The National Hockey League season is a month old. Eight former Black Hawks have skated in an NHL game already this season, one short of the Waterloo record set last winter.
There are 13 NHL games scheduled for November 1st. A Black Hawks alum could play in four of them. Former Hawks could be on the ice in two of three matchups on Friday and three of 12 on Saturday. There aren’t many nights when you can’t catch a former Waterloo player wearing an NHL sweater.
Player-by-player, here is a look at the first month of the season:
Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks
(Waterloo: 2002/03 – 03/04)
On October 30th, Pavelski appeared in his 900th NHL regular season game when the Sharks hosted the New York Rangers and fell 4-3 in a shootout. It’s another round number for the Sharks’ captain, who also recorded his 700th point on October 14th as San Jose visited the New Jersey Devils. Through a dozen appearances this season, Pavelski has scored five goals, including one game-winner, and has a +1 plus/minus differential.
Craig Smith – Nashville Predators
(Waterloo: 2006/07 – 08/09)
In 2017/18, Smith had a career-best 25 goals, helping the Predators to the best record in the Western Conference. Nashville is rolling once again with a 9-3-0 mark through their first dozen games. Smith has been making a steady contribution. He has appeared in every game, stacking up four goals, two assists, and a +1 differential. Next week, the Predators meet the Colorado Avalanche; last season, Smith recorded five points versus Colorado, equaling the most he had against any single opponent in 2017/18.
J.T. Brown – Minnesota Wild
(Waterloo: 2008/09 – 09/10)
After just a brief stay with the Anaheim Ducks during the latter half of the 2017/18 season, Brown is now playing for the club located just a matter of miles from his childhood home in Burnsville. He made his debut with the Wild during a game on October 11th. Brown’s first point for his new team came against the team for whom he made his NHL debut. On October 20th, Brown notched an assist during the Wild’s 5-4 overtime win against the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Vinnie Hinostroza – Arizona Coyotes
(Waterloo: 2010/11 – 12/13)
Speaking of players having success against their former teams, a game against the Chicago Blackhawks was just what Hinostroza needed to get on a roll during his early weeks with the Coyotes. Hinostroza scored a pair of goals, including the game-winner, during a 4-1 tilt against Chicago on October 18th. After an offseason trade, the Chicago area native has stacked up three goals and three assists in 11 appearances for Arizona. Hinostroza played his first 106 NHL games for the Blackhawks.
Brandon Montour – Anaheim Ducks
(Waterloo: 2013/14 – 14/15)
The season could hardly have started better for Montour. On October 3rd, he recorded the third goal – the game-winner – in Anaheim’s 5-2 victory over the San Jose Sharks. Montour’s other two points during the first 13 games of the season were recorded October 21st versus the Buffalo Sabres. All of his points so far have come at even strength. As of November 1st, Montour is the only former Waterloo defenseman who is skating in the NHL.
Brock Boeser – Vancouver Canucks
At this stage of the season, no former Black Hawk has more NHL points than Boeser, who had a solid finish to the month of October. He notched an assist in three of the Canucks’ last five games of the month. During the first dozen contests of the year, he has totaled two goals and five assists. Three of those points have come in power play situations. Assuming that Boeser is in the lineup each night, he will make his 100th NHL appearance on December 6th versus the Nashville Predators.
Zach Sanford – St. Louis Blues
Sanford may be the sentimental favorite when it comes to NHL-level Waterloo alumni at the start of 2018/19. An injury on the first day of training camp in September of 2017 cost Sanford the entire year. He opened this season in the American Hockey League, but was called up quickly. Sanford has rewarded the Blues with three goals and three assists in just five games. He is also +6, best among former Hawks currently. Sanford had a career-best three points (one goal, two assists) versus Chicago on October 27th.
Jacob MacDonald – Florida Panthers
(Waterloo: 2009/10 – 10/11)
It was a brief but productive first stint at the NHL level for the 2018 AHL All-Star. MacDonald scored the Florida Panthers’ first goal of the season during their opening game against the Lightning. It was his first league appearance and, naturally, his first NHL goal. MacDonald appeared in one more Panthers game before being assigned to the AHL’s Springfield Falcons.
Upcoming Alum vs. Alum Games
November 3rd – Minnesota @ St. Louis
November 6th – Minnesota @ San Jose
November 9th – San Jose @ St. Louis + Minnesota @ Anaheim
November 11th – Minnesota @ St. Louis
November 12th – Nashville @ Anaheim
November 13th – Nashville @ San Jose
November 15th – Vancouver @ Minnesota + Nashville @ Arizona
Visit Karen’s Print Rite at 2515 Falls Avenue in Waterloo or online at karensprintrite.com.