with more goals and assists (16 and 23) than at any point during his professional career to date.

Edmonton Oilers

Like Arizona, the Oilers had a former Black Hawk on their roster in 2018/19.  Patrick Russell made his NHL debut in November and skated in six games for Edmonton.  This spring, Russell inked his third contract with the Oilers, who originally signed him as a free agent out of St. Cloud State in 2016 and extended the deal another year last summer.  

Chris Ferraro was actually the first former Waterloo skater to appear for Edmonton, dressing for two games in 1998/99.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Based strictly on the number of games he played in the NHL, Mark Eaton is among the most successful Black Hawks alumni ever.  The defenseman is one of only two Hawks to have celebrated a Stanley Cup championship, and he did that with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Besides raising the Cup in 2009, many of Eaton’s most productive seasons were spent in Pittsburgh from 2006 to 2010, with a brief return to the organization in 2013 for his final NHL games.  

As with Edmonton, the Ferraro brothers also provide a link between the Black Hawks and the Penguins: both Chris and Peter played in Pittsburgh during 1997/98.

It’s Been Awhile…

Looking back in the archives, there might be a few NHL organizations who are due to pick a Waterloo player.  The last time these teams did so was before the prospects who are being chosen this year were born:

St. Louis Blues: 1999, Phil Osaer
Colorado Avalanche: 1997, Doug Schmidt
New Jersey Devils: 1994, Scott Swanjord
New York Rangers: 1992, Peter Ferraro and Chris Ferraro
Detroit Red Wings: 1986, Tom Bissett

Bissett and both Ferraros went on to debut in the NHL with the respective teams which drafted them.