Skip to main content

Minnesotans, former Gophers are everywhere in the Stanley Cup playoffs

  • Author:
  • Updated:

Minnesota has long been known as the State of Hockey, and there's a good reason for it as the Stanley Cup Playoffs open up this week.

Not only are the Wild in the playoffs with a matchup looming against Minnesota's former team – the Dallas Stars – but there are all kinds of Minnesota connections in the postseason this year.

Former Gophers

Let's start at the top, as 11 former Gophers are in the quest for Lord Stanley's Cup.

  • Nick Bjugstad (2010-13) New York Rangers
  • Alex Goligoski (2005-07) Dallas Stars
  • Erik Haula (2010-13) Minnesota Wild
  • Phil Kessel (2006) Pittsburgh Penguins
  • Nick Leddy (2009-10) New York Islanders
  • Paul Martin (2001-03) San Jose Sharks
  • Kyle Okposo (2007-08) New York Islanders
  • Nate Schmidt (2010-13) Washington Capitals
  • Jordan Schroeder (2008-10) Minnesota Wild
  • Brady Skjei (2012-15) New York Rangers
  • Thomas Vanek (2002-04) Minnesota Wild

Meanwhile former Gopher Darby Hendrickson is an assistant for the Minnesota Wild, and Paul Holmgren is now the president of the Philadelphia Flyers.

Minnesota-born players

In all there are many players who were born in Minnesota active for the playoffs and a few others with Minnesota connections.

Zach Parise, whose status for the Wild's playoff opener against Dallas is in doubt, headlines the list.

White Bear Lake's Ryan Carter and Elk River native Nate Prosser play alongside Parise with the Wild.

But there's an impressive group playing for other teams as well.

Islanders forward Brock Nelson and Washington forward T.J. Oshie both played high school hockey for Warroad (though Oshie wasn't born in Minnesota). Edina native Anders Lee now plays alongside Nelson with the Islanders.

St. Paul defenseman Ryan McDonough had 34 points in 73 games for the Rangers, while Iron Ranger Matt Niskanen (5 goals, 27 assists) helps secure Washington's blue line, and there are others.

No matter how it plays out for the Wild, Minnesota will likely play a significant role in this year's Stanley Cup.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 10.02.43 AM

One killed in St. Paul house fire

Two firefighters were injured as they battled the blaze.


Minneapolis: Stop calling 911 for fireworks noise complaints

The city wants people to submit complaints online instead.

American flag at half-staff/half mast.

What's open and closed in Minnesota on the Fourth of July

Grocery stores are open, though some have limited hours.


18-year-old killed by exploding firework in Brooklyn Park

Police arrived at the scene to see the victim's friend performing CPR.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 9.31.25 PM

Boy found in Brooklyn Park is reunited with parents

The boy was found shortly before 6 p.m. Sunday.

police tape, crime scene

1 dead, 1 arrested after shooting involving teens in Duluth

A 17-year-old was arrested around 1:45 a.m. Sunday. Neither the victim nor the suspect has been identified.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 1.03.19 PM

NASCAR driver joins MN boy in reclaiming 'Let's go Brandon' slogan

Brandon Brundidge gained recognition when his mother shared the story of how he found inspiration in "Let's go Brandon" signs.

Screen Shot 2022-07-03 at 10.20.27 AM

White supremacist propaganda flyers distributed in Cottage Grove

The department said the flyers have been left in driveways throughout the city.

Screen Shot 2022-07-04 at 7.18.23 AM

Search for 6-year-old girl continues after mother found dead in Northfield

"Police have reason to believe Wade may have been involved in Elle's disappearance before taking her own life."

Pixabay - jet skis resting

Jet skier injured in explosion on Minnesota lake

The explosion happened on Little Lake 14 in St. Louis County.

Krisit Noem

Kristi Noem's response to 10-year-old Ohio girl pregnant after being raped

Abortion is illegal in South Dakota unless the mother's life is in danger.