Round One of the NHL Stanley Cups playoffs was not good to former Rockford IceHogs. The quick ouster of the Chicago Blackhawks sent about half of the former IceHogs home. Most of the rest of the former IceHogs went home with the playoff losses of the Calgary Flames, Columbus Blue Jackets, Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators, Boston Bruins and Toronto Maple Leafs.
With the New York Rangers advancing to Round Two, there are still two former IceHogs alive in the playoffs. Kevin Klein and Antti Raanta are the last IceHogs standing, despite the fact that they have been sitting for most of the playoffs.
Klein saw action in one game of the first series. He logged in one assist though. At least he got his name on the scoring sheet, which puts him at the top of the former IceHogs list for now.
Goalie Raanta has yet to see any ice time. Henrik Lundqvist played all six games of the first round and the first game of the second round. It appears Raanta’s best shot at playing time will be if Lundqvist exhausts himself.
I don’t expect much from either Klein or Raanta throughout the rest of the playoffs. It would be nice to see each get some playing time and contribute something to the team though.
It has been a disappointing post-season for former IceHogs. I can’t even say that at least the former IceHogs got valuable playoff experience. The best I can say is that maybe the overall experience will help them in the future.
The quick playoffs departure of the Blackhawks lead to some organizational changes. I see the Blackhawks going a bit younger next season. That should be good news for some of the former IceHogs. They should get more regular season playing time, which should lead to more postseason ice time.
For now, though, IceHogs’ fans will keep watching the Rangers and hoping Klein and Raanta gets an opportunity to produce. They are our last hope this season.