NOTRE DAME, Ind. — Nine former members of the University of Notre Dame hockey team have laced up their skates for a National Hockey League team thus far in the 2018-19 season, including Cal Petersen who made his NHL debut with the Los Angeles Kings. Petersen became the first ever Fighting Irish goaltender to appear in an NHL game, the 33rd Irish player to appear in an NHL game and the 19th in head coach Jeff Jackson’s tenure.
The Irish have played for eight NHL organizations in 2018-19, including the Arizona Coyotes (Vinnie Hinostroza), Boston Bruins (Anders Bjork), Colorado Avalanche (Ian Cole), Los Angeles Kings (Cal Petersen), New Jersey Devils (Kyle Palmieri), New York Islanders (Anders Lee), New York Rangers (Steven Fogarty) and the Pittsburgh Penguins (Bryan Rust and Riley Sheahan).
A seven-year veteran of the League and former Irish captain, Anders Lee was named the 15th captain of the New York Islanders organization prior to the start of the season based on his strong leadership skills. A 2009 sixth round draft pick, Lee has spent his entire career with the Islanders franchise after spending three years at Notre Dame. Through 32 games played in 2018-19, Lee ranks third on the team in points with 25 (12-13-25) and first in goals (12). In seven years with the team, Lee has tallied 232 points off 136 goals and 96 assists including a career-high 62 last season, netting 40 goals and adding 22 assists.
— New York Islanders (@NYIslanders) October 4, 2018
Petersen made his first career NHL start at the United Center on November 16, defeating the Chicago Blackhawks 2-1 for his first career win. Three nights later, in St. Louis, he recorded his first NHL shutout, stopping all 29 shots fired at the net by the Blues. Appearing in 10 games for the Kings since his debut on November 13, Petersen holds a record of 4-4-1.
☘️ ➡️ @NHL
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) November 16, 2018
Kyle Palmieri is in his ninth year at the NHL level and fourth with New Jersey where he serves as an alternate captain. Through 31 games he is averaging .903 points per game on 17 goals and 11 assists for 28 points. Palmieri leads the Devils in goals and sits second in points behind co-alternate captain Taylor Hall. Palmieri opened the 2018-19 season with two goals against Edmonton to begin a four-game goal-streak. As the final horn sounded in the fourth game of the season for the Devils, he had successfully netted seven goals, to put him among the top-scorers through the first 10 days of the season. He also scored two goals in consecutive games during a recent trip to southern California where he netted two against the Kings before two more in a 6-5 shootout loss to the Ducks in Anaheim.
Two-time Stanley Cup Champion Bryan Rust notched a hat trick for the Penguins recently in a 6-3 loss to the Blackhawks. The second hat trick of his career, Rust is the third former Irish skater to record a hat trick in the NHL. With 13 points through 33 games, Rust is tied for seventh on the team in points and sits solo in seventh in goals with six.
— Pittsburgh Penguins (@penguins) December 13, 2018
Rust and teammate Riley Sheahan also connected for an all Irish goal on December 1 as Rust intercepted a Flyers pass in the neutral zone, passing it to Sheahan as he raced up the ice to beat the goaltender near side. In his second year with the team, Sheahan has four goals and two assists for six points as of December 17.
Former Penguins player Ian Cole, who spent time in Pittsburgh with Rust and Sheahan, made the move to Colorado during the offseason after a brief stop in Columbus to begin his tenure with the Avalanche. A two-time Stanley Cup Champion in Pittsburgh, Cole posted his first point in an Avalanche sweater, an assist, on October 13. Since then he has accumulated seven more assists and a goal for a season total of nine points (1-8-9).
After three years in Chicago, Vinnie Hinostroza began his 2018-19 campaign with the Arizona Coyotes where he has four goals and eight assists for 12 points. He is tied for fourth on the team in points, having netted two goals against the Blackhawks and posted another multi-point night against the Tampa Bay Lightning (1-1-2).
After an injury shortened rookie season, Anders Bjork returned to the ice for his second season with the Boston Bruins where he has tallied three points in 20 games. He scored his first goal of the season at TD Garden in Boston when the Red Wings came to town for an Original Six matchup. Also adding an assist on the night, it was the second multi-point game of his career and first of the 2018-19 season. In late November Bjork returned to Providence, the AHL affiliate of the Boston Bruins whom he had spent some time with during the 2017-18 season. In seven games with the Rhode Island team, he averages over a point per game with nine points (1-8-9) through seven games played. His 1.29 points per game average leads the team and is only one of two averaging more than one point per game.
Steven Fogarty, who skated in one game for the Rangers in 2017-18, was called up from the AHL affiliate Hartford Wolfpack in November to skate at the top level. He made his first appearance of the season on November 19 at home against Dallas. He has dressed in 10 games this season, most recently on December 10 in Tampa Bay.
Fogarty, 25, has skated in 19 games with the Wolf Pack this season, registering seven goals and seven assists for 14 points. pic.twitter.com/xwAq1ZfCS9
— New York Rangers (@NYRangers) November 19, 2018
A few other Irish stars look to make their 2018-19 NHL debut soon, including Stephen Johns (Dallas Stars) who is out with an injury. Johns has spent the previous three years with the Stars organization, competing at both the NHL and AHL level and has appeared in 163 games with Dallas. The defenseman tallied 28 career points in the League with 13 goals and 15 assists.
Robbie Russo (Arizona Coyotes) was briefly called up by the Coyotes but did not dress. Russo spent part of the 2016-17 campaign with the Detroit Red Wings after spending two years with their AHL affiliate the Grand Rapids Griffins. Having been recalled to the Griffins prior to the 2017-18 season, he went on to play 75 games in Grand Rapids before being traded to the Arizona Coyotes. He is currently skating with their AHL affiliate the Tucson Roadrunners, appearing in 25 games since the start of the season.