How former Chicago Blackhawks are faring with new teams
With the Blackhawks off Friday after an impressive 5-1 victory over Winnipeg, I thought this would be a good time to take a look at how some of their former teammates are faring this season.
I'll admit it: I was in the minority last off-season when I thought GM Stan Bowman should explore a trade for Corey Crawford and see if he could sign Scott Darling to a long-term deal.
So excuse me for a second while I wipe the egg off my face.
Darling has had a rough go of it thus far in his first season with the Hurricanes, ranking 41st in save percentage (.899) and 25th in goals-against average (2.72) through Thursday's action. Crawford, meanwhile, has been flat-out spectacular once again, ranking third in both of categories (.934, 2.15).
When Dallas played the Hawks last December and Darling was playing every game for the injured Crawford, Stars coach Lindy Ruff issued this warning for those who thought Darling would succeed no matter where he played:
"It's always hard to project on a different team. I still think (in Chicago) you've got three of the best defensemen in the league that you're surrounding your goaltender with, and you put him in a market where you don't have that, it's always an interesting scenario."
Darling's record (7-9-6) would be a lot better if Carolina (2.77 goals per game) would score more, but the bottom line is he needs to be better.
Other former Hawks on the Hurricanes include Teuvo Teravainen (8G, 16A), Marcus Kruger (1-4), Joakim Nordstrom (2-2) and defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk (1-6). On Tuesday, Kruger and van Riemsdyk scored Carolina's regulation goals in a 3-2 shootout victory at Las Vegas.
The Hawks host the Hurricanes on March 8.
Apparently, Artemi Panarin doesn't miss Chicago much. The Russian superstar is doing everything Columbus hoped for -- and perhaps more -- after being traded in excahnge for Brandon Saad in the off-season.
Panarin is proving he passes just as well as he scores, leading Blue Jackets with 21 assists.
In a 5-3 win over New Jersey on Dec. 8, Panarin became the first player since Brian Leetch in 1995 to record 5 primary assists in one game. On his fourth assist, Panarin -- playing in the middle of Columbus' 1-3-1 power play -- took the puck and backhanded a perfect pass to Alexander Wennberg.
"He is a true pro," Columbus coach John Tortorella told reporters. "This is the third spot we've put him on the power play, and all's he does is say, 'Yes, I'm going to do the best I can.'
"I'm impressed with him."
Panarin is on the top line with John Anderson and Pierre-Luc Dubois. The trio has 12 goals and 11 assists over the past 12 games.
Also in Columbus is Tyler Motte, who played 33 games for the Hawks last season. Motte has 3 goals an 1 assist in 18 games.
Niklas Hjalmarsson has been injured twice already this season and missed the last six games for the Coyotes. This time he is out with an upper-body injury and not expected to return for about a week, according to coach Rick Tocchet.
The Hawks traded Hjalmarsson last off-season for Connor Murphy, who has played in 29 of 32 games. Murphy has 5 assists, all of them coming in the last 10 games.
Phillip Danault and Andrew Shaw are playing big roles on a low-scoring Montreal team (2.72 goals/game). Danault (6G, 13A) and Brendan Gallagher lead the Canadiens scoring, while Shaw has 8 goals and 8 assists.
Danault, who was traded for Tomas Fleischmann and Dale Weiss on Feb. 26, 2016, had 13 goals and 27 assists last season. Shaw signed a six-year, $23.9 million deal after the 2015-16 season.
A few more:
Other former Hawks with at least 10 points include the Islanders' Nick Leddy (6-18--24) and Andrew Ladd (8-7--15), Calgary's Michael Frolik (5-7--12), Anaheim's Antoine Vermette (6-6--12) and Winnipeg's Dustin Byfuglien (0-15--15).
Antti Raanta is 4-6-2 with a .919 save percentage and 2.68 goals-against average for Arizona, while Antti Niemi (0-4-1, .856, 5.20) has already played for Pittsburgh, Florida and Montreal this season.