Prior to the 2010 NHL playoffs, many people suspected that the Blackhawks would be in the Stanley Cup final. However, anyone outside of Philadelphia that thought the Flyers would be playing hockey in June would likely have been referred for professional help.
(If you did pick the Flyers to be playing for the Cup, please contact me. I need some help with my PowerBall numbers)
That said, the stage is now set for the Stanley Cup Finals in the 2010 playoffs and there are two players who might just be looking forward to it more than anyone else. Michael Leighton and Patrick Sharp are both facing off against the team that drafted only to traded them away.
Leighton Looking Sharp
Interestingly enough, these teams have some trade history between them that has impacted these playoffs and will certainly have bearing on this series.
The Philadlephia Flyers are riding the back of goaltender Michael Leighton, who happens to be a former draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks picked Leighton in the 6th Round of the 1999 draft, 165th overall. Leighton played 42 games, recording just8 wins, with Chicago over the course of two seasons 2002-04.
The Blackhawks traded Leighton to the Buffalo Sabres in October of 2005 for Milan Bartovic. Never heard of him? I can’t say I blame you. Bartovic played just 24 games for Chicago that season and has never played in the NHL since.
Patrick Sharp Shooting For Cup
Patrick Sharp has been no slouch in these playoffs for the Blackhawks. While being overshadowed by a remarkable playoffs from Captain Toews, Sharp has quietly amassed 16 points in 16 games during these playoffs.
Sharp’s connection to the Flyers goes back to his draft year when he was selected in the 3rd Round, 95th overall, by Philadelphia out of the University of Vermont.
Sharp managed 10 Goals and 19 assists in 66 Games with Philadelphia before being traded to Chicago with Eric Meloche for Matt Ellison and a 3rd Round pick in the 2006 draft. At this point, it certainly looks like Chicago got the better of that trade.
Which One Will Laugh Last?
Which of these players will have the last laugh against the team that drafted them and subsequently traded them away for next to nothing?
Both can certianly take prid ein their performances this post-season and the odds on favorite would have to be Sharp and the Blackhawks. But, people have been counting out the Flyers from day one.
It should be a great series and regardless of the result, Mr. Leighton will be looking for a hefty pay raise come July.
The Chicago Blackhawks and the Philadelphia Flyers will face off for Game #1 of the final series on Saturday May 29, 2010 at 8:00 PM EST. The full schedule, including the television scheduleis here on NHL.com.