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Tucker Poolman is 1 of 16 former Fighting Hawks on an NHL roster for opening night

Tucker Poolman walked off the ice in Ralph Engelstad Arena's Olympic Rink this summer after a workout. He explained why he was so eager for Winnipeg Jets training camp. "It's kind of a make-or-break year type of feeling," he...

NHL: Preseason-Ottawa Senators at Winnipeg Jets
Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tucker Poolman (3) controls the puck during the third period Sep 27, 2017, at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoa. Terrence Lee/USA TODAY Sports

Tucker Poolman walked off the ice in Ralph Engelstad Arena's Olympic Rink this summer after a workout.

He explained why he was so eager for Winnipeg Jets training camp.

"It's kind of a make-or-break year type of feeling," he said.

Well, Poolman made it.

The Winnipeg Jets revealed Tuesday that the East Grand Forks Senior High and UND graduate made the opening-day roster. Although Poolman first cracked the NHL two seasons ago, this is the first time he has made the opening-night roster.


He is one of 16 former UND players on opening-night NHL rosters. Two of them are designated injured: Christian Wolanin of the Ottawa Senators and Derek Forbort of the Los Angeles Kings.

The others are Brock Boeser and Troy Stecher of the Vancouver Canucks, Jonathan Toews and Drake Caggiula of the Chicago Blackhawks, Aaron Dell of the San Jose Sharks, Rocco Grimaldi of the Nashville Predators, Tyson Jost of the Colorado Avalanche, Brock Nelson of the New York Islanders, T.J. Oshie of the Washington Capitals, Zach Parise of the Minnesota Wild, Carter Rowney of the Anaheim Ducks, Nick Schmaltz of the Arizona Coyotes and Travis Zajac of the New Jersey Devils.

Nine other former UND players are on NHL contracts but will start the year in the American Hockey League: Rhett Gardner (Dallas Stars/Texas Stars), Shane Gersich (Washington Capitals/Hershey Bears), Luke Johnson (Minnesota Wild/Iowa Wild), Paul LaDue (Los Angeles Kings/Ontario Reign), Brad Malone (Edmonton Oilers/Bakersfield Condors), Zane McIntyre (Vancouver Canucks/Utica Comets), Austin Poganski (St. Louis Blues/San Antonio Rampage), Jordan Schmaltz (Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Marlies) and Dillon Simpson (Columbus Blue Jackets/Cleveland Monsters).

Two seasons ago, Poolman became the first former East Grand Forks player to play in NHL regular-season and playoff games.

He's expected to have a key role this season on a re-made right side of the defense for Winnipeg.

Grimaldi is entering his sixth professional season. He reached the NHL in all five previous years, but this is the   first time he has made an NHL roster out of training camp .

Boeser, who suffered a concussion last week, has been cleared to play in Vancouver's season-opener Wednesday against Edmonton. That game also will feature the return of former UND player Dave Tippett behind the bench. Tippett is the head coach of the Oilers. He last coached in 2016-17 in Phoenix.

Wednesday night will mark Dave Hakstol's first game behind the bench in Toronto, too. Hakstol was named an assistant coach to Mike Babcock in Toronto earlier this summer. Hakstol, who played and coached at UND, previously was the head coach of the Philadelphia Flyers.


The Maple Leafs host the Senators in the NHL's first game of the season.

UND alums on opening-night NHL rosters

Brock Boeser (2015-17), Vancouver Canucks

Drake Caggiula (2012-16), Chicago Blackhawks

Aaron Dell (2009-12), San Jose Sharks

Derek Forbort (2010-13), Los Angeles Kings (injured)

Rocco Grimaldi (2011-14), Nashville Predators

Tyson Jost (2016-17), Colorado Avalanche

Brock Nelson (2010-12), New York Islanders


T.J. Oshie (2005-08), Washington Capitals

Zach Parise (2002-04), Minnesota Wild

Tucker Poolman (2014-17), Winnipeg Jets

Carter Rowney (2009-13), Anaheim Ducks

Nick Schmaltz (2014-16), Arizona Coyotes

Troy Stecher (2013-16), Vancouver Canucks

Jonathan Toews (2005-07), Chicago Blackhawks

Christian Wolanin (2015-18), Ottawa Senators (injured)

Travis Zajac (2004-06), New Jersey Devils

NHL contracts, but starting in AHL

Rhett Gardner (2015-19), Dallas Stars/Texas Stars

Shane Gersich (2015-18), Washington Capitals/ Hershey Bears

Luke Johnson (2013-16), Minnesota Wild/Iowa Wild

Paul LaDue (2013-16), Los Angeles Kings/Ontario Reign

Brad Malone (2007-11), Edmonton Oilers/Bakersfield Condors

Zane McIntyre (2012-15), Vancouver Canucks/Utica Comets

Austin Poganski (2014-18), St. Louis Blues/San Antonio Rampage

Jordan Schmaltz (2012-15), Toronto Maple Leafs/Toronto Marlies

Dillon Simpson (2010-14), Columbus Blue Jackets/Cleveland Monsters

AHL contracts

Cam Johnson (2014-18), Milwaukee Admirals/Florida Everblades

Nick Jones (2017-19), Hartford Wolf Pack

Andrew MacWilliam (2009-13), Rochester Americans

Hayden Shaw (2015-19), Manitoba Moose/Jacksonville IceMen

ECHL contracts

Trevor Olson (2014-18), Orlando Solar Bears

Michael Parks (2011-15), Kansas City Mavericks



Andrew Kozek (2005-09), Klagenfurt

Jean-Philippe Lamoureux (2004-08), Salzburg

Evan Trupp (2007-11), Dornbirn

Czech Republic

Brendan O'Donnell (2011-15), Kladno


Mark MacMillan (2011-15), Herning


Ben Blood (2008-12), Tampere

Joel Janatuinen (2015-19), Turku


Colby Genoway (2002-05), Koln

Mario Lamoureux (2008-12), Dresden

Brad Miller (2005-09), Peiting


Corban Knight (2009-13), Nur-Sultan (KHL)


Ludvig Hoff (2016-19), Stavanger

Wade Murphy (2013-15), Narvik


Mike Cichy (2009-11), Tychy

Clarke Saunders (2012-14), Oswiecim


Chay Genoway (2006-11), Nizhny Novgorod

Matt Frattin (2007-11), Kazan


Rastislav Spirko (2004-06), Zvolen


Taylor Chorney (2005-08), Lugano

Danny Kristo (2009-13), Rapperswil


Drew Stafford (2003-06)

Keaton Thompson (2013-16), currently on tryout with Iowa Wild

Adam Tambellini (2013-14), currently on tryout with Stockton Heat

Brad Schlossman (@SchlossmanGF) can be reached at  BSchlossman@gfherald.com  or (701) 780-1129.

Related Topics: EAST GRAND FORKS
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