Apr 24, 2013, 2:58 PM EDT
Drew LeBlanc‘s year just keeps getting better.
On Wednesday, the Chicago Blackhawks — who signed LeBlanc on the same day he won the Hobey Baker — announced he’d be making his NHL debut against Edmonton tonight.
The news had to come as a surprise to the 23-year-old St. Cloud State product.
Last week, he told the Chicago Sun-Times he didn’t expect to suit up for the ‘Hawks this season, having only joined the club one day after his collegiate career ended (with a Frozen Four semifinal loss to Quinnipiac.)
“No,” LeBlanc replied when asked if he expected to see any playing time. “I’m just here to work hard, have fun, take it all in, learn what it’s like to be a professional and get as many pointers as possible.”
He’s going to get a lot more than that.
The move to insert LeBlanc makes sense on a number of fronts.
One, the ‘Hawks have little to play for with just three games left in the season — they’ve already clinched first overall in the Western Conference and winning the Presidents’ Trophy is a formality at this point (a victory of any kind tonight will clinch it.)
The move also makes sense due to LeBlanc’s playing status being in limbo.
He was ineligible to join AHL Rockford because he signed after the trade deadline (Rockford’s season is now over), which also made him ineligible for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Apr 17, 2014, 8:49 PM EDT
Perhaps 23 goals in three games didn’t hurt, either.
Apr 17, 2014, 7:55 PM EDT
He calls it … The ‘Steeglemore.
Apr 17, 2014, 7:40 PM EDT
Somehow a first-round matchup.
Apr 17, 2014, 6:51 PM EDT
Their first playoff series since 1997.
Apr 17, 2014, 6:36 PM EDT
He didn’t skate on Thursday.
Apr 17, 2014, 5:48 PM EDT
After twice serving as an assistant.
Apr 17, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT
Head coach Todd McLellan took his time announcing this one, though.
Apr 17, 2014, 4:26 PM EDT
Meanwhile, no word on Torts.
Apr 17, 2014, 4:25 PM EDT
Oh, this should be good.
Apr 17, 2014, 3:19 PM EDT
Not great developments on the injury front.
Apr 17, 2014, 3:12 PM EDT
“The quicker you get the puck off your stick, the more net there is to shoot.”
Apr 17, 2014, 2:30 PM EDT
Two teams meeting for the third time in the playoffs.
Apr 17, 2014, 2:08 PM EDT
Just in case you don’t recognize them tonight.
Apr 17, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT
“You definitely want to be physical on him.”
Apr 17, 2014, 12:41 PM EDT
Game 1 gets underway at Scottrade at 8 p.m. ET (on NBCSN).
Apr 17, 2014, 11:57 AM EDT
Classic rivalry will get underway tonight at Scottrade.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:50 AM EDT
Even though they’re not really underdogs.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:44 AM EDT
Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Both teams bounced back from bad starts to make the playoffs.
Apr 17, 2014, 11:02 AM EDT
Matt Duchene is already on the shelf.
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