Pittsburgh Hockey Digest

Hockey's Headwaters

Six local players open season in NHL

Six local players are featured on NHL season-opening rosters, which were released on Wednesday.

Pittsburgh native Matt Bartkowski was the first one to get into action, playing 13 minutes for the Calgary Flames on opening night against the Edmonton Oilers.

Chicago Blackhawks forward Brandon Saad scored two goals against the Penguins on Thursday. J.T. Miller skated for the New York Ranges, who hosted the Colorado Avalanche and John Gibson is expected to start in goal for the Anaheim Ducks against the Arizona Coyotes late Thursday.

Dallas Stars defenseman Stephan Johns and Florida Panthers forward Vincent Trocheck will get their seasons started on Friday.

Bartkowski, 29, is a Mt. Lebanon native in his eighth NHL season after playing collegiately at Ohio State. He’s in his second season with Calgary. He played for the Vancouver Canucks for one season and six with the Boston Bruins, where he was a part of a Stanley Cup victory as a rookie in 2010-11.

Saad, 24, is back in Chicago, where he was a second-round draft pick in 2011. The Pine-Richland alum came over from the Columbus Blue Jackets in a trade this offseason. Saad spent two years in Columbus and played parts of four seasons in Chicago. In 2016-17, he tied a career high with 53 points.

Miller, 24, was second on the Rangers with 56 points a season ago. The East Palestine, Ohio native and former Pittsburgh Hornets forward is entering his sixth season in New York.

Gibson, 24, has established himself as the starter in Anaheim. He played in 52 games in 2016-17. He posted a .924 save percentage, the best full-season mark of his four-year NHL career.

Trocheck, 24, had his best career season with 54 points in 2016-17 to lead the Panthers. After playing partial seasons in his first two years with the Panthers, he’s put up back-to-back 50-point campaigns.

Johns, 25, is a Wampum, Pa., native entering his third season with the Stars. He set career highs in games played (61), goals (four), assists (six) and points (10) in 2016-17.

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