How do you figure out which teams to root for in the playoffs when the Blackhawks aren’t in it?
It’s simple: root for players you know.
There are several former Blackhawks players set to compete in the playoffs along with Ryan Dzingel of Wheaton (Blue Jackets).
Former Chicago Steel defenseman Jaccob Slavin (Hurricanes) and head coach Dan Muse (Predators assistant) will also be in the playoffs. Slavin played from 2010-13 with the Steel, where his brother and Blackhawks prospect Josiah Slavin now plays. Muse coached the Steel to the 2017 Clark Cup championship, the first in the team’s history before leaving for Nashville.
Tampa Bay Lightning — Presidents’ Trophy winner
Former Blackhawk: Defenseman Jan Rutta
Chicago traded Rutta, a free agent signee out of the Czech Republic, and a 2019 seventh-round draft pick in January for defenseman Slater Koekkoek and a 2019 fifth-round pick.
Former Blackhawks: Forward Joakim Nordstrom and head coach Bruce Cassidy
Cassidy was a No. 18 overall pick in 1983 by the Blackhawks and former assistant coach.
Chicago packaged Nordstrom (2010 third-rounder by Chicago) with Kris Versteeg to Carolina for Dennis Roberston, Jake Massie and a 2017 fifth-rounder. After three seasons in Carolina, Nordstrom signed a two-year deal with the Bruins.
Former Blackhawk: Michal Kempny
Chicago traded Kempny in February 2018 for a third-round pick. The Czech defenseman went on to win the Stanley Cup with the Capitals. Unfortunately, he’ll miss the playoffs after he torn his left hamstring.
Former Blackhawks: Nick Leddy and Andrew Ladd
Chicago traded Leddy, who won the Cup in 2013, to the Islanders in October 2014 in exchange for defensemen Ville Pokka and T.J. Brennan and goaltender Anders Nilsson.
The Blackhawks shipped out Ladd after the 2010 Cup run in a salary-cap move when he was dealt to Atlanta for defenseman Ivan Vishevskiy and 2011 second-rounder (Adam Clendening). Ladd signed a five-year contract the next year and stayed with the club during their relocation to Winnipeg before being traded back to Chicago with Jay Harrison and Matt Fraser in February 2016 for Marko Dano and a 2016 first-rounder (German Rubtsov by Flyers). Ladd left Chicago as a free agent in the summer.
Former Blackhawks: Teuvo Teravainen, Trevor van Riemsdyk
Chicago traded Teravainen to Carolina along with Bryan Bickell in June 2016 for a 2016 second-rounder (Artur Kayumov) and a 2017 third-rounder (Evan Barratt). Van Riemsdyk was selected by Vegas in the 2017 expansion draft then was traded with a 2018 seventh-round pick (Riley Hughes) to Carolina in exchange for a 2017 second-round pick (Jake Leschyshyn).
Former Blackhawks: Adam Clendening, Artemi Panarin
Clendening was traded in January 2015 to the Canucks in exchange for Gustav Forsling. Clendening returned to Chicago for a second stint in January 2018 in a trade with Anthony Duclair that saw Richard Panik and Laurent Daulphin go to Arizona. Clendening left Arizona as a free agent to sign a one-year deal with Columbus.
Chicago sent Panarin, Tyler Motte and a 2017 sixth-rounder (Jonathan Davidsson) to Columbus for Brandon Saad, Anton Forsberg and a 2018 fifth-rounder (Michael Callahan by Arizona)
Calgary Flames — Top seed
Former Blackhawk: Michael Frolik
After winning the Cup in 2013, Chicago traded Frolik to the Jets in the summer for a third- (John Hayden) and fifth-round pick (Luke Johnson) in the draft.
Former Blackhawk: Dustin Byfuglien
After winning the Cup in 2010, Byfuglien was traded along with Brent Sopel, Ben Eager and Akim Aliu to Atlanta for New Jersey’s first- (Kevin Hayes) and second-round picks (Justin Holl) in that year’s draft, Marty Reasoner, Joey Crabb and Jeremy Morin.
Former Blackhawk: Brandon Pirri
Pirri (2009 second-rounder) was traded to the Panthers in March 2014 for a 2014 third-round pick (Justin Kirkland by Nashville) and 2016 fifth-rounder (Conner Bleackley by St. Louis). Pirri then played the next two seasons for the Ducks and Rangers, respectively, before signing a one-year deal with Vegas last October.