WHEELING, WV- The Wheeling Nailers, proud ECHL affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, have six former players on NHL rosters, as the Stanley Cup Playoffs are set to begin this weekend.
The only team with multiple former Nailers is Wheeling's affiliate, the Pittsburgh Penguins, who are in search of their sixth Stanley Cup, which would tie them for the fourth most in NHL history. Both players on Pittsburgh's roster are goaltenders - Casey DeSmith (2015-16) and Emil Larmi (2019-20). The Penguins are the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference, and will open the postseason with a best-of-five qualifying round series against the Montréal Canadiens.
One other former Nailer remains in the Eastern Conference bracket. Tom Kuhnhackl (2012-14) is one of only two former Nailers to host the NHL's championship trophy twice, and he will take aim at becoming the team's first ever three-time winner. The German forward is playing in his second season with the New York Islanders, who are the seventh seed and have a qualifying round set with the Florida Panthers.
In the Western Conference, Josh Archibald (2014-15) hopes to join Kuhnhackl as a winner of multiple Stanley Cups. After claiming one with Pittsburgh in 2017, this title will have to come as a member of the Edmonton Oilers, who are the fifth seed and start off against the Chicago Blackhawks. Archibald's 12 goals and 21 points were the most among former Wheeling players in the NHL this season.
The player with the second most career NHL games after playing for the Nailers is still in search of his first championship parade. Mark Letestu (2007-08) has appeared in 567 regular season games and 13 playoff contests with four different teams. He is currently a member of the ninth seeded Winnipeg Jets, who have an all-Canadian battle on their hands with the Calgary Flames.
Finally, the State of Nevada is hoping one of its native sons can be part of its first Stanley Cup Champion, as Las Vegas native Gage Quinney (2016-17) made his NHL debut in February with the Vegas Golden Knights. Quinney is the only former Nailer who gets to skip the qualifying round, as the Golden Knights will play three round robin games for seeding against the St. Louis Blues, Colorado Avalanche, and Dallas Stars.
The Stanley Cup Playoffs begin on Saturday, with as many as six games per day.
Season memberships are available for the 2020-21 season of Wheeling Nailers Hockey. To purchase yours or to get more information, visit wheelingnailers.com or call (304) 234-GOAL. The Wheeling Nailers, considered one of the top things to do in Wheeling, West Virginia, provide affordable family entertainment for fans throughout the Ohio Valley.