Analysis

Chicago Blackhawks Playoff Connections: Five Make Second Round

By Colin Likas
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Nicklas Backstrom
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: Nicklas Backstrom /
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Nine former Chicago Blackhawks entered the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, and five officially have moved on to the conference semifinal round

When the Boston Bruins upended the Toronto Maple Leafs on Wednesday in Game 7 of their first-round playoff series, it meant the Chicago Blackhawks would have a positive ratio of former players in the postseason versus out of them. (And the Blackhawks also upgraded a draft pick.)

Nine former Blackhawks, by my count, entered the postseason actively on an NHL roster. Five of them moved ahead to the conference semifinals, with the fate of Boston’s Tommy Wingels in the balance until the last moment of the first round.

Let’s see who among former Blackhawks has left the 2018 postseason and who is still hanging in the picture. Also, as an aside, one-third of the guys on this list were involved in a trade that also included Brandon Saad. Doesn’t mean anything … I just think it’s fascinating.

They’re out

Alex Broadhurst, Columbus Blue Jackets

Broadhurst was a Black Ace for the BJs as they fell to Washington in an opening-round series. He competed in just two games for Columbus this season, managing two penalty minutes and a shot on goal in his first NHL action.

The Blackhawks drafted Broadhurst 199th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft and spent parts of two seasons with the Rockford IceHogs. He was included in the trade that sent Saad to Columbus in 2015.

Jimmy Hayes, New Jersey Devils

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Hayes also was a Black Ace for his squad, though he at least got more of a run in the NHL this season. Hayes participated in 33 regular-season games for the Devils, notching nine points and 15 takeaways.

Hayes was traded to the Blackhawks in 2010, and he wound up playing for Chicago in parts of three seasons. Hayes was moved in November 2013 as part of a deal that brought Kris Versteeg back to Chicago.

Johnny Oduya, Philadelphia Flyers

Oduya may as well have been a Black Ace for the Flyers. He was traded from Ottawa midseason, but almost immediately suffered an injury. He played just one game in Philadelphia and did not see the ice during the playoffs.

Oduya’s time in Chicago is mostly fondly remembered, outside that attempted revival last season. Oduya paired with Niklas Hjalmarsson to form a solid shutdown defensive pairing on two Stanley Cup-winning Blackhawks squads.

Artemi Panarin, Columbus Blue Jackets

Easily the highest-profile player on this side of the list, Panarin contributed seven points to Columbus’ first-round exit against Washington. His dazzling overtime winner in Game 1 made Blackhawks fans lose their minds.

Panarin teamed with Patrick Kane for two years in Chicago, with the pairing tearing up opponents no matter who faced them. Panarin was moved in the 2017 offseason as a cost-cutting measure, with Saad coming back in the deal.

They’re in

Dustin Byfuglien, Winnipeg Jets

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Some Blackhawks fans still want Byfuglien to be part of the present-day team, but he’s a fixture in Winnipeg. Byfuglien has averaged more than 25 minutes of ice time across five postseason games, netting five assists in that time as well.

Byfuglien was known as a net-front antagonist in 2010, when the Blackhawks ended their 49-year Stanley Cup drought. He was not yet a defenseman, and was the predecessor to guys like Bryan Bickell and, to a lesser extent, Andrew Shaw.

Byfuglien was traded to the Atlanta Thrashers in the 2010 offseason and has stuck with them ever since — including through the transition to Winnipeg.

Marko Dano, Winnipeg Jets

Dano is presently a Black Ace for the Jets after experiencing limited regular-season time in 2017-18. He potted three points in 23 games while averaging just 7:11 of ice time.

Dano is the third piece of that “Brandon Saad trade” puzzle, as he was included in the deal that shipped Saad to Columbus in 2015. It was thought by some Dano would be the steal of that trade, but the Blackhawks quickly soured on him. They sent him to Winnipeg in the 2016 deal that brought Andrew Ladd back to Chicago as a rental.

Ryan Hartman, Nashville Predators

Hartman’s presence in the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs has more or less been defined by disciplinary issues. Hartman was suspended for Game 5 of the Predators’ first-round series against Colorado after a check to the head of Carl Soderberg. And even after he was clear to play in Game 6, he was healthy-scratched.

Hartman was among the Blackhawks’ midseason jettisons in 2018, getting shipped to Nashville for a package that included a first-round draft pick and prospect Victor Ejdsell. While in Chicago, Hartman tallied 57 points across 145 games and was defined entirely by a hit he delivered in his NHL debut.

Michal Kempny, Washington Capitals

Kempny was signed by the Blackhawks out of the Czech Republic in 2016, and they promptly acted like he was carrying the plague. The fact he signed a second contract with the Blackhawks is incredible.

Kempny tallied 15 points in parts of two season with Chicago before starting the 2018 midseason purge by being moved to Washington. He’s presently doing just fine there (and no one is worried about his low points total).

Tommy Wingels, Boston Bruins

The man with whom we started this entire discussion was the last one to jump into the second round. His most defining playoff moment thus far is being destroyed by Toronto’s Nazem Kadri with a hit that earned Kadri a three-game ban.

Wingels provided 12 points in 57 games with the Blackhawks this season as a fourth-line guy. He was moved to Boston around the trade deadline for a draft pick that became a fourth-rounder as soon as the Bruins advanced to the playoffs’ second round.

Next: Blackhawk Up: Thank You And Farewell

So if you were trying to find a rooting interest as these playoffs roll along, here are some options. The second round begins tonight with games in the Pittsburgh/Washington and Las Vegas/San Jose series.

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