The first round of the NHL playoffs is well underway, with 16 teams battling to continue the quest for the Stanley Cup.

The pairings go like this:

Calgary Flames vs. Anaheim Ducks

New York Rangers vs. Montreal Canadiens

Columbus Blue Jackets vs. Pittsburgh Penguins

St. Louis Blues vs. Minnesota Wild

San Jose Sharks vs. Edmonton Oilers

Boston Bruins vs. Ottawa Senators

Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Washington Capitals

Nashville Predators vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Here in the Seattle area, hockey fever’s also heating up, with news of NHL acquiring the Canadian trademark for the Seattle Metropolitans (the first US team to win the Stanley Cup, back in 1917),  plus movement on the arena front, as we learn more about the players behind the proposals to renovate KeyArena, in competition with Chris Hansen’s proposal to build a new arena next to Safeco Field.

Playoff hockey is also taking center stage in the the northwest, with three Western Hockey League (WHL) teams in Washington state, plus a team in Portland, in post-season play: Seattle Thunderbirds, Everett Silvertips, Tri-City Americans, and Portland Winterhawks. Of these teams, only the T-Birds are still in the playoff hunt, after knocking off the Americans and Silvertips on Rounds 1 and 2, respectively. The Winterhawks lost to the Kelowna Rockets, who become the T-Birds’ next opponents. CLICK HERE to follow the T-Birds’ progress.

The WHL is comprised of players aged 16 – 20 , all of whom are draft-eligible at age 18. Very few players make it to the NHL. However, ten of the 16 teams in the NHL playoffs include players from the WHL’s US Division (Everett Silvertips, Seattle Thunderbirds, Spokane Chiefs, Tri-City Americans, and Portland Winterhawks).

So, if you live in Washington or Oregon, support these teams. Some of the players you watch today, could be the NHL stars you cheer for tomorrow.

Anaheim Ducks:

D-Clayton Stoner (Tri-City Americans)

D-Shea Theodore (Seattle Thunderbirds)

C-Nate Thompson (Seattle Thunderbirds)

Shea Theodore, shown with T-Birds teammate (and Islanders’ prospect) Mathew Barzal

 

Boston Bruins:

D-Joe Morrow (Portland Winterhawks)

Chicago Blackhawks:

RW-Marian Hossa (Portland Winterhawks)

Columbus Blue Jackets:

D-Seth Jones (Portland Winterhawks)

D-Ryan Murray ( Everett Silvertips)

Ryan Murray with Everett Silvertips

Edmonton Oilers:

D-Andrew Ference (Portland Winterhawks)

C-Jujhar Khaira (Everett Silvertips)

Minnesota Wild:

RW-Nino Niederreiter (Portland Winterhawks)

D-Jared Spurgeon (Spokane Chiefs)

Montreal Canadiens:

G-Carey Price (Tri-City Americans)

Carey Price with Tri-City Americans

 

Nashville Predators:

C-Ryan Johansen (Portland Winterhawks)

LW-Cody McLeod (Portland Winterhawks)

San Jose Sharks:

D-Brenden Dillon (Seattle Thunderbirds)

RW-Jannik Hansen (Portland Winterhawks)

LW-Patrick Marleau (Seattle Thunderbirds)

Patrick Marleau with Seattle Thunderbirds

 

Washington Capitals:

 

RW-T.J. Oshie – T.J. came up through the Seattle Junior Hockey Association, before attending high school in Warroad, Minnesota, then playing at the University of North Dakota.

T.J. Oshie with the Seattle Junior Hockey Association

 

 

 

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