For Waterloo Black Hawks fans, this is a great time to be watching the National Hockey League. So far in 2017/18, six players have been making regular contributions at the NHL level and a seventh has made his league debut. With Zach Sanford on the St. Louis Blues’ injured reserve list and several other former Hawks in the American Hockey League awaiting their opportunity, there is the promise of even more excitement for Waterloo alumni. Here is a summary of some of the highlights so far:
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
(Waterloo: 2002/03 – 03/04)
The Sharks have played 16 times this season, and Pavelski has been on the ice for all of those games. With four goals this season, he is up to 299 regular season tallies during his NHL career, which began just over a decade ago. Only 18 Americans have scored 300 or more NHL goals. Pavelski’s next opportunity to join that group will be November 16th when San Jose hosts the Florida Panthers.
Craig Smith – Nashville Predators
(Waterloo: 2006/07 – 08/09)
Speaking of milestone goals, Smith hit a career round number on October 27th when he found the net against the Chicago Blackhawks. It was his 100th in regular season play. Since then, Smith has been scoring with regularity, notching five goals in his last eight games. He has been especially productive on the power play, scoring three special teams goals in that span. Through 17 games, Smith has six goals and eight points.
J.T. Brown – Tampa Bay Lightning
(Waterloo: 2008/09 – 09/10)
Brown scored his first goal of the season on November 12th versus the Anaheim Ducks. He also has three assists and a +2 plus/minus differential. Facing the Sharks on November 8th, Brown had a season-high 15:08 of ice time. The Lightning are currently the best team in the NHL with 30 standings points from a 14-2-2 record.
Brandon Montour – Anaheim Ducks
(Waterloo: 2013/14 – 14/15)
It is a certainty that Montour’s first full season in the NHL will be more productive than his successful debut in 2016/17. Last year, he had two goals and four assists in 27 appearances. Over just 17 games this season, Montour already has five goals and four assists. He scored game-winning goals twice in the last three weeks.
Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
There are many good things happening for former Black Hawks, but it’s hard to imagine a more exciting scenario than what Boeser is experiencing after making his debut late last year. Still officially a rookie, he is leading the Canucks with 15 points in 15 games. On November 4th, he recorded a hat trick against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. Boeser is currently second in scoring among NHL rookies.
Ian McCoshen – Florida Panthers
(Waterloo: 2010/11 – 12/13)
With just days remaining last season, McCoshen was called up by the Florida Panthers to make his NHL debut. This year, he has been a regular in the lineup, missing just one of the club’s 17 games. McCoshen’s first NHL game came on October 12th against the St. Louis Blues. He has added two more in the meantime, including the game-winner against the Buffalo Sabres on November 10th.
Justin Kloos – Minnesota Wild
(Waterloo: 2010/11 – 12/13)
Kloos made his first NHL appearance on October 24th, playing over eight minutes against the Vancouver Canucks. He is currently skating for the Iowa Wild in the AHL.
Shuffling all of the numbers together, former Hawks have made 92 NHL appearances this season. In aggregate, they have together been responsible for 24 goals and 23 assists Assuming that no one is scratched, Pavelski, Smith, Brown, Montour, Boeser, and McCoshen could each take the ice on Wednesday, November 22nd when all of their teams are playing.
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