Friday, March 24 2023

The weather has gotten cooler, which means it soon will be cold. That means it’s time for the 2022-23 NHL season to begin. As usual, Notre Dame has plenty of representation in the league. Amazingly, not only do the Irish have the same number of former players from the beginning of last season (10), but the same players themselves.

Maybe it’s boring to some people to not see any new Irish players begin the season in the NHL, but 17 will start in the AHL, so you have that to possibly look forward to. Until then, here are the familiar 10 names:

Anders Bjork – Buffalo Sabres

Apr 29, 2022; Buffalo, New York, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Anders Bjork (96) looks for the puck during the second period against the Chicago Blackhawks at KeyBank Center. Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Entering his second season with the Sabres, Bjork tied his career high with 58 games played in 2021-22. However, his scoring declined for the second straight year as he finished with only eight points. He also had a career-worst plus/minus at minus 14.

Ian Cole – Tampa Bay Lightning

May 24, 2022; New York, New York, USA; Carolina Hurricanes defenseman Ian Cole (28) talks with coaches during the third period against the New York Rangers in game four of the second round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Danny Wild-USA TODAY Sports

Cole is on his NHL team, but when and if he starts playing for the Lightning is a huge question mark. He has been suspended pending an investigation into grooming and sexual abuse allegations. That’s all we’re going to say about this.

Jake Evans – Montreal Canadiens

Sep 28, 2022; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Montreal Canadiens forward Jake Evans (71) skates with the puck against the Toronto Maple Leafs in the first period at Scotiabank Arena. Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Evans is in his fourth season with the Canadiens, and he continues to get better every year. In a career-high 72 games last season, he scored 29 points, 13 of them coming on goals. He was one of the better players on the league’s worst team.

Vinnie Hinostroza – Buffalo Sabres

Apr 28, 2022; Boston, Massachusetts, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Vinnie Hinostroza (29) skates in the offensive zone during the third period against the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Hinostroza had a mixed bag of success in his first season with the Sabres. His 25 points tied for second most in his career. He also set a career high in penalty minutes (24) and had a career-worst plus/minus (-11).

Anders Lee – New York Islanders

Oct 4, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; New York Islanders left wing Anders Lee (27) pregame against the Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center. Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Islanders captain is back in his usual leadership role. While playing 76 games last season, his 28 goals were the second most on the team. However, it was not enough as the Islanders missed the playoffs for the first time in four years.

Kyle Palmieri – New York Islanders

Apr 12, 2022; Elmont, New York, USA; New York Islanders right wing Kyle Palmieri (21) skates with the puck against the Pittsburgh Penguins during the second period at UBS Arena. Tom Horak-USA TODAY Sports

In his third season with the Islanders, Palmieri made it to 200 NHL goals last year. It perhaps was his main achievement while recording 33 points during the season. He also had a career-high 57 penalty minutes.

Andrew Peeke – Columbus Blue Jackets

Sep 25, 2022; Columbus, Ohio, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets defenseman Andrew Peeke (2) looks to pass the puck during the first period against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Nationwide Arena. Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Peeke played all 82 games for the first time last season, making him one of only two Blue Jackets to do so. He had 15 points during that time. In a former Irish field full of veterans, the 24-year-old might have the highest upside of the group.

Cal Petersen – Los Angeles Kings

Apr 4, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Los Angeles Kings goaltender Cal Petersen (40) defends the goal against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Arena. Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

This will be Petersen’s fifth year seeing action for the Kings. Once again, he finds himself the backup to the legendary Jonathan Quick, who is a pending free agent. Could his 20 wins last season have helped position himself as the heir apparent in the City of Angels?

Bryan Rust – Pittsburgh Penguins

May 13, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins right wing Bryan Rust (17) reacts after scoring a goal against the New York Rangers during the first period n game six of the first round of the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs at PPG Paints Arena. Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 30-year-old Rust returns to the only team he’s ever known. His 58 points last season were a career high, and he was the NHL’s Third Star in January with 21 of those points. In the Penguins’ lone playoff series, his eight points placed him third on the team in scoring.

Riley Sheahan – Buffalo Sabres

SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – APRIL 03: Riley Sheahan #15 of the Seattle Kraken looks on against the Dallas Stars during the third period at Climate Pledge Arena on April 03, 2022 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images)

After being part of the Seattle Kraken’s inaugural season, Sheahan joins Bjork and Hinostroza in Buffalo for his second stint with the team. His 17 points were an improvement from the previous year, but he still has not eclipsed the 20-point mark since he had 32 during the 2017-18 season. Maybe a return to familiar grounds will help him out of that rut.

Story originally appeared on Fighting Irish Wire

Source: Yahoo Sports


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