The NHL regular season is officially over and the Stanley Cup Playoffs will begin…sometime. This week, hockey took a step toward returning, albeit without much known yet about exactly when that will happen.
Ten former Black Hawks players appeared during the abbreviated 2019/20 NHL regular season, and seven played for teams which qualified for the expanded 24-team postseason. Here are the numbers and notes from a year not likely to be forgotten anytime soon.
67 GP / 14 G / 17 A / 31 Pts / +6
Key Takeaway – Pavelski reached the 1,000-career games milestone near the midpoint of the season, his first with an organization other than the San Jose Sharks. He needs just eight more points for 800 in his career and continues to climb toward the numbers established by some of the most prominent American players to ever skate in the NHL. And of course, Pavelski has played some of his best hockey in the playoffs, so the coming months will hopefully provide even more excitement.
69 GP / 18 G / 13 A / 31 Pts / +18
Key Takeaway – Before the stoppage, Smith was well on the way to his sixth 20-goal season in nine years as an NHL pro. Note, the +18 plus/minus mark, second-best in his career behind only a +20 in 2017/18. Like Pavelski before last fall, Smith has only played for one NHL club, but he will become an unrestricted free agent during the offseason.
68 GP / 5 G / 17 A / 22 Pts / +1
Key Takeaway – With the addition of several notable offensive players in Arizona, Hinostroza missed out on a good deal of the power play time he had in 2018/19. His point production reflects that, but at the same time, there were other opportunities which opened for Hinostroza to prove his value in a contract year. He will become a restricted free agent after the playoffs.
St. Louis Blues
58 GP / 16 G / 14 A / 30 Pts / +13
Key Takeaway – The defending champions were as good during the regular season as they were in the playoffs last spring. Sanford really shined at times, particularly in January and February. His four-goal game against the Vegas Golden Knights the night before Valentine’s Day was one of the top individual performances across the league this year.
54 GP / 5 G / 13 A / 18 Pts / +13
Key Takeaway – The Sabres are one of the clubs which will not play in the 24-team postseason, but Montour had plenty to be proud of from his first full season in Buffalo. Don’t forget, he missed the first month of the schedule with a hand injury. The +13 plus/minus differential was tops among Sabres players. Montour also now has more NHL points than any other former Waterloo defenseman.
57 GP / 16 G / 29 A / 45 Pts / +4
Key Takeaway – Boeser was just coming back into the lineup when the season went on pause. He had missed over a month with a rib injury. Despite being sidelined for some amount of time during each of his first three seasons, Boeser has still managed a wonderfully productive start. Hopefully he is now completely healed for his first opportunity to skate in the NHL playoffs.
Los Angeles Kings
8 GP / 5-3-0 / 2.64 GAA / .922 SV%
Key Takeaway – Before a call-up in February, Petersen had been the workhorse for the Ontario Reign in the American Hockey League. He has proven he can stand up to the grind of professional hockey, and now the path is clear for him to be on the Kings roster at the start of next season after L.A. traded Jack Campbell to Toronto.
45 GP / 0 G / 5 A / 5 Pts / -11
Key Takeaway – From a lineup standpoint, this was a breakthrough year for Russell. He played in 45 Oilers games after skating in six at the NHL level in his first three seasons with the organization. The 2019/20 campaign included Russell’s first NHL point. Based on his age, Russell will become an unrestricted free agent before next year, with the opportunity to gauge interest from other clubs.
6 GP / 0 G / 1 A / 1 Pt / Ev
Key Takeaway – With an assist during an appearance against the Boston Bruins, Friedman can cross off “first NHL point” from the list of personal hockey milestones. Most importantly, he held his own during a couple of call-ups this year. The offseason should provide an indication of how Friedman fits into the Flyers’ future plans with the expiration of his initial contract.
Los Angeles Kings
6 GP / 1 G / 0 A / 1 Pt / +4
Key Takeaway – His NHL debut against New Jersey on the final day of February came before his 21st birthday. His post-Waterloo accomplishments already include two NCAA championships. It certainly will be a long offseason, but right now the future is very bright for Anderson. He seems likely to be an important piece as L.A. rebuilds toward “contender” status.
Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.