WAKEFIELD, Mass. - As the National Hockey League's Return to Play beings Saturday, August 1, 71 former Hockey East players have traveled with their NHL clubs to the hub cities of Toronto and Edmonton for the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Forty-eight will participate in the play-in round, while the remaining 23 will take part in the round-robin tournament to determine seeding. Hockey East's 71 alumni on playoff rosters represent over a third of the 218 college alumni who entered the NHL hub cities.
Boston University leads the way with 16 former players on Stanley Cup Playoff rosters, good for second most of any NCAA program this year, followed by Boston College with 14, Northeastern with seven, Providence and UMass with six apiece, New Hampshire with five, Maine with four, UMass Lowell with three, and Merrimack with one.
Overall, 23 of the 24 returning teams boast a Hockey East alumnus on their Stanley Cup Playoff rosters, with the New York Islanders being the lone exception. Kieffer Bellows (Boston University, 2016-17) and Oliver Wahlstrom (Boston College, 2018-19) suited up for the Islanders during the 2019-20 season, but are not on the active roster.
The Pittsburgh Penguins, a team which had a record seven Hockey East players on the 2017 Stanley Cup Championship team, have eight players from Hockey East on its current roster. With three on Montreal's roster, the Pittsburgh-Montreal series will feature the most Hockey East talent of any play-in round matchup.
Last season, the champion St. Louis Blues' roster featured one former Hockey East player, Boston College's Zach Sanford (2014-16). Sanford scored the Blues' fourth and final goal in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals en route to setting an NCAA record as the 20th Eagles player to have his name etched on the Cup.
Hockey East Alumni in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoff
Boston College (14) - Cam Atkinson (CBJ), Brian Boyle (FLA), Patrick Brown (VGK), Thatcher Demko (VAN), Brian Dumoulin (PIT), Johnny Gaudreau (CGY), Nathan Gerbe (CBJ), Noah Hanifin (CGY), Kevin Hayes (PHI), Chris Kreider (NYR), Mike Matheson (FLA), Zach Sanford (STL), Alex Tuch (VGK), Joseph Woll (TOR)
Boston University (16) - Nick Bonino (NSH), Shane Bowers (COL), Alex Chiasson (EDM), Adam Clendening (CBJ), Charlie Coyle (BOS), Dante Fabbro (NSH), Joel Farabee (PHI), Jordan Greenway (MIN), Matt Grzelcyk (BOS), Clayton Keller (ARI), Charlie McAvoy (BOS), Matt Nieto (COL), Danny O'Regan (NYR), Jake Oettinger (DAL), Evan Rodrigues (PIT), Kevin Shattenkirk (TB)
Maine (4) - Ben Bishop (DAL), Brady Keeper (FLA), Gustav Nyquist (CBJ), Devin Shore (CBJ)
Merrimack (1) - Collin Delia (CHI)
Massachusetts (6) - Justin Braun (PHI), Joel Hanley (DAL), William Lagesson (EDM), Cale Makar (COL), Conor Sheary (PIT), Frank Vatrano (FLA)
UMass Lowell (3) - Christian Folin (MTL), Connor Hellebuyck (WPG), Chad Ruhwedel (PIT)
New Hampshire (5) - Casey DeSmith (PIT), Warren Foegele (CAR), Brett Pesce (CAR), James van Riemsdyk (PHI), Trevor van Riemsdyk (CAR)
Northeastern (7) - Zach Aston-Reese (PIT), Matt Benning (EDM), Anthony Bitetto (WPG), Adam Gaudette (VAN), Jamie Oleksiak (DAL), Cayden Primeau (MTL), Dylan Sikura (CHI)
Notre Dame (9) - Anders Bjork (BOS), Jake Evans (MTL), Steven Fogarty (NYR), Jordan Gross (ARI), Vinnie Hinostroza (ARI), Stephen Johns (DAL), Andrew Peeke (CBJ), Bryan Rust (PIT), T.J. Tynan (COL)
Providence (6) - Noel Acciari (FLA), Jon Gillies (CGY), Mark Jankowski (CGY), Brian Pinho (WAS), Brandon Tanev (PIT), Jake Walman (STL)