The NHL regular season has come to a close, and the Stanley Cup Playoffs are about to begin. Seventeen Gophers played at least one game in the NHL this season. Six are still playing and trying to get their name on the cup. Here is a recap of all the Gopher alums in the NHL this season:
Nick Bjugstad—Florida Panthers
Bjugstad missed the beginning of the season after a shoulder injury, but he would play in 54 games with the Florida Panthers this season. Bjugstad ended the season with 14 points (7g, 7a) and one game-winning goal on the season.
Hudson Fasching—Buffalo Sabres
Fasching played in ten games for Buffalo this season and tallied just one assist. He spend most of his time in the AHL with the Rochester Americans where he played 34 games and has 11 points (7g, 4a). The Americans will not qualify for the AHL playoffs.
Alex Goligoski—Arizona Coyotes
Goligoski played in all 82 games for the Coyotes this season. He finished with 36 points (6g, 30a) good enough for 4th on the team and the leading defenseman on the squad. He is one of only nine Gophers to have his name on the Stanley Cup after winning with Pittsburgh in 2009.
Eric Haula—Minnesota Wild
Haula played in 72 games this season for the Wild. He tallied 26 points on a career high 15 goals and 11 assists. He has four game-winning goals on the season for Minnesota. He and the Wild began their playoff series against the St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night.
Seth Helgeson—New Jersey Devils
Helgeson played in nine games this season for the Devils and scored his first career NHL goal for his only point. He has spend the majority of the year in the AHL playing for the Albany Devils. In 46 games he has nine points (2g, 7a). Albany is fighting for an AHL Playoff spot. but appears in.
Eric Johnson-Colorado Avalanche
Johnson battled injuries and played in just 46 games this season for the Avs. He tallied 17 points (2g, 15a) and added one game-winning goal.
Phil Kessel—Pittsburgh Penguins
Kessel played all 82 games for the Penguins this season. He finished the regular season with 70 points (23g, 47a) He scored four game-winning goals this season for Pittsburgh. He is one of only nine Gophers to have his name on the Stanley Cup after Pittsburgh won last season. He and the rest of the Penguins began to defend their title against the Columbus Blue Jackets Wednesday night. Kessel had a goal and an assist in the Penguins 3-1 Game 1 win.
Nick Leddy—New York Islanders
Leddy—the DarkKnight5 doppelganger, played in 81 games with the Islanders this season. He finished with 46 points (11g, 35a) to lead all former Gopher defensemen. His 11 goals this season are a career high. The third active Gopher to have his name on the Stanley Cup, Leddy won with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2013.
Paul Martin—San Jose Sharks
Martin played in 81 games for the Sharks this season. He recorded 26 points (4g, 22 a). Martin has played in the NHL for 13 seasons, and will make making his 13th postseason appearance this season with San Jose. He came within a game of winning the Cup with the Sharks last season. He and San Jose began their quest to get back to the Cup Finals against the Edmonton Oilers Wednesday night.
Kyle Okposo—Buffalo Sabres
Okposo played in 65 games for the Sabres tallying 45 points (19g, 26a). He missed the last two weeks of the season with a yet unnamed illness and was reportedly in neurosurgery intensive care at one point. He has been released from the hospital in Buffalo, but no details of his illness or long term prognosis have been released as of yet.
Kyle Rau—Florida Panthers
Rau played in 24 games with the Panthers this season recording three points (2g, 1a). He spent a majority of the season with the Springfield Thunderbirds in the AHL where he played in 46 games and recorded 23 points (10g, 13a). The Thunderbirds will not make the AHL playoffs.
Mike Reilly—Minnesota Wild
Reilly played in 17 games for the Wild this season and recorded one assist. He has spent the majority of the season playing for the Iowa Wild in the AHL. In 54 games he has recorded 29 points (5g, 24a). He did not make the Wild’s playoff roster.
Nate Schmidt—Washington Capitals
Schmidt played in 60 games for the Capitals this season recording 17 points (3g, 14a). Schmidt and the Capitals will face off against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first round of the NHL Playoffs beginning Thursday night.
Jordan Schroeder—Minnesota Wild
Schroeder played in 37 games this season for the Wild. He has tallied 13 points (6g, 7a) on the season. He added 18 additional points in 25 games for the Iowa Wild in the AHL. Schroeder is on the Wild playoff roster but did not play in their playoff opener against St. Louis on Wednesday night.
Brady Skeji—New York Rangers
Skeji played in 80 games for the Rangers this season. He tallied 39 points (4g, 35a) on the season. Skeji played just over 16 minutes in the Rangers Game 1 win over the Montreal Canadians on Wednesday night.
Thomas Vanek—Florida Panthers/ Detroit Red Wings
Vanek played 68 games in the NHL this season. He started the year with the Detroit Red Wings and played in 48 games there before being traded to the Florida Panthers where he played in an additional 20 games. For the season he tallied 48 points (17g, 31a)
Blake Wheeler—Winnipeg Jets
Wheeler played in all 82 games for the Jets. The Winnipeg captain led all former Gophers this season with 74 points (26g, 48a), good enough for second on the Jets roster.
Will either Kessel, Haula, Schroeder, Skeji, Martin, or Schmidt end up on the Cup this season? Only time will tell.