26 players with BCHL experience on NHL opening night rosters

The BC Hockey League continues to be one of the top development leagues in North America. On Monday, National Hockey League teams were required to declare their rosters, and the BCHL is well represented.

In total, 26 players on 19 NHL opening night rosters played in the BCHL. An additional two are included as non-roster players.

The Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche and the Nashville Predators lead the way with three players with BCHL experience on their respective opening night rosters.

The Arizona Coyotes, Minnesota Wild, Seattle Kraken, and Toronto Maple Leafs are next with two, while Anaheim, Boston, Calgary, Carolina, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Detroit, Edmonton, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, and Washington each feature one player with at least one game played in the BCHL.

From a BCHL perspective, Penticton is the team with the most alumni on NHL rosters at six. Coquitlam and Victoria are next with four alumni in the NHL to start the season, while Surrey has three. Langley, Merritt, Nanaimo, Trail, and West Kelowna are next at two and Prince George and Salmon Arm have one each.

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Pittsburgh forward Danton Heinen and Nashville defenseman Dante Fabbro are the only current NHLers to play for two different BCHL teams during their time in the league.

Heinen spent four games as an affiliate player with Merritt in 2012-13 before joining the Surrey Eagles full-time in 2013-14.

Fabbro was an affiliate player for Langley in 2013-14 and played two games without any points. He jumped to Penticton as a 16-year-old the following season.

Spotlight on Barzal and Barrie

New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal and Edmonton Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie are among the two players who weren’t regulars during their respective appearances in the BCHL.

Barzal played six games with his hometown Coquitlam Express in 2012-13 as an affiliate player and had two assists. He joined the Western Hockey League’s Seattle Thunderbirds the following season, his first of four years in the Emerald City.

Barrie has the distinction of not playing any BCHL regular season games but is still technically an alumnus of the league because he played three playoff games with the Victoria Grizzlies. As a 16-year-old, he had two assists during the 2007 Fred Page Cup playoffs and joined the WHL’s Kelowna Rockets starting in 2007-08.

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There are two former BCHL players starting the NHL season as non-rostered players. Arizona Coyotes forward Andrew Ladd (Coquitlam Express) is dealing with a knee injury and has been placed on long-term injured reserve. He is expected to miss the entirety of the 2022-23 NHL season.

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price (Quesnel Millionaires) is also dealing with a knee injury that limited him to five games in 2021-22. The Habs have placed him on LTIR and he might miss the entire season as well.

Former BCHL players on NHL opening night rosters

Anaheim Ducks (1)
Derek Grant (Langley Chiefs)

Arizona Coyotes (1)
Troy Stecher (Penticton Vees)

Boston Bruins (1)
Mike Reilly (Penticton Vees)

Calgary Flames (1)
Milan Lucic (Coquitlam Express)

Carolina Hurricanes (1)
Dylan Coghlan (Nanaimo Clippers)

Chicago Blackhawks (1)
Jujhar Khaira (Prince George Spruce Kings)

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Colorado Avalanche (3)
Devon Toews (Surrey Eagles)
Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies)
Josh Manson (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)

Columbus Blue Jackets (1)
Kent Johnson (Trail Smoke Eaters)

Dallas Stars (1)
Jamie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)

Detroit Red Wings (1)
Michael Rasmussen (Penticton Vees)

Edmonton Oilers (1)
Tyson Barrie (Victoria Grizzlies)

Minnesota Wild (2)
Brandon Duhaime (Merritt Centennials)
Tyson Jost (Penticton Vees)

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Nashville Predators (3)
Dante Fabbro (Langley Rivermen/Penticton Vees)
Ryan Johansen (Penticton Vees)
Colton Sissons (West Kelowna Warriors)

New York Islanders (1)
Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam Express)

New York Rangers (1)
Dryden Hunt (Trail Smoke Eaters)

Pittsburgh Penguins (1)
Danton Heinen (Merritt Centennials/Surrey Eagles)

Seattle Kraken (2)
Brandon Tanev (Surrey Eagles)
Justin Schultz (West Kelowna Warriors)

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Toronto Maple Leafs (2)
Alexander Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express)
Jordie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)

Washington Capitals (1)
Matt Irwin (Nanaimo Clippers)