The NHL regular season is coming to a close this weekend and it appears many former Michigan State Spartans players will be continuing their season into the NHL playoffs. The Detroit Red Wings, featuring two former Spartans clinched a spot last night , as did Jim Slater and the Winnipeg Jets. Torey Krug had an assist last night against the Florida Panthers in a losing effort that put the Boston Bruins on the outside looking in with their season finale against the Tampa Bay Lightning happening Saturday. So while the Spartans hockey team will not be a part of the final college hockey game of the season Saturday (Boston University vs. Providence 7:30 Saturday ESPN) let's check in on some former Spartans who hope to have a busy spring and early summer.
|Name||NHL Team||G||A||Pts.||Playoffs (In or Out)|
|Justin Abdelkader||Detroit Red Wings||23||21||44||IN|
|David Booth||Toronto Maple Leafs||7||6||13||OUT|
|Shawn Horcoff||Dallas Stars||11||18||29||OUT|
|Duncan Keith||Chicago Blackhawks||10||35||45||IN|
|Torey Krug||Boston Bruins||12||26||38||OUT (chance of getting in)|
|John-Michael Liles||Carolina Hurricans||2||20||22||OUT|
|Drew Miller||Detroit Red Wings||5||8||13||IN|
|Chris Mueller||New York Rangers||1||1||2||IN (Currently in AHL)|
|Corey Potter||Calgary Flames||0||0||0||IN|
|Jim Slater||Winnipeg Jets||5||8||13||IN|
|Corey Tropp||Columbus Blue Jackets||1||7||8||OUT|
|Jeff Petry||Montreal Canadiens||7||15||22||IN|
|Mike Weaver||Montreal Canadiens||0||4||4||IN|
|Bryan Lerg||San Jose Sharks||1||0||1||OUT|
|Ryan Miller||Vancouver Canucks||28 wins||15 losses||.913 save %||IN (Currently injured)|
- Jeff Petry (2007-2010) has had a nice run since being traded from Edmonton to Montreal at the trade deadline. Petry had a goal and an assist last night against the Detroit Red Wings and has 6 points in his last 5 games.
- Bryan Lerg (2004-2008) made his NHL debut for the struggling San Jose Sharks Thursday night. Lerg scored the game winning goal for the Sharks with just 2:52 remaining in the third period. Lerg is 29 and was a captain during his time at Michigan State. His teammates', coaches' and mom's reaction is all pretty awesome.
- Ryan Miller (1999-2002) was dressed as a backup for the Canucks last night for the first time since Feb. 22. Miller injured his right knee in that game and may get the start in the Canucks' season finale to get tuned up for the playoffs.
- Justin Abdelkader (2005-2008) has had a career year for the Detroit Red Wings. His previous high was 10 goals in a season and he only reached a high of 24 goals in the AHL.
- Corey Potter (2002-2006) has been a healthy scratch most of the season for the Calgary Flames. However, the injury to star defenseman Mark Giordano has allowed Potter to enter the lineup, playing 5 games including last night's playoff clinching win over the defending Stanley Cup Champion Los Angeles Kings.
The AHL has a little more time left in their season, with the regular season concluding next weekend. So I will be projecting if teams are in and out if they have been neither eliminated, or clinched a spot in the playoffs.
|Dustin Gazley||Hershey Bears||17||17||34||IN|
|Derek Grant||Binghamton Senators||19||16||35||OUT|
|Tim Kennedy||Hershey Bears||11||47||58||IN|
|Bryan Lerg||Worcester Sharks||13||28||41||IN|
|Chris Mueller||Hartford Wolfpack||13||24||37||IN|
|Jared Nightingale||Syracuse Crunch||0||3||3||IN|
- Bryan Lerg is the leading scorer and captain of the Worcester Sharks
- Tim Kennedy (2005-2008) continues to have a niche as a great AHL player who can't quite stick in the NHL. The same can be said for Derek Grant (2009-2011) and Chris Mueller (2004-2008).
- Jared Nightingale (2002-2006) has played for 5 AHL and 1 ECHL team this season. He has been with Syracuse for just 3 games.
- Dustin Gazley (2007-2011) has worked his way up from the ECHL to the AHL playing 67 games with a great Hershey team. Gazley at just 5'9" and 154 pounds (!) will likely never have an NHL career but it is awesome to see him have success in a pretty great league.