Honestly, just for the historical aspect, I would have loved to see the Chicago Blackhawks and New York Rangers face off against each other in a Stanley Cup final for the first time. Considering both teams entered the National Hockey League in the 1920’s and the league was reduced to just six teams for a few decades, this is a pretty amazing amount of time that the two have avoided each other.
However, as a fan of the Ontario Hockey League, I don’t think it gets much better than a Los Angeles Kings and New York Rangers showdown in the finals. Los Angeles has eleven OHL grads that have played at least a game in the 2013-14 playoffs. The Rangers aren’t that far behind with eight. This truly represents what an amazing developmental hockey league the OHL is.
As for the Rangers and Kings, this series is about as rare as they come. The two teams have never met in a series beyond the old Preliminary Round of the pre-Bettman era. New York and Los Angeles have only met twice in the playoffs, previous to 2013-14. The Rangers won both times with a 2-0 victory in 1978-79 and a 3-1 victory in 1980-81.
Here’s a quick summary of your Ontario Hockey League alumni that will be fighting to have their names inscribed on the Stanley Cup.
New York Rangers
Rick Nash – Nash played two years in the OHL, 2000-01 and 2001-02, both with the London Knights. Rick was the first overall pick at the 2002 NHL Entry Draft by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He has been with the Rangers since 2012-13.
Benoit Pouliot – Pouliot played three years in the OHL from 2003-04 to 2005-06, all with the Sudbury Wolves. Benoit was a fourth overall pick in 2005, going to the Minnesota Wild. 2013-14 is his first year with New York.
Dan Girardi – Girardi played five years in the OHL from 2000-01 to 2004-05 with the Barrie Colts, Guelph Storm and London Knights. Dan was undrafted to the National Hockey League but has been with the Rangers since 2006-07.
Marc Staal – Staal played four years with the Sudbury Wolves from 2003-04 to 2006-07 and was teammates with Benoit Pouliot for three of those years. The Rangers took Marc 12th overall at the 2005 NHL Entry Draft and he has been with New York since 2007-08.
Kevin Klein – Klein played four years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2000-01 to 2003-04 with the Toronto Majors and Guelph Storm. Kevin was a second round pick by the Nashville Predators in 2003, 37th overall. He came to the Rangers this year at the trade deadline.
J.T. Miller – Miller played just one year in the OHL, 2011-12 with the Plymouth Whalers. He was a 15th overall pick by the Rangers in 2011-12 and has played with the club since 2012-13.
Dan Carcillo – The well travelled Carcillo played three years in the OHL from 2002-03 to 2004-05 with the Sarnia Sting and Mississauga IceDogs. He was a third round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2003, 73rd overall. Coincidentally, Dan was traded to the Rangers during the 2013-14 season from the Los Angeles Kings.
John Moore – Moore played one year in the OHL, 2009-10 with the New York Rangers. John was a first round pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 21st overall by the Columbus Blue Jackets. He was traded to New York in 2012-13.
Los Angeles Kings
Jeff Carter – Carter played four years in the OHL from 2001-02 to 2004-05, all with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Jeff was an eleventh overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2003. He has been with the Kings since 2011-12.
Justin Williams – Williams played two years with the Plymouth Whalers, 1998-99 and 1999-00. He was the 28th overall pick by the Philadelphia Flyers in 2000 and has been with the Kings since 2008-09.
Drew Doughty – Doughty played three years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2005-06 to 2007-08, all with the Guelph Storm. Drew was the second overall pick at the 2008 NHL Entry Draft by Los Angeles. He has been with the Kings since 2008-09.
Tyler Toffoli – Toffoli played four years with the Ottawa 67’s from 2008-09 to 2011-12. He was a second round pick by the Kings at the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, 47th overall. 2013-14 is Tyler’s second year with Los Angeles.
Tanner Pearson – Pearson played two years in the OHL, 2010-11 and 2011-12, with the Barrie Colts. He was the final pick in the first round in 2012, going to the Kings 30th overall. Tanner has been a major force in the 2013-14 playoffs despite appearing in just one game with the Kings in 2012-13 playoffs and 25 regular season games with the club in 2013-14.
Dustin Brown – Brown played three years with the Guelph Storm from 2000-01 to 2002-03. The captain was the 13th overall pick in 2003 by the Kings and has been with Los Angeles since 2003-04.
Jake Muzzin – Muzzin played four years in the OHL from 2006-07 to 2009-10, all with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Jake was a lowly fifth round pick by the Pittsburgh Penguins at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, 141st overall. He has been in the Los Angeles organization since 2010-11 with 2013-14 being his first full-time season.
Mike Richards – Richards played four years with the Kitchener Rangers, 2001-02 to 2004-05. He was taken by the Philadelphia Flyers 24th overall in 2003 and has been with the Kings since 2011-12.
Trevor Lewis – Lewis played just one year in the OHL, 2006-07 with the Owen Sound Attack. Trevor was the 17th overall pick at the 2006 NHL Entry Draft by the Kings. He has been in the Los Angeles organization since 2006-07 and full-time with the NHL club since 2010-11.
Kyle Clifford – Clifford played three years with the Barrie Colts from 2007-08 to 2009-10. The Kings took Kyle in the second round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, 35th overall. He has been with Los Angeles since the 2010-11 season.
Jordan Nolan – Nolan played five years in the Ontario Hockey League from 2005-06 to 2009-10 with the Erie Otters, Windsor Spitfires and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Jordan was a seventh round pick by the Kings in 2009, 186th overall. He has been with the Kings since 2011-12.