Prospect Impressions: A pair of diving saves, two Finns flash their skills, and the Penguins’ version of “Home Alone”

By David Hahn
Michael McNiven - Owen Sound Attack

Photo: Owen Sound Attack goaltender and Montreal Canadiens prospect Michael McNiven is ranked 10th in the OHL in goals-against with a 2.80 average, and ninth with a .907 save percentage (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)

 

 

Troy Grosenick and Michael McNiven lead the way with a pair of must-see saves. A pair of Finns showcase their skills, while the Czech Republic hopes David Pastrnak joins them in time for the World Junior Championship. Finally, the Pittsburgh Penguins put their spin on a holiday cult classic in this must-see edition of Prospect Impressions.

While it’s hard to give the leadoff spot on Prospect Impressions to a goaltender that stopped 26 of 30 shots in a 5-4 win, in this case, San Jose Barracudas’ goaltender Troy Grosenick is deserving thanks to this unreal save. With Stockton Heat forward Drew Shore staring down the whole net, Grosenick dove back across the crease and somehow kept the puck out.

Early in the season, the Owen Sound Attack made a difficult decision when they sent Jack Flinn to the Mississauga Steelheads. That trade opened up playing time for Michael McNiven, who was finally given the reigns as the starting goalteder. With 11 wins, a pair of shutouts, and a .907 save-percentage under his belt, the Montreal Canadiens prospect has performed admirably for the Attack. Capable of making athletic saves in an instant, this one might go down as one of his best, and surely deserving of making the year-end highlight-reel.

Over in Finland, preparations for the 2016 World Junior Championship are underway. Most teams are on the verge of making their final cuts and submitting their rosters for this prestigious tournament. One team in particular waits with bated breath, as the Czech Republic is still holding out hope that Boston Bruins prospect David Pastrnak will be released to play. After logging 27 points in 46 games in the NHL last season, Pastrnak is recovering from an injury and slow start to the 2016-16 campaign by rehabbing in Providence. Based on this no-look pass to Seth Griffith, the Bruins will wait until the last minute to decide if Pastrnak will continue his rehab in the WJC, or if a return to Boston is in the cards.

Another player who knows what it is like to compete on the big stage of the WJC tournament is Aleksander Barkov. The Finnish standout was among his country’s leading scorers, and has translated his game to the NHL in flashy fashion. The former second-overall pick of the Florida Panthers in 2013 emerged as one of the Panthers leaders at both ends of the ice. However, this move is just mind-boggling and makes you wonder if the ageless-wonder Jaromir Jagr is starting to pass off some of his knowledge to Barkov.

Joonas Donskoi knows a thing or two about competing for Finland on the international stage, as well. After years of speculation regarding his NHL future, Donskoi finally arrived in North America, and the San Jose Sharks sure are happy to have him. Donskoi was one of Liiga’s top players, totaling 156 points over 271 career games. The transition to the NHL has gone well lately, and this breakaway effort is worthy of a couple looks.

Former University of Alaksa-Fairbanks captain Colton Parayko is a strong contender for the Calder Trophy this season. Entering his first full season in the NHL, Parayko stepped into the St. Louis Blues lineup and has become a mainstay on their defensive corps. Featuring a cannon for a shot, tremendous vision and decision making, Parayko further deepened the Blues’ defense. He has made a number of plays with his teammates help this year, but Parayko decided to pass to himself in this goal-of-the-year candidate.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, the Pittsburgh Penguins released their yearly adaptation of the movie “Home Alone.” Featuring all of your favorite characters, the Penguins once again do a great job bringing a little holiday cheer to the rink!

Happy Holidays from Hockey’s Future!

Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey