In this week’s Prospect Impressions, take a look as two players score their first professional goals in spectacular fashion. Meanwhile, two young AHL goaltenders produce “Save of the Year” candidates, and one of them wasn’t even paying attention during the play. Finally, all three CHL leagues are in the playoffs and highlight-reel goals abound from some of the top prospects from around the globe.
As dangerous as any prospect near the net, Nikolay Goldobin enjoyed a successful season with HIFK in Finland. In 38 games, Goldobin scored 11 goals and 10 assists, often showcasing his tremendous offensive ability. Goldobin featured for Russia’s silver medal WJC team, where he added two goals and three assists in seven games. After his season with HIFK concluded, Goldobin returned to North America and played his first AHL game, scoring his first goal and assist.
— AHL (@TheAHL) April 4, 2015
In Worcester, #SJSharks prospect Nikolay Goldobin scores his first North American professional goal in his first AHL game
— Ben Guerrero (@brguerrero) April 3, 2015
The Minnesota Golden Gophers’ loss is the Florida Panthers gain, as former Minnesota captain Kyle Rau debuted for the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage this week. Rau was a consistent performer for the Gophers, posting four consecutive 40-point seasons. He finished his NCAA career with 164 points in 160 games. The former third round pick for the Panthers scored his first professional goal this week, perhaps a sign that Rau can carry over that consistency to the next level.
— UNRL (@UNRLco) April 6, 2015
— Florida Panthers (@FlaPanthers) April 5, 2015
Swiss standout Kevin Fiala stood 10 feet away with a gaping cage to shoot at. Then, Calvin Pickard‘s glove whipped across the crease and suddenly, a “Save of the Year” candidate was born. Pickard, who made his NHL debut this season, has finally started to earn some of the adulation normally given to a top goaltending prospect. Pickard has a career-high .919 save percentage with the Lake Erie Monsters, and posted a .932 save percentage during a two-month stretch in Colorado.
— Otto Rogers (@smashmode) April 3, 2015
The fans have spoken. Lake Erie Monsters Calvin Pickard diving save is #SCnumber1, with 55% of the vote.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) April 2, 2015
Former Red Deer Rebels standout Patrik Bartosak is in his first full AHL season with the Manchester Monarchs. Bartosak has complemented AHL veteran J.F. Berube nicely, running up an 11-7-5 record with a 2.12 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. Oddly enough, during a game this weekend against the Hartford Wolf Pack, Bartosak made a save while he wasn’t even looking. It was a strange sight, as the Czech Republic native didn’t hear the whistle to begin the play. Even stranger is the fact that he ended up losing the shootout while he was actively trying to make a save on the next shooter.
— Shnarped Hockey (@shnarped) April 5, 2015
Speaking of former #WHL goalies who are AHL rookies, Patrik Bartosak is also one to watch. 9-6-3 with a 2.15 GAA and .921 sv% this year.
— Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) March 4, 2015
As a late round pick of the Philadelphia Flyers, expectations for Radel Fazleev‘s season were a bit higher heading into his second WHL season with the Calgary Hitmen. Fazleev didn’t disappoint, running up 51 points in 71 games while also taking a stride forward in the defensive zone. The Russian forward is a shifty forward full of offensive tools – take a look at this nifty play that kicked off the scoring for Calgary.
— Cody Nickolet (@DubFromAbove) April 4, 2015
It’s way early, but Radel Fazleev is making his case for the #WHLPlayoffs MVP award. 2 goals tonight and he’s been phenomenal in the series.
— Andrew Schopp (@AZSchopp) April 4, 2015
The New Jersey Devils may have themselves a gem with Barrie Colts forward Joe Blandisi. The overage center scored 51 goals and 60 assists in 67 games with Barrie, and was instrumental in helping the Colts advance out of the first round of the OHL playoffs. Part of the reason why Blandisi had a successful season is his ability to use his hands to put the puck into prime scoring position. Take a look at one example here, as Blandisi works around a diving defender before releasing an accurate backhand shot for a goal.
— Very Barrie Colts (@VeryBarrieColts) March 31, 2015
Joseph Blandisi has continued his dominant play into the playoffs. The Colts captain, who had 112pts this year, has 4g, 5a in 4 playoff GMs.
— Gene Pereira (@GenePereira1) April 3, 2015
The Halifax Mooseheads’ season was on the line in a difficult opening round QMJHL playoff series against the Shawinigan Cataractes. Luckily, one of the best draft-eligible forwards from the QMJHL has been a dynamic and enigmatic playmaker for Halifax. Swiss native Timo Meier nearly tripled his output from his rookie season, scoring 44 goals and 46 assists in just 61 games. Late in Game Five of their series, Meier put his squad ahead in the series with a one-time rocket.
— Swiss NHL (@SwissNHL) April 4, 2015
Timo Meier finished the game with 16 shots on goal, 12 of them classified as ‘dangerous’ by the league statisticians.
— Willy Palov (@WillyPalov) April 4, 2015
More Prospect Impressions coming your way next Monday!
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