Former Chicago Blackhawks still in the Stanley Cup Playoffs
By Jimmy Lynch
The Chicago Blackhawks have a long list of former players spread throughout the NHL. Some of those former ‘Hawks are even competing in the Stanley Cup Playoffs still.
Sometimes a player might go through many organizations before they get a shot at the Stanley Cup. The Chicago Blackhawks have won three championships in the past, and because of their success, they have had to trade away multiple players through the years.
Stan Bowman has traded players to a lot of different teams in the NHL., so many so that Chicago has a lot of former players to root for in this Stanley Cup Playoffs. It might be hard to find reasons to watch the playoffs without the Hawks in it, so let’s see if seeing some ex-Blackhawks might increase the incentive to watch.
Chicago has five ex-teammates competing for the Stanley Cup as of yesterday.
Dallas Stars – Stephen Johns
Stephen Johns never cracked the Chicago Blackhawks lineup after being drafted 60th overall in 2010. The former second-round pick was one of the Blackhawks’ brightest defensive prospects before they traded him to Dallas.
Johns has played in 167 NHL games since joining the Stars, and he has played in four games so far these playoffs. I know that his time in Chicago might not have been that great, but I hope we get to see Johns succeed with the Stars this postseason!
New York Islanders – Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd
Nick Leddy was my favorite defenseman the Blackhawks traded away. Leddy had speed and skill offensively when he was with the Blackhawks. He was capable of breaking up ice and getting into the offensive zone with the puck, while also getting back in time on defense should the play go awry.
Leddy has been with the New York Islanders ever since Chicago traded him there at the end of the 2013-14 season at the age of just 22. Nick Leddy has two goals and two assists so far in 13 playoff games this season with the New York Islanders.
The 28-year-old has not been back to the conference finals since he was with the Blackhawks in 2014, so any success the Islanders have would be great in my eyes. The Islanders also have Andrew Ladd on their roster, but he has not gotten into a game yet this postseason.
Vancouver Canucks – Tyler Motte
Tyler Motte has scored four goals so far during the playoffs this August. Motte has been great for the Vancouver Canucks ever since joining the franchise after just 33 games in the 2016-17 season with the Blackhawks. The Blackhawks drafted Motte in the fourth round of 2013, and he would still be making a run for the Stanley Cup if it was not for the next player on this lists team.
Vegas Golden Knights – Robin Lehner
Everyone knows who Robin Lehner is. The former Hawks goalie was making great strides within the Blackhawks organization before getting traded at the deadline by Stan Bowman. Lehner was a difference-maker in net for the Blackhawks and stole multiple games for the team during the season.
Robin Lehner went head to head with Corey Crawford during the first round. While it might have ended with Lehner and the Golden Knights moving on in five games, both goaltenders played terrifically.
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Watching Lehner continue to track on towards the Stanley Cup is fun, especially when watching Peter DeBoer decide on who starts in net. Vegas has two elite goalies in Lehner and Fleury, and both can shut down opposing teams offenses night in and night out.
Lehner and the Vegas Golden Knights are playing some unbelievable hockey so far this postseason. The Golden Knights are a fast team with size to go along with it. They are my pick to make it to the Stanley Cup Final out of the west, and I would guess they are going to be playing the Lightning, another team with a former Blackhawk.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Jan Rutta
Jan Rutta only played with the Blackhawks for about a season and a half before being traded to the Tampa Bay Lightning, but during that time, he became one of my favorite defensemen. Rutta played primarily as a bottom pairing defensemen capable of shutting down opponents in the defensive zone.
However, during Rutta’s second season with the Blackhawks, it started to look like he did not fit with the team and that he needed a change of scenery. So the Blackhawks shipped him off to Tampa Bay for Slater Koekkoek, a defenseman going through similar struggles with the Lightning.
Rutta has only gotten into one playoff game so far this postseason, but he is on the Lightning’s rosters. It is a long run to win a Stanley Cup; maybe we will see more of him the deeper the Lightning go into the playoffs.