When Chase De Leo stepped onto the ice in a Winnipeg Jets uniform Sunday, it gave the Portland Winterhawks an incredible accomplishment as he became the 25th alumnus to suit up in an NHL game during the 2015-16 season.
De Leo was called up by the Jets on an emergency basis and played Sunday vs. Anaheim. He was the second former Hawk to make his debut in the last week, after Oliver Bjorkstrand joined the Columbus Blue Jackets last Thursday. Bjorkstrand then scored twice in the Blue Jackets’ win over the New Jersey Devils Saturday.
Not only have 25 alumni played in the NHL this season, but already nine players from the Winterhawks’ 2012-13 championship team have suited up in the NHL: Bjorkstrand, De Leo, Seth Jones, Taylor Leier, Brendan Leipsic, Nic Petan, Derrick Pouliot, Ty Rattie and Tyler Wotherspoon.
The team’s connection in the NHL reached a unique point when two former Hawks were traded for each other in January in a one-for-one trade when Nashville sent Jones to Columbus in exchange for Ryan Johansen.
Since the team’s inception in 1976, the Hawks have now had 120 players suit up in the NHL, with sixteen of those players doing so since Bill Gallacher became the team’s owner in 2008.
The full list of players to play in the NHL in 2015-16 is as follows (players listed in alphabetical order):
Sven Baertschi – Vancouver Canucks
Oliver Bjorkstrand – Columbus Blue Jackets
Braydon Coburn – Tampa Bay Lightning
Craig Cunningham – Arizona Coyotes
Chase De Leo – Winnipeg Jets
Brandon Dubinsky – Columbus Blue Jackets
Matt Dumba – Minnesota Wild
Andrew Ference – Edmonton Oilers
Paul Gaustad – Nashville Predators
Jannik Hansen – Vancouver Canucks
Marian Hossa – Chicago Blackhawks
Ryan Johansen – Nashville/Columbus
Seth Jones – Columbus/Nashville
Rob Klinkhammer – Edmonton Oilers
Taylor Leier – Philadelphia Flyers
Brendan Leipsic – Toronto Maple Leafs
Cody McLeod – Colorado Avalanche
Joe Morrow – Boston Bruins
Nino Niederreiter – Minnesota Wild
Nic Petan – Winnipeg Jets
Derrick Pouliot – Pittsburgh Penguins
Ty Rattie – St. Louis Blues
Luca Sbisa – Vancouver Canucks
Colton Sceviour – Dallas Stars
Tyler Wotherspoon – Calgary Flames