NHL Alumni Openers

Karen’s Print Rite presents this update on former Black Hawks preparing for their first game of the season as the NHL schedule opens on Wednesday evening.

Four games will be played on opening night in the National Hockey League.  Waterloo Black Hawks will take the ice in two of them.  As the 2016/17 NHL campaign opens, former Waterloo players are on the rosters of five league teams.

If you’re flipping through channels and find a matchup involving any of these clubs, stay tuned…you might head a familiar name and see a familiar face.

Vince Hinostroza
Chicago Black Hawks vs. St. Louis Blues
Wednesday, 7 p.m. CT

The 22-year-old made his NHL debut one year ago next Monday, going on to play in seven games for Chicago.  This season, Hinostroza opens the schedule with the Blackhawks, after being called up almost immediately in 2015/16.  Despite the early appearances, the suburban Chicago native spent most of the winter in Rockford, but delivered an excellent season for the IceHogs.  Making 66 regular season appearances in the American Hockey League, Hinostroza led the Hawks’ top affiliate with 51 points.  Should he notch a goal or assist against the Blues, it will be his first point in the NHL.

Joe Pavelski
San Jose Sharks vs. Los Angeles Kings
Wednesday, 9:30 p.m. CT

After serving as the American captain during the World Cup of Hockey, Pavelski will be back in a more familiar “C” adorned sweater.  Last year was his first year as the Sharks captain.  Any fears that the added responsibilities might take away from his scoring performance proved unfounded.  His 38 goals and 78 points last season were each just shy of career-bests, and a +25 differential was the top figure in any of Pavelski’s ten NHL seasons.  His familiar #8 has been on the Sharks’ line chart for every game since the 2010/11 season.

J.T. Brown
Tampa Bay Lightning vs. Detroit Red Wings
Thursday, 6:30 p.m. CT

“What can Brown do for you?”  If you’re the Tampa Bay Lightning, the answer is “More and more all the time.”  During 2015/16, the former Hawk and Minnesota-Duluth Bulldog was in the Tampa lineup for more games than in any of his prior professional seasons.  Not surprisingly, his goal and point totals were the best of his career, but the number which really stands out from last season was in the plus/minus column.  After having a cumulative -9 during the first 120 regular season games of his NHL career, Brown was +16.

Zach Sanford
Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
Thursday, 7 p.m. CT

Opening night in Pittsburgh could be a day Sanford always remembers.  The 21-year-old could potentially begin counting down the hours to his first National Hockey League game.  Washington selected the big forward during the second round of the draft just three years ago.  Over the summer, he decided to depart from Boston College, a choice which was one step toward the Capital’s roster.  When he takes the ice for the first time, Sanford will become the fifth former Hawk to appear in a game for the Caps.

Craig Smith
Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Friday, 7 p.m. CT

This will be Smith’s sixth season in the NHL, and he is approaching several milestones: five assists from 100, 14 goals from 100, and 19 points from 200.  At the pace of recent years, all of those marks are attainable.  Smith has had three consecutive 20-goal seasons.  Several of those goals were notably clutch last winter; Smith was responsible for the game-winner six times.  The forward and his teammates look to improve on a solid finish in the ultra-competitive Central Division after posting a 41-27-14 record a year ago.

Black Hawks Alumni Updates are presented by Karen’s Print Rite.

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Waterloo Black Hawks Alumni | NHL

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