The BC Hockey League continues to be one of the top development leagues in North America. With the COVID-19 impacted National Hockey League season set to open tonight, teams have declared their rosters, and the BCHL is well represented.
In total, 29 players on 21 NHL opening night rosters played in the BCHL.
The BCHL compiled its own list of alumni featured on NHL rosters but didn’t include players who were affiliates in the league and didn’t separate opening night rosters from taxi squads.
The Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, and Nashville Predators lead the way with three BCHL alumni on their respective opening night rosters.
The Colorado Avalanche and Detroit Red Wings are next with two, while Buffalo, Calgary, Chicago, Columbus, Dallas, Minnesota, Montreal, New Jersey, New York Islanders, Ottawa, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, Washington, and Winnipeg each feature one former BCHL player on the roster.
From a BCHL perspective, Penticton is the team with the most alumni on NHL rosters at six. The Coquitlam/Burnaby franchise is next with five former players in the NHL to start the season. Victoria has four, followed by Surrey and Salmon Arm with three and West Kelowna at two.
Anaheim 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.
New York Islanders forward Mathew Barzal and Edmonton Oilers defenceman Tyson Barrie are 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 still counts as 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 BCHL post-season and joined the Kelowna Rockets starting in 2007-08.
The Red Wings have the most former BCHL players on their taxi squad with three. Colorado, Minnesota, and Washington each feature one.
Former BCHL players on NHL opening night rosters:
Anaheim Ducks (3)
Derek Grant (Langley Chiefs)
Josh Manson (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Danton Heinen (Merritt Centennials/Surrey Eagles)
Buffalo Sabres (1)
Matt Irwin (Nanaimo Clippers)
Calgary Flames (1)
Milan Lucic (Coquitlam Express)
Chicago Blackhawks (1)
Duncan Keith (Penticton Panthers)
Colorado Avalanche (2)
Tyson Jost (Penticton Vees)
Devon Toews (Surrey Eagles)
Columbus Blue Jackets (1)
Riley Nash (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Dallas Stars (1)
Jamie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)
Detroit Red Wings (2)
Troy Stecher (Penticton Vees)
Danny DeKeyser (Trail Smoke Eaters)
Edmonton Oilers (3)
Kyle Turris (Burnaby Express)
Jujhar Khaira (Prince George Spruce Kings)
Tyson Barrie (Victoria Grizzlies)
Minnesota Wild (1)
Brad Hunt (Burnaby Express)
Montreal Canadiens (1)
Carey Price (Quesnel Millionaires)
Nashville Predators (3)
Dante Fabbro (Langley Rivermen/Penticton Vees)
Ryan Johansen (Penticton Vees)
Colton Sissons (West Kelowna Warriors)
New Jersey Devils (1)
Travis Zajac (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
New York Islanders (1)
Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam Express)
Ottawa Senators (1)
Mike Reilly (Penticton Vees)
Pittsburgh Penguins (1)
Brandon Tanev (Surrey Eagles)
St. Louis Blues (1)
Tyler Bozak (Victoria Grizzlies)
Toronto Maple Leafs (1)
Alexander Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express)
Vancouver Canucks (1)
Jordie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)
Washington Capitals (1)
Justin Schultz (West Kelowna Warriors)
Winnipeg Jets (1)
Laurent Brossoit (Cowichan Valley Capitals)
Former BCHL players on NHL taxi squads:
Colorado Avalanche (1)
Hunter Miska (Penticton Vees)
Detroit Red Wings (3)
Dennis Cholowski (Chilliwack Chiefs)
Michael Rasmussen (Penticton Vees)
Kevin Boyle (West Kelowna Warriors)
Minnesota Wild (1)
Andrew Hammond (West Kelowna Warriors/Surrey Eagles/Vernon Vipers)
Washington Capitals (1)
Daniel Carr (Powell River Kings)