April 22, 2015
The ultimate goal of any hockey player is to play in the National Hockey League and the ultimate goal of any NHL player is to win the Stanley Cup. The Notre Dame hockey team can presently boast five alumni skating in the NHL and the Irish went a perfect five for five in those alums reaching the playoffs.
Ian Cole (Pittsburgh), Erik Condra (Ottawa), Anders Lee (New York Islanders), Kyle Palmieri (Anaheim) and Riley Sheahan (Detroit) all are regular contributors to teams that could claim the sport’s top prize.
Acquired by the Penguins from St. Louis in a trading deadline deal, Cole played in 74 games this year for the two clubs, scoring five times and adding 12 assists for 17 points while maintaining a steady blue line presence evidenced by his plus-14 rating. Pittsburgh is facing the New York Rangers in the first round.
Condra scored nine goals and added 14 assists for 23 points during 2014-15 for the Senators. Condra’s plus-13 rating was fifth for the Senators this season. Ottawa is facing the Montreal Canadiens in its opening round series.
Lee had the best season of any Notre Dame product in the NHL and stands as a candidate to win the Calder Trophy as the league’s rookie of the year. Lee contributed heavily to the resurgence of the Islanders, scoring 25 goals and adding 16 assists for 41 points. The 25 goals ranked fourth in the NHL this year among rookies and stood second on the Islanders behind only the 38 of Hart Trophy candidate John Tavares. The Islanders are playing Washington on their opening round matchup.
The Ducks’ first round pick in 2009, Palmieri has been a steady contributor to Anaheim this season, scoring 14 times and adding 15 assists for 29 points in his 57 games played. Anaheim is facing Winnipeg in the first round.
Also a first round pick of his current team, Sheahan was the first Red Wings pick in 2010. He tallied 13 goals and 23 assists for 36 points while skating in 79 games for Detroit. The 36 points ranked seventh on the Red Wings. The Red Wings are facing Tampa Bay in their opening round series.
The last Notre Dame skater to claim the Stanley Cup as a player was Mark Eaton, a member of the 2009 champion Penguins. Notre Dame alumnus Stan Bowman, Chicago Blackhawks general manager, helped guide the Blackhawks to the 2010 and 2013 Stanley Cups from the front office.