Three weeks after the Boston Bruins closed up shop, several sectors of the New England hockey fanbase can still take an active interest in the 2014 Stanley Cup Final. The series commences Wednesday evening at L.A.'s Staples Center, where roughly half of all active participants will an element of New England in their background.
For the first time, the NHL’s championship round will feature two teams whose AHL affiliate resides in the six-state Northeast region.
The Los Angeles Kings have partnered with the Manchester Monarchs since that franchise’s inception in 2001. For 17 years, the New York Rangers have based their top professional prospects in Hartford under the various labels of Wolf Pack and Connecticut Whale.
Naturally, there will be several alumni from the New Hampshire and Nutmeg State franchises partaking in this series. In addition, a sprinkling of New England natives and/or graduates of New England schools have the potential to leave an imprint.
In turn, regular rink-goers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire, in particular, have ample potential to boast that they were among the first to see those impact players. Furthermore, the players who are Hockey East or AHL alums likely left visiting skate marks in as many as five or all six New England states.
Here are the 2014 Stanley Cup Final participants with New England connections to watch for the most. Rankings are based on a combination of what each player has done so far in the playoffs and what should be expected of them in the final.
Unless otherwise indicated, all statistics for this report were found via nhl.com