Skip to main content

Minnesotans, former Gophers are everywhere in the Stanley Cup playoffs

  • Author:
  • Updated:
    Original:

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

covid

Omicron fading in Minnesota? Wastewater detection provides hope

Wastewater samples can help predict a rise or fall in COVID-19 cases.

covid vaccine card

COVID: Minneapolis, St. Paul vaccine-or-test rule for dining now in effect

Proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test are required.

freight train railroad tracks

Man crawls to safety before train hits his stuck wheelchair

The incident happened Tuesday on Highway 169.

US Bank Stadium

Sizing up Vikings coaching candidates we know about so far

A closer look at some of the head coaching candidates interviewed by the Vikings

St. Paul police

St. Paul: Man called police to report he killed his wife

Police are also investigating a separate fatal shooting in the Frogtown neighborhood.

Karl-Anthony Towns

Timberwolves survive Knicks' second-half barrage to get back to .500

Karl-Anthony Towns' lay-in helped Minnesota get a win in The Garden.

FLickr - crime scene tape do not crozz

Charges: MN teen shot mom after dispute over meth

The girl's mother said there had been a dispute over methamphetamine.

bad roads, blizzard

No travel advised: High winds, whiteout conditions in NW MN

Zero visibility in parts of greater Minnesota Tuesday night.

holy angels high school j nelson

Update: Holy Angels evacuated over bomb threat, school says

Someone left a voicemail early Tuesday suggesting there was an explosive device.

radio station, microphone

Convicted stalker charged with harassment of another DJ at The Current

He pleaded guilty to similar charges involving the DJ's colleague back in 2015.

Mall of America exterior Tyler Vigen Wikimedia COmmons

10 new shops, food stops at Mall of America

Donuts, K-fashion, model cars — the new tenants cover a lot of bases.

Gophers basketball

Gophers fall below roster minimum, postpone Penn State game

It is "due to internal COVID-19 protocols within the Golden Gopher program."

Related