Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month, February 2010

By Chris Roberts

The February Prospect of the Month has been one of the most consistent scoring forwards in the NCAA, but has yet to earn as little as an honorable mention on this list. His consistent scoring, however, bloomed into enormous offensive output for the month of February. With a total of 18 points in just eight games, Detroit Red Wings draft pick Gustav Nyquist is the Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month for February.

Nyquist took a somewhat different route to pursue his dream of playing in the NHL – leaving his home in Sweden to suit up for the University of Maine Black Bears in the NCAA. Nyquist’s move to North America appears to have been beneficial to his development. The 21-year-old has led his team in scoring all season as a sophomore and now sits atop of all division one scoring with 54 points in just 32 games.

Nyquist has also continued to improve down the stretch as February has been his best month this season, scoring three goals and adding a whopping 15 assists in a mere eight games. The importance of Nyquist to his team is no more emphasized than in the fact that the second highest scorer on the team sits 15 points behind with 39.

Nyquist’s consistent offensive efforts this season have him eclipsing an assist per game with 37 in 32 games while also being able to add 17 goals, including four game winners. He’s likely to spend two more years ironing out his game at the University of Maine, but either way, the Red Wings may have another Swedish steal on their hands.

Honorable Mention

Jake Allen

Allen has provided consistent goaltending for a strong Drummondville team since being traded during the QMJHL’s trade period. The second round pick of the St. Louis Blues boasts a 2.30 GAA and a .920 SV% this season, but it was the month of February which has been his best. He started the month off with a loss to Victoriaville, allowing five goals. He responded with a win over Montreal, allowing just one goal, and hasn’t looked back. In fact, he never lost a game again in February, winning 11 straight while only allowing 14 goals in those games. Allen ended the month finishing off what is now the second longest shutout streak in QMJHL history – 177 minutes and 44 seconds. He also earned the honor of QMJHL Defensive Player of the Month for February.

Nicolas Deschamps

Like Allen, Deschamps has been huge for his team, the Moncton Wildcats, since being acquired during the QMJHL trade period. Deschamps has already eclipsed his career high in points by 26 as he currently has 93 in 58 games. Furthermore, Deschamps has 49 points in just 27 games since coming to Moncton. The numbers he has posted in February (22 points in 11 games) were enough to earn him the Offensive Player of the Month award. The numbers for Deschamps get even more impressive. He’s had eight multi-point games in February including four games in which he recorded three points. Deschamps also managed to score three game winners during the month. He has been, and will be expected to be a key contributor to a stacked Wildcats team come playoff time.

Martin Jones

The Los Angeles Kings finally look great on the ice this season, but they continue to look great in their decisions off the ice. Already stacked in goal with Jon Quick and Jonathan Bernier, their free-agent signing of Martin Jones seems to be an incredible steal. Jones, in his third full season, sports a 31-11 record with a 2.32 GAA and a .913 save percentage. He’s also recorded six shutouts thus far – one shy of the seven he registered last season. Jones went 9-1-1 in February, giving up more than two goals in a game just twice. He finished the month with a 1.63 GAA and a .942 save percentage — easily his best month all season. Jones was also named CHL goaltender of the week for the first week of February and while he finished the month strong, he has not slowed down – the North Vancouver native has already started the month of March off with a 25-save shutout over the Prince Albert Raiders.

Tyler Ennis

Though he hasn’t accumulated points into the twenties like the top junior players this month, Ennis has averaged over a point per game playing against much tougher competition in the AHL. Ennis managed 17 points in just 14 games to give him a total of 59 points in 61 games which is good enough to put him first in AHL rookie scoring. Ennis is undersized at 5’9, but scoring at a great pace in his first season of professional hockey attests to the desire that the Sabres draft pick has. He’ll likely be given every chance to make the Sabres next season.