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State of Hockey Natives Still Going Strong in NHL Playoffs

05/04/2017, 8:45pm CDT
By Peter Odney
The New York Rangers' Brady Skjei, from Lakeville, played in 109 games for the University of Minnesota. Credit: Gopher Athletics.

The New York Rangers' Brady Skjei, from Lakeville, played in 109 games for the University of Minnesota. Credit: Gopher Athletics.

While the National Hockey League playoff run for the Minnesota Wild came to an unfortunate and early end, there are still several players carrying the torch for the State of Hockey on the sport’s grandest stage.

Four of the remaining eight teams feature at least one Minnesota-born player on their playoff roster (per NHL.com), with the New York Rangers leading the pack with three players.

Defensemen Ryan McDonagh (St. Paul) and Brady Skjei (Lakeville) team with forward Derek Stepan (Hastings) to give the Big Apple’s top team its Minnesota flavor.

Both the Edmonton Oilers and Washington Capitals feature two Minnesotans, with Blaine’s Matt Hendricks and Minneapolis’ Tyler Pitlick on the roster. Pitlick is currently on the injured reserve list for the Oilers.

Matt Niskanen of Viginia and Nate Schmidt of St. Cloud, both defensemen, represent Minnesota on the Capitals’ roster. Warroad High School hero T.J. Oshie, in fact, is not a Minnesota native, having moved from his native Washington state before his sophomore year of high school.

While both Jake Guentzel and Josh Archibald weren’t born inside the Minnesota borders, they both played in high school for Hill-Murray and Brainerd, respectively.

Guentzel and Archibald join Virginia’s Matt Cullen as players with serious Minnesota roots on the roster of the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Anaheim, Ottawa, St. Louis and Nashville feature no players from the state on their playoff rosters, but St. Louis, Anaheim and Nashville each have multiple Minnesota natives in their respective systems.  

In total, Minnesota natives have accounted for 22 playoff points, as of May 3. 

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