Canada Games alumni in the NHL playoffs
The NHL playoffs are right around the corner and Canada Games alumni are once again front and centre.
From 2003 Nova Scotia superstar Sidney Crosby to 2007 Team Ontario blueliner Alex Pietrangelo, Canada Games alumni will look to play an integral role in helping their respective teams make it far into the NHL playoffs.
Here's a look at some of the alumni competing:
Jay Bouwmeester has been logging huge minutes for every team he's played for since entering the league with the Florida Panthers back in 2002. He has experienced success at nearly every level, from winning Gold with Team Alberta at the 1999 Canada Games to winning Olympic Gold at Sochi in 2014. All that is left is a Stanley Cup ring, something he hopes to accomplish with the St. Louis Blues this year.
Another St. Louis Blues defenceman who has won Canada Games Gold is Alex Pietrangelo. He won Gold at the 2007 Canada Games in Whitehorse alongside teammates Steven Stamkos and Nazem Kadri.
Like Bouwmeester, Pietrangelo has enjoyed success at nearly every level, winning Gold at the World Juniors and also at the Olympics during the 2014 Sochi Games. Pietrangelo will need to anchor the team`s blueline as the Blues make their playoff push.
The third Canada Games alumnus playing for the Blues is netminder Jake Allen. The Team New-Brunwick alumnus has had a stellar season posting career highs in wins and games played. The Blues will need him and fellow puck stopper Brian Elliot to be at their best this post-season.
1995 BC alumnus Shawn Horcoff is a proven NHL veteran who provides depth and experience at centre for the Anaheim Ducks behind Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler. Horcoff was part of the 2006 Edmonton Oilers run to the Stanley Cup final but has not experienced playoff success since. Look for that to change this year as Anaheim is poised to be a strong contender coming out of the Pacific division.
2011 Ontario alumnus Nick Ritchie has been a dependable power forward for the Anaheim Ducks this year appearing in 33 contests during his rookie season. The former 10th overall selection is a big bodied presence who plays a physical brand of hockey; something that might come in handy for the Ducks in the playoffs.
2011 Team BC Gold medalist Shea Theodore has been efficient for the Ducks this year, recording eight points in 19 games with three of his points coming on the powerplay. The young defenceman is certainly a big part of Anaheim's future and might play an important role in their playoff run.
1995 Team Saskatchewan alumnus Patrick Marleau has been a consistent offensive force ever since he entered the NHL with the San Jose Sharks back in 1997. From being captain from 2004 to 2009, to now being a veteran leader, Marleau has been a constant for San Jose for nearly 20 years.
The Sharks have notoriously underperformed in the playoffs in recent years but perhaps this year, with the attention being on the Stars, Ducks, Kings and Blackhawks, the Sharks might be able to fly under the radar and come out of the West to finally appear in the Stanley Cup final.
This has truly been a breakout season for 2007 BC alumnus Martin Jones. The 26 year old has gone from being a dependable backup in past years to being one the very best netminders in the league. Here`s a look at his stats for this season: 65 games played, 37 wins, .918 save percentage and 2.27 GAA.
If the Sharks hope to buck the trend of underachieving in the playoffs, you can bet they will need their ace goalkeeper to be at his best.
Ever since being traded to Minnesota in January of 2015, Alberta alumnus Devan Dubnyk has been rock solid in nets for the Wild. He has recorded career highs in multiple categories this season including 67 games played and 32 wins.
Expect the 2003 alumnus to carry the load for the Wild come playoff time.
1999 Saskatchewan alumnus Jarret Stoll is no stranger to performing well in the playoffs. His track record includes a Stanley Cup final appearance with Edmonton in 2006 and two Stanley Cup wins with LA (2012-2014).
The faceoff specialist will look to bring his playoff pedigree to the Minnesota Wild this post-season.
Ever since he competed for Nova Scotia at the 2003 Canada Games, the hockey world has known Sidney Crosby would be the next hockey superstar. He has certainly lived up to expectations excelling at every level: Gold at the World Juniors, Gold at the World Championships, multiple Golds at the Olympics, a Stanley Cup ring, Art Ross trophies... you get the idea.
Crosby will look to add to his collection with another ring this post-season.
2007 Ontario Gold medalist Steven Stamkos was on pace for another stellar season with the Tampa Bay Lightning before he was recently sidelined due to a blood clot in his right collarbone. The superstar sniper will be out at least four weeks but could return to the lineup for the Lightning provided they go on a long playoff run.
2007 Team Manitoba Silver medalist Travis Hamonic has been a dependable blueliner for the New York Islanders ever since he joined the team. Logging the most minutes of any Islander this season, Hamonic will be an important part of New York's playoff run once he gets back from a lower-body injury.
2007 Team Saskatchewan alumnus Brayden Schenn is often remembered for his heroics during the 2010 and 2011 World Juniors. He is now an important part of the Flyers lineup playing alongside captain Claude Giroux. The Flyers will need Schenn to produce some offense if they want to contend with the high flying Washington Capitals in round one.
1999 Team Saskatchewan alumnus Nick Schultz is a dependable veteran who brings stability to Philadelphia's blue line. Look for him to log important minutes as he tries to slow down the likes of Alexander Ovechkin.