The BC Hockey League continues to be one of the top development leagues in North America. With the National Hockey League season opening tonight, teams have declared their rosters, and the BCHL is well represented.
In total, 33 players on 22 NHL opening night rosters played in the BCHL. An additional two are included as non-roster players.
The Detroit Red Wings and Nashville Predators lead the way with three BCHL alumni on their respective opening night rosters.
The Anaheim Ducks, Colorado Avalanche, Edmonton Oilers, Minnesota Wild, Seattle Kraken, Vegas Golden Knights, and Washington Capitals are next with two, while Arizona, Boston, Calgary, Chicago, Dallas, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, Pittsburgh, San Jose, St. Louis, Toronto, Vancouver, 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 seven. Coquitlam and Victoria are next with five former players in the NHL to start the season, followed by Langley, Merritt, Nanaimo, Surrey, Salmon Arm, Trail, and West Kelowna at two.
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 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.
There are two former BCHL players starting the NHL season as non-rostered players. Montreal Canadiens Carey Price (Quesnel Millionaires) voluntarily entered the NHL’s player assistance program on Oct. 7 to help deal with unspecified mental health issues. He is away from the Habs for a minimum of 30 days.
Colorado Avalanche defenseman Devon Toews (Surrey Eagles) had off-season shoulder surgery and is also starting the season as an injured, non-roster player.
Former BCHL players on NHL opening night rosters
Anaheim Ducks (2)
Derek Grant (Langley Chiefs)
Josh Manson (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)
Arizona Coyotes (1)
Andrew Ladd (Coquitlam Express)
Boston Bruins (1)
Mike Reilly (Penticton Vees)
Calgary Flames (1)
Milan Lucic (Coquitlam Express)
Chicago Blackhawks (1)
Jujhar Khaira (Prince George Spruce Kings)
Colorado Avalanche (2)
Tyson Jost (Penticton Vees)
Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies)
Dallas Stars (1)
Jamie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)
Detroit Red Wings (3)
Troy Stecher (Penticton Vees)
Michael Rasmussen (Penticton Vees)
Danny DeKeyser (Trail Smoke Eaters)
Edmonton Oilers (2)
Duncan Keith (Penticton Panthers)
Tyson Barrie (Victoria Grizzlies)
Minnesota Wild (2)
Brandon Duhaime (Merritt Centennials)
Jordie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies)
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)
San Jose Sharks (1)
Jasper Weatherby (Wenatchee Wild)
Seattle Kraken (2)
Brandon Tanev (Surrey Eagles)
Dennis Cholowski (Chilliwack Chiefs)
St. Louis Blues (1)
Tyler Bozak (Victoria Grizzlies)
Toronto Maple Leafs (1)
Alexander Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express)
Vancouver Canucks (1)
Brad Hunt (Burnaby Express)
Vegas Golden Knights (2)
Dylan Coghlin (Nanaimo Clippers)
Laurent Brossoit (Cowichan Valley Capitals)
Washington Capitals (2)
Justin Schultz (West Kelowna Warriors)
Matt Irwin (Nanaimo Clippers)
Winnipeg Jets (1)
Riley Nash (Salmon Arm Silverbacks)