NHL Season Opens for Former Hawks
Waterloo, Iowa - The first two games of 1,312 scheduled in the National Hockey League this season will be played tonight, leading off what will likely be an active week for many notable Waterloo Black Hawks alumni.
Last winter, 13 former Hawks made 447 appearances during the abbreviated league slate. Several alumni have joined new teams or may challenge career milestones during the coming campaign.
This evening's matchups include the Pittsburgh Penguins visiting the Tampa Bay Lightning. Pittsburgh's roster includes former Hawk Mark Friedman, who the Penguins acquired last winter. Friedman was limited to a total of nine games last season due to injuries. Still in the earliest stages of his NHL career, he celebrated his first goal in the league only days after joining Pittsburgh in early March.
Thursday night, Joe Pavelski will try to draw a step closer to a memorable goal-scoring moment of his own when his Dallas Stars meet the New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden. The former Waterloo captain enters the season with 394 goals. Pavelski seeks to become the 11th American player to score 400. He is also likely to appear in his 1,100th game during November, entering this season at 1,086.
Thursday could include the first appearances for Zach Sanford and Vinnie Hinostroza with their new teams. Sanford was traded to the Ottawa Senators during the preseason. He had been a member of the St. Louis Blues since 2017, winning the Stanley Cup there in 2019. Hinostroza split time last year between the Florida Panthers and Chicago Blackhawks. During the offseason, he signed a free agent contract with the Buffalo Sabres. Thursday's schedule includes home games for both Ottawa and Buffalo; the Senators host the Toronto Maple Leafs, while Buffalo welcomes the Montreal Canadiens.
As Sanford and Hinostroza were moving over the offseason, Brandon Montour and Cal Petersen notably stayed put. Montour passed up the chance to test the free agent market over the summer and re-signed with the Florida Panthers. The three-year deal was made after Florida acquired the veteran defenseman from Buffalo in an April trade. Petersen was still a season away from free agency when the Los Angeles Kings signed him to a three-year contract extension last month. He has spent his entire professional career with the Kings organization since joining the franchise in 2017. Florida hosts the Pittsburgh Penguins Thursday night, while the Kings play on home ice against the Vegas Golden Knights.
Of the former Hawks currently signed by NHL teams, seven are hoping to make their NHL debuts during the 2021/22 campaign. The group notably includes Jack Drury, who completed a deal with the Carolina Hurricanes over the summer. After two years at Harvard, Drury left college when the COVID-19 pandemic cancelled the Crimson's season last winter. He instead spent 2020/21 with the Vaxjo Lakers and was one of the top rookies in the Swedish Hockey League.
The list of Waterloo Black Hawks alumni currently signed by NHL teams appears below. Players with an asterisk beside their names will seek their first league appearance during the coming season.
Player Position NHL Organization Year(s) in Waterloo
Mikey Anderson Defenseman Los Angeles Kings 2015/16 to 2016/17
Brock Boeser Forward Vancouver Canucks 2014/15
Shane Bowers* Forward Colorado Avalanche 2015/16 to 2016/17
Jackson Cates Forward Philadelphia Flyers 2016/17 to 2017/18
David Cotton* Forward Carolina Hurricanes 2015/16
Jack Drury* Forward Carolina Hurricanes 2016/17 to 2017/18
Mark Friedman Defenseman Pittsburgh Penguins 2012/13 to 2013/14
Vinnie Hinostroza Forward Buffalo Sabres 2010/11 to 2012/13
Cameron Johnson* Goalie Columbus Blue Jackets 2013/14
Jacob MacDonald Defenseman Colorado Avalanche 2009/10 to 2010/11
Brandon Montour Defenseman Florida Panthers 2013/14 to 2014/15
Tom Novak* Forward Nashville Predators 2014/2015
Joe Pavelski Forward Dallas Stars 2002/03 to 2003/04
Cal Petersen Goalie Los Angeles Kings 2011/12 to 2013/14
Rem Pitlick Forward Minnesota Wild 2014/15
Dylan Samberg* Defenseman Winnipeg Jets 2016/17
Zach Sanford Forward Ottawa Senators 2013/14
Craig Smith Forward Boston Bruins 2006/07 to 2008/09
Nick Swaney* Forward Minnesota Wild 2013/14 to 2016/17
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