NHL: How Are Andrew Ladd and Former Chicago Blackhawks Doing? (Updated November)
While the Blackhawks are on their annual circus trip around the "Wild West" it is again time to see how the cast-offs of the defending Stanley Cup champions are doing.
It could be expected that some of these talented and dynamic players would go onto having some great years this season. None of the teams including the Blackhawks and the other teams that these players play for are among the best teams in the league right now.
The Blackhawks are looking to gel on the road and get on the hot streak. Hopefully by the time the Hawks' return to the United Center it will be a "united" team ready to regain the dominance in the NHL that they had last season.
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"Big Buff" was one of the four Blackhawks that are now lacing the skates up for the Thrashers this season.
One of the main catalysts in the run and victory in the finals, Byfuglien has been moved back to defense in Atlanta thus far into the young season. Many Chicago fans surely remember the back-and-forth movement over the past few seasons between "Buff" being a forward, and being on the blue-line.
Since last month some changes have occurred in Atlanta. Byfuglien was given the "A" on his sweater, and has since produced greatly. He is second on the team in points up to this point, and has scored four game-winning goals; which is three more than anyone else on the team. The role of playing defense and scoring big-time goals is really making Dustin Byfuglien once again a dominant player this season.
7 G 12 A +/- 0
A fan favorite for many Hawks fans was and still is Adam Burish. The Madison, Wisconsin native always showed passion and intensity when he played in Chi-Town, and he no doubt looks to bring those elements to his time now in Big-D.
Since joining the Dallas Stars, Burish has been put into the second line on offense with established players Brenden Morrow and Mike Ribeiro. He has also seen alot of time on the third line recently. One area that is no surprise to Blackhawks fans about Burish is that he leads the Stars in penalty minutes. He has not made much of an offensive impact so far in a Stars team that is currently on the lower end of the Western conference.
2 G 0 A +/- -2
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One of the good guys and respected veterans on the Blackhawks last season was defensemen Brent Sopel.
Though not the biggest contributor in a points sense, he often was seen giving up his body to block shots, or move players out of the crease for his goalie. Along, with others from last season he is now an Atlanta Thrasher.
Sopel is one of the team leader's in Atlanta in blocked shots thus far and has continued to provide the veteran help to a young team.
1 G 1 A +/- 3
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The victory over the Flyers in the finals could not have been any better for Ben Eager. The former top draft pick by Philadelphia was a tough, enforcer that was needed greatly by the Blackhawks, and he gave them all he had.
He was yet again another player that was sent to Atlanta this Summer, and has been one of the more active contributor's to the team so far. The 6'2 230lbs forward has given Atlanta a big time shot, and a player that is not the least bit apprehensive about mixing it up.
Eager has had a very productive month since I last reported on him. He has tallied four points including a game-winning goal in that stretch. He is only behind Evander Kane on the Thrashers in the penalty minute statistic as well.
3 G 3 A +/- 3
Another Flyers draft pick, Colin Fraser played in 70 regular season games last season, and got consistent ice time. In the playoffs he only got into three games in total, and did not have the impact that he had hoped for.
The Oilers are a team that is rebuilding, but rebuilding with a definite and clear mission. They will be a force in the future with the likes of Jordan Eberle and Taylor Hall in the fold.
Along with the Islanders who are also at the bottom of the NHL standings, the Oilers are going to have to grow up quickly like the Blackhawks did. Colin has gotten his first goals of the season over the course of the last month, and looks to continue this output in the near future.
2 G 1 A +/- 1
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John Madden was brought in for a host of reasons last season by the Blackhawks. One of the main reasons is his ability to kill penalties, and his year's of top-notch performances on special teams. But, also he was signed because he had the experience getting to, and winning the Stanley Cup (twice).
But, after his one-year deal with the Hawks' expired, Madden who is now 37 could not be brought in another year with the salary he expected to command.
Madden has since emerged from a slow start with the Wild and has had been one of the better players on the entire team in the month of November. He has scored four goals and has helped the Wild become a team that is a possible playoff contender at seasons end.
4 G 2 A +/- -5
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Andrew Ladd is the fourth and final player that has gone to the Thrashers via the Blackhawks. For many, including myself, Ladd was the most difficult player to see leave from the Blackhawks.
He was as consistent of players that anyone could ask for, and in his two and a half seasons in Chicago proved to be a tough and reliable player.
No one in Chicago would be shocked or surprised by the immediate success that Andrew Ladd has had with the Thrashers this season. He leads the Thrashers in points and has exhibited his strong two-way play so far. He also has been recently given the honor of captain of the team, and the Thrashers are currently as of now a playoff team if the season ended today.
7 G 14 A +/- 0
The man affectionately known as "Steeger" was definitely at the top of many people's lists of players they did not want to see go. Kris Versteeg won many polls in the off-season asking which departed Blackhawks player would go on to have the best season with his new team.
Versteeg has exploded recently and has given the Maple Leafs an offensive threat that the team deeply needs. The Leafs are presently not a playoff team, but are looking to make a run in the winter months.
The Blackhawks would definitely benefit from having Versteeg still, but it is still a pleasant sight to see him lighting the lamp often.
5 G 5 A +/- -8
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The main man that was in-between the pipes in the stretch run and playoffs for the Blackhawks was Antti Niemi. The undrafted goalie out of Finland became a household name over night. In the end however, it came down to either signing young and up and coming Niklas Hjalmarrson and look for a veteran goalie on the cheap (Marty Turco), or invest in Niemi for the future. As everyone knows, the Blackhawks chose the latter.
Niemi and the Sharks have not had the start that many had imagined for them. A possible Cup contender at season's start, the Sharks are sitting outside the playoffs right now. Niemi as an individual has struggled mightily so far, and has been replaced as the starter by Antero Nittymaki. No doubt Niemi could make a late season run like last year, but it is looking bad right now for Antti.
2-4 -.880% SV 3.91 GAA