Prospect Impressions: Strome, Nedeljkovic shine at World Juniors, Myers uses his head

By David Hahn
Dylan Strome - Team Canada - 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo: Team Canada forward and Arizona Coyotes prospect Dylan Strome is once again among the scoring leaders in the OHL, with Strome having posted 16 goals and 53 points in 25 games for the Erie Otters in 2015-16 (courtesy of RONI REKOMAA/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

The 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship is underway in Helsinki, Finland, and there are a number of developing storylines. Dylan Strome and the Canadian squad rebounded following a loss to Alex Nedeljkovic and the United States, and both players find their way in the this week’s Prospect Impressions. Joining them are Louke Oakley and Sergei Mozyakin with a pair of beauties from Europe, while Tyler Myers and Kevin Shattenkirk prevent goals in unique fashion.

Lifelong friends Dylan Strome and Mitch Marner needed to kickstart their WJC mojo, and a friendly matchup against Denmark was just the trick. After dropping a decision to the United States, Canada rebounded to beat Denmark by a final score of 6-1. Strome was named Player of the Game after scoring once and adding an assist on Marner’s goal. Strome, the third overall pick of the Arizona Coyotes at the 2015 NHL Draft, is starting to heat up and will be a player to watch as the tournament progresses.

If there was any doubt who the number one goaltender was for the Team USA, Alex Nedeljkovic removed all doubt after helping the U.S. defeat Canada by a final score of 4-2. Nedeljkovic stopped 25 of 27 shots in the game, including a trio of highlight-reel quality stops that propelled the Carolina Hurricanes‘ prospect straight to the top of most WJC statistical categories for netminders.

In preparation for this World Junor Championship, Team Sweden launched a number of shots on net, and three of them went in. The odd thing was that three others went through the net, exposing a malfunction with an old net being used for the tournament. It has been done before by the likes of Brett Clark, Shea Weber, and most recently, Jack Eichel, but three in the same game? Has to be seen to be believed!

While his age might be a deterrent, 34-year-old Sergei Mozyakin might eye a move to North America after this season. The KHL’s leading scorer, Mozyakin has been an important piece of the puzzle for Metallurg Magnitogorsk over the last five years. Now captain of the team, it is possible that Mozyakin considers a move, following in the footsteps of players like Sergei Plotnikov, Viktor Tikhonov, Sergei Kalinin, and Artemi Panarin.

The pride of Clarkson University, Louke Oakley is enjoying success in the second tier in Germany and has been among the league’s leading scorers all season. Oakley, a Whitby, Ontario native, invaded the league last year and posted an impressive 51 goals and 55 assists in just 38 games, and thanks to this effort over the weekend, Oakley’s scoring touch might result in a call-up to the DEL.

Some employees are lucky enough to receive a holiday bonus for a job well done this time of year. Winnipeg Jets defenseman Tyler Myers should get one for this effort where he uses his face to stop two shots by Pittsburgh Penguins forwards Chris Kunitz and Evgeni Malkin. The Jets held on for a shutout victory over the Penguins, and no person was happier than Connor Hellebuyck, who got credit for his first NHL shutout.

While he didn’t use his face, Kevin Shattenkirk made an equally impressive save, knocking a puck out of mid-air in overtime to preserve the extra point for the St. Louis Blues.

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey