Six former Bulldogs taking part in 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Three of the six UMD alumni play for the Winnipeg Jets, including Hermantown's Neal Pionk and Dylan Samberg, as well as Esko's Karson Kuhlman.

NHL: Winnipeg Jets at Minnesota Wild
Winnipeg Jets defense Dylan Samberg (54) gets into position against the Minnesota Wild during the third period on April 11 at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.
Nick Wosika/USA Today Sports

DULUTH — Six former Bulldogs are slated to take part in the 2023 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, which get underway Monday night.

The Winnipeg Jets’ roster includes three Minnesota Duluth alumni who are all from the Duluth area, in Esko native Karson Kuhlman, as well as Hermantown natives Neal Pionk and Dylan Samberg. As the second wild card team, the Jets take on the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Vegas Golden Knights, starting Tuesday in Las Vegas.

All six former Bulldogs in this year’s Stanley Cup Playoffs are in the Western Conference. The No. 3 Los Angeles Kings, featuring former Bulldogs Alex Iafallo and Mikey Anderson, take on the No. 2 Edmonton Oilers starting Monday. Carson Soucy and the Seattle Kraken take on the second overall seed in the West, the Colorado Avalanche, starting Tuesday.

NHL: Los Angeles Kings at Calgary Flames
Los Angeles Kings defenseman Mikey Anderson (44) controls the puck against the Calgary Flames during the first period at Scotiabank Saddledome on March 28 in Calgary, Alberta.
Sergei Belski / USA Today Sports

Four other former Bulldogs who played NHL games with Stanley Cup Playoffs teams this season could be called up at a later date include Duluth native Dominic Toninato of the Jets, Nick Swaney of the Minnesota Wild, Cole Koepke of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Riley Tufte of the Dallas Stars.

All four play for teams taking part in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs, which get underway Tuesday.


After making his NHL debut last Thursday, Swaney scored two goals on Sunday — the final day of the AHL regular season — in the Iowa Wild’s 5-2 win over Tufte and the Texas Stars, clinching a playoff spot for Iowa.

Texas is the No. 1 seed in the Central Division playoff bracket, which includes No. 4 Iowa and Dominic Toninato and the No. 3 Manitoba Moose. Koepke and the Syracuse Crunch are the No. 2 seed in the North Division bracket.

Former Bulldogs in NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Alex Iafallo, Los Angeles Kings
Mikey Anderson, Los Angeles Kings
Carson Soucy, Seattle Kraken
Neal Pionk, Winnipeg Jets
Dylan Samberg, Winnipeg Jets
Karson Kuhlman, Winnipeg Jets

Former Bulldogs in AHL Calder Cup Playoffs

Nick Swaney, Iowa Wild 
Dominic Toninato, Manitoba Moose 
Cole Koepke, Syracuse Crunch 
Riley Tufte, Texas Stars 
Jackson Cates, Lehigh Valley Phantoms
Joey Anderson, Rockford Ice Hogs
Andy Welinski, Rockford Ice Hogs
Nick Wolff, Providence Bruins
Matt Cairns, Milwaukee Admirals
Louie Roehl, Hartford Wolf Pack
Scott Perunovich, Springfield Thunderbirds
Hunter Shepard, Hershey Bears

Played an NHL game during the 2022-23 season

Co-host of the Bulldog Insider Podcast and college hockey reporter for the Duluth News Tribune and The Rink Live covering the Minnesota Duluth men's and women's hockey programs.
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