The 2020 Stanley Cup Qualifiers will take place in hub cities of Toronto, ON and Edmonton, AB beginning this weekend. After hitting pause on, and eventually calling off, the NHL regular season on March 12th, meaningful hockey games will finally resume with each conference dropping the puck on four best-of-five series and a round robin featuring the top four seeds.
Anders Bjork, F, Boston Bruins
The third-year winger from Mequon, WI just signed a three-year deal to keep him in Beantown this past Wednesday. As the only team to reach 100 points this season, the Bruins are huge favorites to repeat as Eastern Conference champions. Bjork should provide depth as a right winger for one of the most star-studded groups of forwards in the NHL.
Jake Evans, F, Montreal Canadiens
The captain of the 2018 Fighting Irish team that made the national championship game made his NHL debut this season, playing in 13 games and registering 2 goals and an assist. Evans and the Canadiens will take on the heavily favored Pittsburgh Penguins.
Steven Fogarty, F, New York Rangers
Fogarty spent most of the 2019-20 season in the AHL as captain of the Hartford Wolf Pack. He also served as captain of the Irish his junior and senior season. The Rangers will take on the Carolina Hurricanes in the qualifying round.
Anders Lee, F, New York Islanders
In his second season as captain of the Islanders, Lee scored 20 goals and registered 23 assists. Facing the Florida Panthers, the Islanders will rely on their explosive top line featuring Lee, Jordan Eberle and Mathew Barzal.
Andrew Peeke, D, Columbus Blue Jackets
Columbus took the former Notre Dame captain 34th overall in the 2016 NHL Draft. Peeke played in 22 games his rookie season, on a defense that includes former All-Stars Zach Werenski and Seth Jones. The Blue Jackets take on the Maple Leafs in a series that could very well go the distance.
Bryan Rust, F, Pittsburgh Penguins
A former Notre Dame alternate captain, Rust is no stranger to success in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The native of Pontiac, MI won cups in 2016 and 2017 with the Penguins. Rust will skate on the second line with Evgeni Malkin and Jason Zuker.
Ian Cole, D, Colorado Avalanche
Like Rust, another Michigan native, Cole was a member of back to back Stanley Cup champion Penguins. He signed a three-year deal with the Avalanche prior to the 2018-19 season and will look to add his name to the cup once again. Featuring a young and talented roster, Colorado finished with the second best record in the west.
Jordan Gross, D, Arizona Coyotes
Like Evans, Gross was a key member of the 2018 Notre Dame that reached the national championship game and made his debut this season. He and the Coyotes will take on the Nashville Predators beginning on Sunday.
Vinnie Hinostroza, F, Arizona Coyotes
Hinostroza signed a three-year entry level deal with the Chicago Blackhawks in 2015 prior to being traded in the deal where Chicago unloaded the contract of Marian Hossa. The Bartlett, IL native will provide depth at left wing for a team that has relied on exceptional goaltending all season.
Stephen Johns, D, Dallas Stars
In one of the feel-good stories of 2020, Johns returned to the NHL in January after missing 22 months due to post-concussion syndrome. His comeback story has led him to being a finalist for the Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy, which is given to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey. Dallas finished third in the west.
Riley Sheahan, F, Edmonton Oilers
Following an undisclosed injury, Sheahan will be good to go for the heavily-favored Oilers in the opener of their series against the Blackhawks. Sheahan is Edmonton’s third center behind two of the NHL’s top players in Connor McDavid and Leon Draisaitl.
TJ Tynan, F, Colorado Avalanche
Tynan was the 2010-11 CCHA Rookie of the Year at Notre Dame. He played in a career-high 16 NHL games this season and will provide depth at right wing for the Avs.