Here is your completely biased and unapologetic pacific northwest guide to the Stanley Cup Playoffs. With the exception of the Pittsburgh Penguins, all Stanley Cup Playoff teams have a northwest reason to root for on the team. Without further ado, here is your reason to root for <<Insert team name not named Pittsburgh Penguins here>>.
Assistant Coach Steve Konowalchuk, coached the Seattle Thunderbirds for 6 years. The Thunderbirds qualified for the WHL playoffs 5 out of the 6 years of his tenure including
Defensemen Brandon Carlo played for the Tri-City Americans 2013-2016 and has been a reliable blue liner for the Bruins for the last two seasons. Unfortunately, Carlo fractured his ankle two weeks ago and baring a minor miracle, will not be playing in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Avs Head Coach, Jared Bednar, played for the Spokane Chiefs for 2ish years from 1991-1992. In his only complete season with the Chiefs, he amassed 200 penalty minutes in 62 games played. 8 other Chiefs had more PIMs that season. The most recent season, no player on the Chiefs had over 200 PIMs. Let’s just say it was a different game when Bednar played.
Columbus Blue Jackets
Let’s call the Bluejackets the little Winterhawks, or
Both NHL vets Brooks Laich and Nate Thompson played for Seattle Thunderbirds 2001-2003. Between the two of them, they have almost 1400 games in the NHL.
Jared Spurgeon played 5 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs
Ryan Johansen played 2 seasons with the Portland WInterhawks before jumping to the NHL with the Columbus Blue Jackets. During the 2015-16 season he was traded in a Winterhawk for Winterhawk trade when Columbus sent him to Nashville for the aforementioned Seth Jones.
New Jersey Devils
Speedy winger Michael Grabner played 3 seasons with the Spokane Chiefs from 2004 to 2007. If the Devils plan to make a playoff run, they will need to get some additional scoring from someone not named Taylor Hall. Grabner might be a candidate to step up. Defenseman Mirco Mueller played 2 seasons with the Everett Silvertip in 2012-14. His NHL career has been a bit underwhelming but a strong playoff performance can turn that around in a hurry.
I can find absolutely no ties to the Northwest on the Pittsburgh Penguins roster, coaching staff or equipment staff.
San Jose Sharks
Brendon Dillon played 4 years with the Seattle Thunderbirds
Tampa Bay Lightning
Toronto Maple Leafs
Head Coach icon, Mike Babcock was the head coach
Vegas Golden Knights
After starting the season in the minors, former Seattle Thunderbird, Shea Theodore ended with a great year with the big club amassing 29 points in 61 games. Theo played 3 full seasons with the Thunderbirds from 2011-2014.
Olympic hero TJ Oshie grew up in Mt Vernon, WA and played Seattle Junior hockey until he moved away to Warroad, Minnesota for high school for his hockey development. Up until Dylan Gambrell’s late season signing this year, he was the Seattle areas lone NHLer for many years.
Defenseman Joe Morrow played 4 seasons with the Portland Winterhawks from 2008-2012.
- 1 former Tri-City American
- 3 local born and raised Washingtonians
- 3 former Everett Silvertips
- 6 former Spokane Chiefs
- 7 former Seattle Thunderbirds
- 10 former Portland Winterhawks