Prospect Impressions: Sundqvist’s first, plus goals scored between-the-legs and tic-tac-toe style, McCauley’s dramatic goal call

By David Hahn
Oskar Sundqvist - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins rookie forward Oskar Sundqvist celebrates his first NHL goal in a win over the New York Islanders at the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, NY (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

 

He is certainly not complaining, but Oskar Sundqvist scored the first goal of his NHL career and an unlikely source assisted on it. Also featured are two goals scored tie-tac-toe style, and a pair of between-the-legs efforts that are just too good to be true. Plenty more assists, goals, and Wes McCauley’s dramatic goal decision encapsulate a fantastic edition of Prospect Impressions.

Well, it’s not exactly how you draw it up, but Oskar Sundqvist scored his first NHL goal this weekend against the New York Islanders. While shorthanded, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sundqvist was entrusted with penalty-killing duties and jumped on a poor turnover by Islander goalie J.F. Berube to snap home a memorable first. As exciting as the goal was, the disappointment of giving it up was enhanced when Berube was accidentally credited with an assist on a mobile application.

The chemistry between Max Domi and Anthony Duclair has been well documented to this point, but finding a third man to create a dynamic trio has evaded the Arizona Coyotes until recently. Martin Hanzal is the latest player to link up with the budding duo, and early results have been impressive. The Coyotes trio put together one of the nicest tic-tac-toe goals of the season, providing further evidence that this could be a dangerous line in the coming seasons.

As nice as the Coyotes goal is, the Albany Devils showed off some creativity and pure skill in three-on-three overtime. Just 22 seconds into overtime against the Binghamton Senators, Marc-Andre Gragnani made a quick pass to Paul Thompson, who saw former Senator Jim O’Brien back door and shuffled the puck in his direction. In the blink of an eye, two passes and a tap-in happened as the Devils picked up their 41st win of the season, a new franchise record.

It’s the dream of every young hockey player growing up: scoring the game-winning goal in overtime. Ottawa Senators prospect Thomas Chabot danced on the blueline and launched a rocket that sent the Saint John Sea Dogs into the secound round of the QMJHL playoffs.

The draft stock of Mississauga Steelheads forward Alexander Nylander continues to rise as the team hangs in tough in a difficult opening-round matchup in the OHL playoffs. The Barrie Colts torched competition this season and the pesky Steelheads have taken them to the brink with a pivotal game seven on the horizon. Nylander has played a huge part in that with his patient, cerebral approach to the game. This goal, his fifth of the series, exemplifies the type of game he brings to the table.

While his father was dealing with an unfortunate management situation in Flint, Michigan with the OHL’s Firebirds, John Gruden is in the midst of a quality U16 season with Honeybaked. Gruden has a verbal commitment to play at the Miami University beginning in 2019, but before he gets there, OHL member clubs will have a shot to convince him otherwise. With skills like these, there may be some competition at the draft table.

Gruden wasn’t the only one to go between-the-legs this week, as Teemu Ramstedt pulled it off in Finland’s Liiga. Scoring a goal in the playoffs is obviously much more difficult as the quality of opponents goes up throughout the competition, but Ramsted carved up JYP and came up with an unbelievable finish. After a 52-point regular season, Ramstedt has three goals and three assists in eight playoff games.

While this isn’t the first time an official has appeared on Prospect Impressions in a unique way, long-time NHL referee Wes McCauley made one of the most dramatic goal calls in recent memory. Who can blame him? Officiating a tightly contested rivalry game between Los Angeles and San Jose, McCauley’s explanation after hearing what the NHL’s Situation Room decided is just too funny!

 

Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey