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Where Are They Now: Black Hawks in the NHL, 11/4

By WBH, 11/04/21, 4:00PM CDT

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Almost one full month into the National Hockey League season, there have already been a dozen Waterloo Black Hawks alumni, who have appeared in NHL games.  That includes several players who have joined new organizations and a couple who have been called up after opening the year on American Hockey League rosters.

A couple of career milestones have already been achieved in a year that holds tremendous promise for former Hawks, many of whom were in Waterloo just a few years ago.  Read on for a quick run-down of their exploits to date.

Mikey Anderson – Los Angeles Kings
(Waterloo: 2015/16 – 2016/17)

The Kings have won three-in-a-row, including Wednesday’s 3-2 shootout victory versus the St. Louis Blues.  That brings them to within a game of .500 going into tomorrow’s home matchup against the New Jersey Devils.  Anderson is +4 during the last four games.  That is also his plus/minus differential for the season, which is currently best among former Hawks in the league.  Anderson has played in all 10 Kings’ games and is among the team leaders in ice time (over 19 minutes per game) as L.A. has skated without star defenseman Drew Doughty since October 22nd.

Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
(Waterloo: 2014/15)

Like the Kings, Vancouver is on the brink of the .500 mark and can get there with a Friday night win against the Nashville Predators.  That game will likely be the first NHL matchup of former Black Hawks linemates Boeser and Tom Novak.  While Novak’s debut happened just last month, Boeser reached the 100 career goals threshold on October 30th during a 2-1 loss to the Edmonton Oilers.  After leading Vancouver in scoring last season, Boeser missed the Canucks’ first three games but has two goals and an assist since returning to the lineup.

Mark Friedman – Pittsburgh Penguins
(Waterloo: 2012/13 – 2013/14)

So far, Friedman has avoided the COVID-19 issues which have knocked several Penguins out of action.  He has already appeared in six games; that’s more than last season after Pittsburgh acquired him from the waiver wire.  Friedman has two assists and a +3 plus/minus figure.  The first month of this season was highlighted by a 7-1 October 23rd win against the Toronto Maple Leafs.  Friedman’s night included an assist, and he was +5.  Tonight, the Penguins meet Friedman’s former team – the Philadelphia Flyers – against whom Friedman has scored both of his NHL goals.

Vinnie Hinostroza – Buffalo Sabres
(Waterloo: 2010/11 – 2012/13)

The leading scorer among Waterloo’s NHL alumni at this stage of the season: Vinnie Hinostroza.  The move to Buffalo has been a solid success in the early stages of this season, as Hinostroza has a goal and four assists in nine appearances.  He has routinely been positioned on strong line with Jeff Skinner and Dylan Cozens.  With that group Tuesday, he notched a pair of assists during a 5-3 loss to the San Jose Sharks.  After spending most of his NHL career with the Chicago Blackhawks and Arizona Coyotes, Hinostroza has been in familiar territory during Buffalo’s current four-game road trip against teams from the Pacific Division, which ends tonight in Seattle.

Jacob MacDonald – Colorado Avalanche
(Waterloo: 2009/10 – 2010-11)

When the season started, MacDonald was a defenseman assigned to the AHL’s Colorado Thunderbirds.  Since this time last week, he has been up with the Avalanche and playing right wing.  MacDonald told the Denver Post (and presumably the Avalanche) that he’ll play anywhere except in goal.  He is still looking for his first NHL point this season and has dressed for three games.  In that time, MacDonald has been responsible for eight shots on goal.  The Avs are in the midst of back-to-back games against the Columbus Blue Jackets and travel to Nationwide Arena Saturday.

Brandon Montour – Florida Panthers
(Waterloo: 2013/14 – 2014/15)

In a home game against the Boston Bruins last Wednesday, Montour played in his 300th career NHL regular season game.  Now up to 302, just 21 of those appearances have come with the Florida Panthers, but he is likely to log many more games in south Florida thanks to a three-year deal this offseason.  Montour has a goal and three assists in nine games this year.  That includes a two-assist game on October 25th against the Arizona Coyotes.  Three of his four points have come on the power play, after he saw limited special teams work the last two years.

Tom Novak – Nashville Predators
(Waterloo: 2014/15)

Novak was not a Predator on opening night but was very quickly recalled by Nashville and made his NHL debut on October 19th against the Los Angeles Kings.  He has been a regular part of the lineup ever since, averaging just shy of 11 minutes per game.  On October 23rd in Winnipeg, Novak stacked up three assists – two on the power play – although the Predators fell to the Jets 6-4.  Visiting western Canada this week, Novak is likely to have a reunion with Brock Boeser.  In 2014/15, Boeser led the Black Hawks with 68 points and Novak was second with 48 before both were selected in the NHL Draft that summer.

Joe Pavelski – Dallas Stars
(Waterloo: 2002/03 – 2003/04)

The former 7th Round NHL Draft pick is on the cusp of two more remarkable milestones in his 16-year NHL career, both of which are attainable in November.  Pavelski is five appearances away from 1,100, a figure which has only been reached by 28 American players.  He needs four goals for 400; only 10 players from the United States currently have more.  So far in nine games, Pavelski has two goals and two assists.  That includes a goal last Friday against the Ottawa Senators and an assist Tuesday versus the Winnipeg Jets.  Dallas is on the road against Calgary tonight.

Cal Petersen – Los Angeles Kings
(Waterloo: 2011/12 – 2013/14)

Throw out one tough start against the St. Louis Blues and Petersen has been right near the numbers he has posted at the outset of his NHL career.  In four games, he is 2-2-0 with a 3.28 goals-against average, despite the Blues’ big night against the Kings on October 23rd.  During his first start since that game, Petersen stopped 26 of 28 Montreal Canadiens shots on October 30th for a 5-2 victory.  He has now played in 58 career NHL games.

Rem Pitlick – Minnesota Wild
(Waterloo: 2014/15)

Pitlick was claimed by the Wild when the Nashville Predators put him on waivers during the preseason.  He recorded an assist against the Vancouver Canucks on October 26th during his first appearance for Minnesota.  However, he has been off the ice since then under the NHL COVID-19 protocol.

Zach Sanford – Ottawa Senators
(Waterloo: 2013/14)

The Senators have picked up five of six possible standings points during their last three games, which featured a road swing through the Central Division.  Sanford saw a season-high 14:46 of ice time on Monday against the Chicago Blackhawks.  He had been traded to Ottawa by the St. Louis Blues in September and has played in all nine of the Senators’ games.  Sanford’s first point for his new club – an assist – came in a 3-2 win against the Dallas Stars October 17th.  The Senators host the Vegas Golden Knights this evening.

Craig Smith – Boston Bruins
(Waterloo: 2006/07 – 2008/09)

Smith has played in just four games after missing time with an undisclosed injury early on.  He is seeking his first point of this season, although he hasn’t been shortchanged on chances.  Smith has already put a dozen shots on goal, including seven in one game against the Philadelphia Flyers on October 20th.  He is trying to turn around a -3 start after being +21 last season and a double-digit “plus” player in each of the last four years.

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