ROCKFORD, Ill. – With their victory over the Vegas Golden Knights in Game 6 of their Stanley Cup Semifinals series tonight, Rockford IceHogs alumni Phillip Danault, defenseman Erik Gustafsson and the Montreal Canadiens are headed to the Stanely Cup Final. For Montreal, this is their first Final appearance since 1993.
The Canadiens await the winner of the other Semifinals series between former IceHogs defenseman, Chicago Blackhawks 2013 Stanley Cup champ Nick Leddy and the New York Islanders and former IceHogs defenseman and 2020 Stanley Cup winner Jan Rutta and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Game 7 between the Islanders and Lightning is tomorrow night at 7 p.m. CT in Tampa Bay.
It has been a few campaigns since the IceHogs have seen Danault in the black and red, having skated with the team from 2011-16 adding 70 points (20 goals, 50 assists) in 160 games. He has spent the last six seasons with Montreal after 32 games with Chicago from 2014-16 and placed sixth on the team this year with 24 points (five goals, 19 assists). He currently has four assists in 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games this year.
Gustafsson picked up 58 points (11 goals, 47 assists) in 120 games along the IceHogs blueline from 2015-18. He began this season with Philadelphia (24 games, nine assists and 10 points) and joined the Canadiens at the NHL Trade Deadline on Apr. 12. He has three points (one goal, two assists) in 13 Stanley Cup Playoff Games.
Also worth noting, former IceHogs forward Laurent Dauphin is in the Montreal system and skated with their AHL club, Laval Rocket, this season.
New York Islanders
Leddy split time between the IceHogs and the Blackhawks during the 2010-11 and 2012-13 seasons, scooping up 26 total points (five goals, 21 assists) in 52 games in the AHL and became a permanent fixture on the Islanders blueline since the 2014-15 campaign. He has five assists in 12 NHL playoff games this year after leading the Islanders with 29 assists and team defensemen with 31 points.
Tampa Bay Lightning
Rutta appeared in eight games with the IceHogs during the 2018-19 campaign, adding a goal and three assists for four points before being acquired by Tampa Bay in January of that season. He has appeared in 11 Stanley Cup Playoff games this season after posting eight assists in 35 regular-season contests for the Lightning.