Season-opening rosters have been announced for the 30 NHL teams. With the 2014-15 season opening tonight on four fronts, here are 30 names you may not be familiar with.
One great part of another NHL season is the launching of a few dozen careers in the next few days. No matter how well you think you follow the game – and prospects in the development system – there are always some names that arrive from left field.
In perusing the 30 season-opening rosters this morning, there were a handful of names that were Greek to me – and we’re not talking about the Gyros of Hockey team. There were some other names that I didn’t anticipate arriving on the scene, either so soon or this season. (I’m not including young top prospects such as Sam Reinhart and Alexander Wennberg because the probability was high they’d make it.)
Without further adieu, here’s my list of 30 NHL player names you, too, may not be that familiar with.
Arizona – Justin Hodgman. The 26-year-old journeyman forward spent the past three seasons playing in Finland and the KHL.
Boston – Craig Cunningham. Small 24-year-old winger spent the past three season in Providence (AHL). Played two NHL games with Bruins last season.
Boston – Brian Ferlin. Bruins fourth rounder from 2011 left Cornell after junior season to sign pro contract. He’s a 22-year-old forward.
Boston – Bobby Robins. The 32-year-old journeyman enforcer has spent time playing in Austria, Belfast, Northern Ireland and Elmira, N.Y.
Buffalo – Nicolas Deslauriers. The fourth-year pro winger was a Los Angeles draft pick who played 17 games (one goal) with the Sabres last season. He’s 23.
Carolina – Patrick Brown. Late-blooming Boston College grad from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., is an undrafted 22-year-old forward. Had 15 goals and 30 points in 40 games last season.
Carolina – Victor Rask. Hurricanes’ second round pick from 2011 cracked NHL lineup in just second pro season at 21. Had 39 points in 76 AHL games as a rookie.
Carolina – Chris Terry. A fifth-round pick from 2007 has had brief NHL stints before. He’s a 25-year-old winger with good touch around the net.
Chicago – Trevor van Riemsdyk. The 23-year-old brother of James was undrafted, but signed with the Hawks after three years at New Hampshire. TVR is a rangy D-man.
Colorado – Dennis Everberg. The undrafted 22-year-old right winger signed after a breakout season in Rogle, Sweden. He’s 6-foot-3.
Dallas – Patrik Nemeth. The Stars’ Swedish-born second rounder from 2010 is 6-foot-4, 233 pounds. The 22-year-old had an NHL cup of coffee last season.
Detroit – Andrej Nestrasil. Another mid-round European gem uncovered by Red Wings? The 23-year-old wnger spent two years in the ECHL.
Edmonton – Brad Hunt. Undrafted Bemidji State grad is a mobile, undersized defenseman with two years experience in the AHL. He’s 26.
Los Angeles – Andy Andreoff. The gritty, 23-year-old left winger was a solid energy-line player for two years in Manchester (AHL). Third-round Kings pick from 2011.
Minnesota – Christian Folin. Swedish-born defenseman spent his development years in Fargo (USHL), Austin (NAHL) and UMass-Lowell (HE). Undrafted and 23.
Montreal – Jiri Sekac. Czech right winger was undrafted out of Youngstown (USHL) so he spent past three seasons in KHL with Prague. He’s 22.
Nashville – Taylor Beck. Preds’ third-rounder from 2009 paid his dues with three seasons in Milwaukee (AHL). The 23-year-old winger has played 23 NHL games.
New York Rangers – Anthony Duclair. Rangers’ No. 6 prospect in Future Watch was a 50-goal scorer in QMJHL last season. He’s 19 and still junior eligible.
Philadelphia – Jason Akeson. Undrafted 24-year-old right winger has shown steady improvement during three seasons in Adirondack (AHL).
Philadelphia – Pierre-Edouard Bellemare. The stocky, 29-year-old left winger spent the past eight seasons playing in Sweden. A better scorer than playmaker.
Pittsburgh – Kasperi Kapanen. Excellent credentials as the 22nd overall draft pick in 2014, but making the Penguins a surprise in that he just turned 18 in July.
St. Louis – Jori Lehtera. Expectations high since the Blues’ third-rounder from 2008 said he’s coming over from four seasons in the KHL. He’s a 26-year-old center.
St. Louis – Joakim Lindstrom. The 30-year-old Swede has 97 NHL games to his credit, but he’s almost a decade removed from his big-league debut in Columbus.
San Jose – Eriah Hayes. Undrafted Minn. State-Mankato grad is a towering right winger with one year’s pro experience. He’s 26 with 15 NHL games under his belt.
San Jose – Chris Tierney. Second-round Sharks pick from 2012 capped off junior career with 89 points in London (OHL). He was No. 5 on San Jose’s Future Watch list.
Toronto – Brandon Kozun. Pint-sized 24-year-old winger spent four years in Manchester (AHL) after Los Angeles drafted him in the sixth round of 2009.
Washington – Chris Brown. A Phoenix second-round pick from 2009, the 23-year-old center has played 17 NHL games over two seasons.
Washington – Chandler Stephenson. A third-round Caps pick from 2012, the 20-year-old center finished his junior career with 30 goals and 89 points in Regina (WHL).
Washington – Andre Burakovsky. The 19-year-old winger was the 23rd overall pick at the 2013 draft. He’s well-regarded, but still junior eligible in Erie (OHL).
Winnipeg – Adam Lowry. Dave Lowry’s son was Winnipeg’s third-round pick in 2011. The 21-year-old winger was a rookie pro in St. John’s (AHL) last season.
(Edit note: Sekac has bulked up from the 174 pounds he was listed at last season. He’s now 195 pounds).
Brian Costello is The Hockey News’s senior editor and a regular contributor to the thn.com Post-To-Post blog. For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, subscribe to The Hockey News magazine. Follow Brian Costello on Twitter at @BCostelloTHN