Prospect Impressions: Nieves nets a beauty for Wolverines, OHL newbies impress, Draisaitl continues hot play, and more prospect highlights

By David Hahn
Adam Marsh - Saint John Sea Dogs

Photo: Saint John Sea Dogs forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect Adam Marsh has had a productive 2015-16 campaign, posting 13 goals and 24 points in 29 QMJHL games (courtesy of Francois Laplante/FreestylePhoto/Getty Images)

 

 

In this weeks Prospect Impressions, “Boo” Nieves goes coast-to-coast and scores a pretty one for the Michigan Wolverines. In the OHL, a pair of 16-year-olds shine, while Saint John Sea Dogs forward Adam Marsh goes between-the-legs in QMJHL action. Leon Draisaitl continues on his torrid scoring pace, re-energizing the Edmonton Oilers lineup on a daily basis. Lastly, a pair of goaltenders from Switzerland make it into this week’s highlights, one of them for a completely unorthodox reason.

Over the course of his first three seasons in college hockey, University of Michigan forward Cristoval “Boo” Nieves (NYR) developed a reputation as a quality playmaker. Often preferring to defer to a teammate, Nieves surprised the Wolverines by going coast-to-coast, turning a defenseman inside-out, and burying his fourth goal of the year in Michigan’s 8-3 win over Minnesota. It was an incredible show of individual skill, and something the Wolverines are hoping to see more often before Nieves graduates this spring.

Matthew Strome’s adjustment to life in the Ontario Hockey League has been a difficult one, but the youngest Strome brother is starting to show signs of why he was selected with the eighth overall pick in the 2015 OHL Priority Selection. After captaining the Toronto Marlboros to an OHL Gold Cup Championship, Strome found offense difficult to come by but is starting to heat up. Just ask linemate Trent Fox what he thinks of Strome’s offensive ability, especially after this unreal pass.

While he doesn’t share Strome’s first-round draft pedigree, fellow 1999-born forward Jason Robertson is tearing it up with the Kingston Frontenacs. Generally a team that is devoid of offense, the Frontenacs have deployed Robertson often and he has responded as of late. In a recent 4-1 victory over the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Robertson was named as the first star with his three-goal, one-assist effort, including a breakway goal that showed off his straight-line speed.

Already halfway to his career-high point total of 44, Detroit Red Wings prospect Adam Marsh recently scored one of the most creative goals of the season. The Saint John Sea Dogs forward has enjoyed a strong run of play recently, picking up four goals and eight assists in his last eight games. Marsh, who was given plenty of ice time last season after being signed as a free agent out of Chicago, IL is quickly becoming the go-to guy on offense for the Sea Dogs and is a big reason why the team is surging lately.

The success Leon Draisaitl is having in the NHL might be surprising to some, but for those that saw what he did in the WHL playoffs last year, it is simply business as usual. With 10 goals and 18 assists in 19 playoff games, Draisaitl was named as the WHL’s Playoff MVP as his Kelowna Rockets won the championship. Now in Edmonton, Draisaitl has found chemistry with Taylor Hall and Teddy Purcell, creating one of the most exciting lines in the league. His speed, strength, and vision have been mesmerizing, and as an example, take a look at this move and pass Draisaitl recently pulled off.

Standing just 5’9″ and weighing in at 175-pounds, EHC Biel-Bienne goaltender Simon Rytz sometimes has to get creative in order to make saves. Rytz has a following in the top-tier of hockey in Switzerland as an eccentric and interesting guy off the ice, but it is his commitment to making a save no matter the situation that makes him worth watching. After watching his defenseman clobber an opponent right in front of him, Rytz had to kick out the leg while prone to make an incredible save.

When faced with oncoming pressure, most goaltenders simply move the puck and avoid contact. Reto Berra isn’t most goaltenders. Berra, a Swiss-native himself, displayed his physical ability last week when he buried Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sergei Plotnikov behind the net. It sparked a meeting of the minds behind him, where Berra played it cool in hilarious fashion.

 

Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey