Kessel, Wheeler Led Gophers In The NHL

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Go Gophers! Phil Kessel
Go Gophers!
Phil Kessel's 82 points were the most by any of the 301 former college players in the NHL this year.
Go Gophers!
Gophers In The NHL

Fifteen former Gophers played in the NHL this year, combining for 421 points (136g-285a) in 842 regular-season games.

Phil Kessel led all former Gophers with 82 points (37g-45a) in 82 games. He was the highest-scoring U.S.-born player in the NHL with a career-high 82 points, and Kessel was the highest-scoring Gopher since Neal Broten had 85 points in the 1989-90 season. His 82 points also paced the 301 former college hockey players who suited up in an NHL game this year.

Kessel was not the only former Gopher who starred in the NHL this season. Blake Wheeler led the Jets in scoring in their first year back in Winnipeg with 64 points. Alex Goligoski's 30 points paced all Dallas' defensemen, while Erik Johnson had 26 points to lead all Colorado blueliners.

Second-year professional Nick Leddy, who played in all 82 games, was second among Chicago defensemen with 37 points, while Jordan Leopold's 24 points were also second among Bufflao defensemen. Paul Martin also finished second on his team for defensemen scoring with 27 points in Pittsburgh.

Leopold's teammate Thomas Vanek tallied 61 points this year, which was second on the team in Buffalo. Kyle Okposo was sixth in scoring with the New York Islanders with 45 points.

Keith Ballard also played in 47 games for Vancouver, while Jim O'Brien skated in 28 games for Ottawa and Jeff Taffe saw action in five games as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

Three former Gophers--all defensemen--also made their NHL debut this year. Stu Bickel played in 51 regular-season games for the New York Rangers. Aaron Ness skated in nine games with the Islanders and Cade Fairchild skated in five games with the St. Louis Blues.

Fifteen former Gophers also played in 727 regular-season AHL games and they totaled 371 points (146g-225a). Ryan Potulny, who played for Hershey, tied for third in the AHL with 33 goals and he led the league with 19 power-play goals. Fairchild tied for fourth in the league with a +26 rating while playing in Peoria.

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