With the 2020/21 NHL schedule reaching its midpoint for many teams, two former Waterloo Black Hawks are among the NHL’s top 25 scorers. Joe Pavelski and Brock Boeser lead their respective teams offensively. Several other alumni are also making increasingly notable contributions.
Today’s progress report comes with 10 matchups on the schedule tonight. Pavelski (Dallas), Craig Smith (Boston) and Brandon Montour (Buffalo) are among the players who could be on the ice this evening.
Joe Pavelski – Dallas Stars
(Waterloo: 2002/03 – 03/04)
Steady production has been the rule for Pavelski, who has goals in his last three games and points in his last four. Stretching back a little farther, the 36-year-old has notched six goals and three assists during 11 Stars contests since February 11th. Although Dallas has been limited to a league-low 21 games, Pavelski is still tied for 23rd in league scoring with 24 points (13 goals, 11 assists). At this time, he is the only NHL player with double-digit power play goals (10).
Craig Smith – Boston Bruins
(Waterloo: 2006/07 – 08/09)
In 13 games since February 5th, Smith has had an even or positive plus/minus differential in all but one game. He has seen between roughly 13 and 17 minutes of ice time for much of that span, getting up to a season-high 17:58 on March 5th during a 5-1 win against the Washington Capitals. Smith had an assist on the game-winning goal that night. For the year, he has four goals and five assists. Smith is on pace to play in his 700th NHL game in mid-April.
Vinnie Hinostroza – Florida Panthers
(Waterloo: 2010/11 – 12/13)
Hinostroza has seen limited action during his first season with the Panthers. He was most recently in the lineup on March 4th versus the Nashville Predators, his seventh game of the year.
Zach Sanford – St. Louis Blues
The month began with Sanford’s biggest night of the season. He produced two goals and an assist against the Anaheim Ducks on March 1st. His shorthanded goal with 1:20 to play was the winning score in the exciting 5-4 game. Sanford had not previously recorded a goal under those circumstances during his NHL career. It was also his third game-winning goal of the season. In 25 games, he has seven total goals, plus three assists.
Brandon Montour – Buffalo Sabres
(Waterloo: 2013/14 – 14/15)
Montour produced his first goal of the season on Tuesday against the Philadelphia Flyers, although Buffalo came up short in a 5-4 shootout. The veteran also has four assists this winter. Montour is within reach of a couple of milestones: he needs just four more points to become the first former Waterloo defenseman to record 100 at the NHL level. He is also four games away from his 100th appearance with the Buffalo Sabres after making his league debut with the Anaheim Ducks.
Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
Despite this season being approximately two-thirds the length of a typical year, Boeser could challenge some of the best scoring marks of his NHL career. He has 14 goals and 15 assists for 29 points in 30 games. During Boeser’s first three seasons, his high-watermark for goals was 29 (2017/18) and his best point total was 56 (2018/19). Just turning 24 late last month, Boeser is currently tied for ninth in NHL scoring, including his 100th career assist on March 6th.
Jacob MacDonald – Colorado Avalanche
(Waterloo: 2009/10 – 2010/11)
Signed by Colorado before the 2019/20 season, MacDonald made his Avalanche debut at the end of this January. By the beginning of this month, he was a fixture on Colorado’s lineup. He produced a goal (the second of his NHL career) on the rebound of his own shot February 27th versus the Arizona Coyotes. MacDonald has not been shy about shooting, putting at least two shots on goal 10 of the 12 times he has been in the lineup.
Cal Petersen – Los Angeles Kings
(Waterloo: 2011/12 – 2013/14)
Overtime has been part of the script the last three times Petersen has been in the crease for the Kings. Important standings points from those games have L.A. in the mix in the West Division; currently the Kings are tied for fifth, just two points out of the last playoff spot and only five short of the division lead. Overall, Petersen is 4-4-4 during 13 games. He has stopped 372 of the 412 shots he has faced, both of which are NHL career highs.
Patrick Russell – Edmonton Oilers
Playing opportunities have become more readily available for Russell since late February. Four of his five appearances have been made in the past two-and-a-half weeks. Russell had a season-high 13:52 on the ice Wednesday during a one-sided 7-1 Oilers win versus the Ottawa Senators. He has one assist in 2020/21.
Mark Friedman – Pittsburgh Penguins
(Waterloo: 2012/13 – 13/14)
On the final day of the 2018/19 NHL season, Friedman made his league debut with the Philadelphia Flyers. He skated in another half-dozen games during 2019/20 and had been in the lineup for Philadelphia four times this winter before being put on waivers. The Pittsburgh Penguins claimed him, just in time for a series with the Flyers. Friedman produced an assist against his former team during his Pittsburgh debut March 2nd, then scored his first NHL goal two nights later versus Philadelphia.
Rem Pitlick – Nashville Predators
Pitlick played in his first game of the season on Sunday when Nashville met the Dallas Stars. He was also in the lineup Tuesday against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Mikey Anderson – Los Angeles Kings
(Waterloo: 2015/16 – 2016/17)
A healthy amount of playing time has come Anderson’s way during his first full NHL season. He has been on the ice for 20 minutes or more in 18 of his 23 appearances, pushing it to a season-high 25:09 during a 4-3 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild on February 27th. Before that game, Anderson had missed the previous two with a lower body injury. He has six assists this season and a +4 plus/minus differential.
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