Welcome to the NHL: A Weekend of First Goals

Alan Bass
SON10-12

It was exciting enough for Chicago Blackhawk Joakim Nordstrom when he scored his first career NHL goal on Friday night against the New York Islanders. The 3rd round pick (90th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft made his NHL debut just three games previously, and has already shown he has the talent to stick around.

But he wasn’t the only player to experience the thrill of an NHL first this weekend. First round pick Seth Jones (4th overall in 2013), the highly-touted defenseman of the Nashville Predators, potted his first career goal in the first period of the Predators’ contest Saturday night, also against the Islanders, with a slap shot from the point on the power play.

On the same evening, the Minnesota Wild experienced an odd phenomenon with first NHL goals. Defenseman Matt Dumba, the seventh overall pick of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, scored his first career goal on a shot from the slot against the Dallas Stars. In the same game, Justin Fontaine, the University of Minnesota Duluth graduate who signed with the Wild as a free agent in 2011, scored the first goal of his NHL career, when he went around a defenseman and backhanded a shot past Dan Ellis of the Stars.

Not only is this the first time since 2009 that two players on the same team each scored their first NHL goals, but the last time it happened was when John Scott and Robbie Earl did so – also with the Minnesota Wild.

This is a good trend for the NHL. For any sports league, it is always a positive sign when the new talent being brought into the game is succeeding early and often. Even Tomas Hertl, the San Jose Sharks’ phenom, has continued to succeed, with another goal Saturday night against Ottawa – that now makes seven. The more new guys that can enter the league with vigor like this, the more exposure it garners for the game.