Where Are They Now Feature: NHL Openers

Karen’s Print Rite presents a brief rundown of former Black Hawks preparing to start the NHL schedule.

The National Hockey League season begins on Wednesday with four games.  Three former Waterloo Black Hawks players are on opening day rosters and there is optimism that each one is in line for an exciting year.

Joe Pavelski – San Jose Sharks

 

GP

G A

Pts

Last Season

82

37 33

70

Career

643

228 257

485

The newly minted San Jose Sharks captain is coming off his second consecutive 70-point season.  Of those points, 31 came in power play situations, which tied Pavelski for fifth in the league.  His 37 goals were also tied for fifth, and his 70 points ranked in the top 20.  Perhaps most impressively, Pavelski played in all 82 games last year.  He hasn’t missed a regular season contest in the last four seasons.

With remarkable consistency, Pavelski enters his tenth year already among the Sharks’ career offensive leaders in many important categories.

“He’s grown into a leader on this team and a key player,” said new Sharks Head Coach Peter DeBoer, according to The Hockey News.  “[Pavelski] has the respect of everybody in the room and everybody I’ve talked to. And I’ve witnessed it firsthand.”

Season Begins: Wednesday at L.A. Kings

Craig Smith – Nashville Predators

 

GP

G A

Pts

Last Season

82

23 21

44

Career

277

65 79

144

Entering his fifth season with the Predators, Smith is becoming an ever-more important part of the club.  Last season, he played in every game for the first time since making his NHL debut.  He also tied for second on the team with 23 goals.

Perhaps the most notable evolution for the former Waterloo captain is evident when looking at his plus/minus differential.  In his first two seasons with Nashville, Smith was -20.  Over the last two, he is +27.

Whether putting the puck in the net or making a difference at the other end of the rink, the Predators made a long-term commitment to Smith over the summer.  By signing Smith to a five-year contract, they avoided a potentially contentious arbitration process and have made it likely that he will still be in the Music City into his early 30’s.

Season Begins: Thursday vs. Carolina Hurricanes

J.T. Brown – Tampa Bay Lightning

 

GP

G A

Pts

Last Season

53

3 6

9

Career

120

7 22

29

Hockey fans who were not familiar with Brown from his outstanding (in fact, Most Outstanding Player Award-winning) performance for Minnesota-Duluth during the 2011 Frozen Four, had the opportunity to become familiar with him during the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs.  He played in 24 postseason games and was recognized throughout coverage of the postseason for his strong efforts.  Entering his third NHL campaign, he might be primed to follow up during regular season.

During the exhibition schedule, Brown notched a pair of goals for the Lightning.  Blogging for the team’s website, Brown – not surprisingly – is ready to get started with the games that count.

“We can’t win the playoffs in Game No. 1, but we can start ourselves off on the right foot. We need to just take it game by game.”

Season Begins: Thursday vs. Philadelphia Flyers

Where Are They Now is presented by Karen’s Print Rite.

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