Making it into your first NHL game is cause for celebration, so we’ll give a nod to players who make it to the show for the first time. Here’s a look at the seven players who made their NHL debut on opening night. And how about that picture of Gadzic? That’s the elation of a guy who scored his first NHL goal. What a beauty.
Making it into your first NHL game is cause for celebration, so we’ll give a nod to players who make it to the show for the first time. Here’s a look at the seven players who made their NHL debut on opening night.
And how about that picture of Gadzic? That’s the elation of a guy who scored his first NHL goal. What a beauty.
Jacob Trouba, Winnipeg
Shout out to Rochester, Michigan. The ninth overall pick of the 2012 draft was one of Winnipeg’s best players in the pre-season, but it wasn’t clear how much coach Claude Noel would use him in real game action. If Game 1 is any indication, Trouba will be a major player on the Jets blueline. He logged a game-high 25:02 of ice time and logged a goal and an assist in Winnipeg’s 5-4 come-from-behind win against Edmonton. He got the first star from the NHL too. And here it is, Mr. Trouba’s first career NHL goal, in which he stepped up for the interception and ripped one by Devan Dubnyk (who had an awful night) for a dandy. It tied the game in the third.
Luke Gazdic, Edmonton
The 24-year-old Gazdic only played 4:59, but he was an assist away from the Gordie Howe hat trick. The Toronto native, who scored four goals for the AHL Texas Stars last season, opened the scoring for Edmonton on his first career shot…17 seconds into his first shift! In fact, the goal was assisted by another player who will appear on this list. Late in the second period he also got into a tussle with Chris Thorburn. Warning, if you don’t like fighting, avert your eyes.
Michael Latta, Washington
Acquired from Nashville at last year’s deadline in the Erat-Forsberg deal, the St. Clements, Ont., native only saw 6:04 of ice time, but registered a shot and a hit. Last year he scored 38 points in 76 AHL games and posted 198 PIMs and is expected to be another physical addition for Washington.
Connor Carrick, Washington
Hailing from Orland Park, Ill., Carrick saw about four more minutes of ice than Latta. It wasn’t the smoothest debut as his second period hooking penalty led to Chicago’s go-ahead goal, but he did register two hits. But Carrick deserves kudos for making his big league debut less than two years after being drafted in the fifth round and without having to stop in the AHL.
Joakim Nordstrom – Chicago
A 2010 third-rounder from Tyreso, Sweden – an outer suburb of Stockholm – Nordstrom saw 12:23 of ice and recorded two shots and two hits. Nordstrom came over for his first North American experience at the end of last season and logged three assists in 11 games with AHL Rockford. Pretty cool that your first NHL game begins with a Stanley Cup banner raising ceremony.
Will Acton – Edmonton
Son of Oilers assistant coach Keith, the 26-year-old Acton out of Stouffville, Ont., assisted on Gazdic’s first goal. He registered one shot and one blocked shot in 8:28 of ice and won 62 percent of his draws. The undrafted Lake Superior State University alum logged eight goals and 19 points in 67 games with the AHL Marlies last year. Here’s his assist off a won draw.
Anton Belov – Edmonton
The oldest on this list at 27 – and therefore not Calder eligible – Belov comes from Ryazan, Russia, which is nearly 100 miles outside of Moscow. The 6-foot-3 defenseman played for the KHL’s Avangard Omsk for the past five seasons, losing in the Gagarin Cup final in 2012. In his NHL debut, Belov logged 16:15 of ice, but was a minus-2. He’ll be given a chance to show off his offence, though, and was granted more than three minutes of power play time.