Toronto Maple Leafs head coach Ron Wilson, in several Toronto newspaper reports, said former UVM hockey star Viktor Stalberg made the team and will play in the team’s season-opening game against Montreal on Thursday.
“In my mind’s eye, for sure, Stalberg will be in the lineup on opening night, but he will probably be the only one (of the college players),” Wilson said in Sunday’s National Post. “He deserves a spot on our team.”
Stalberg led Toronto with six preseason goals.
“Some nights he’s been our best player,” said Wilson in Saturday’s edition of Toronto’s The Star. “His speed is incredible.”
The Maple Leafs’ Web site lists Stalberg on the 29-man roster. The site’s season preview story said Stalberg made the team.
Update, quote from UVM coach Kevin Sneddon: “Lot of other colleges are having problems with guys leaving college early, not graduating, and going to the National Hockey League. I don’t have a problem with it at all when you see the success that they have immediately. It’s when guys leave early and end up playing in the low-level minors that you question. When guys like Torrey Mitchell (San Jose Sharks) and Viktor Stalberg can step out from their junior year and make an NHL team, it shows they are developing in our program. I think they made the right decisions, as tough as they were, for their careers.”
Other former Cats currently in the NHL
Torrey Mitchell, San Jose
Mitchell played two seasons with Vermont, the last in 2006-07. He 20 points in 82 games during his rookie campaign with the Sharks.
Patrick Sharp, Chicago
Sharp played two seasons at UVM (2000-2002). A three-year NHL veteran, Sharp had 44 points in 61 games last season for Chicago
Martin St. Louis, Tampa Bay
St. Louis, Vermont’s career leader in points, is entering his 11th NHL season and ninth with Tampa Bay. St. Louis was the NHL’s 2004 MVP when Tampa Bay won Stanley Cup. St. Louis recorded 80 points last season.
Tim Thomas, Boston Bruins
One of the NHL’s premier goaltenders, Thomas had a 36-11 record with a league-leading 2.10 goals-against-average and 93.3 save percentage last season.