The final Prospect Impressions of the year is finally here, and the top five plays of the 2015-16 season have arrived.
The Nylander name is a strong one, with a storied past that includes an NHL veteran, an NHL rookie, and a player sure to hear his name called early in the 2016 NHL Draft. But a most familiar name has provided the top individual effort in the now completed 2015-16 campaign.
Take a look at the rest of the top plays as Prospect Impressions draws to a fitting conclusion.
5. Alexander Nylander
Playing under his father, former NHL veteran Michael Nylander, who coaches with the Mississauga Steelheads, Alexander Nylander enjoyed a seamless transition to the OHL. He led all rookies with 75 points, setting a new Steelheads record for points by a rookie, which led to being the recipient of the Emms Family Award as OHL Rookie of the Year. He was also recognized in the Eastern Conference Coaches Poll as one of the league’s best players in the areas of stickhandling, shootout skills, and best shot.
He put those skills on display against the Barrie Colts earlier this year, finding some open ice and tucking the puck in. Like his older brother William, a prospect within the Toronto Maple Leafs system, he would be eligible to play in the AHL since he was loaned this year, adding to his draft intrigue.
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) April 1, 2016
Hat trick (four-point night) for Alex Nylander as Fish score six bleepin’ times in third to win Game 2 over Barrie. https://t.co/RwEZJVC0w5
— Ian Shantz (@IanShantz) March 29, 2016
— Hockey’s Future (@HockeysFuture) June 3, 2016
4. Louke Oakley
Former Clarkson University forward Louke Oakley took his talents to Germany, where he has worked his way up through their ranks. Last season, Oakley scored 106 points in just 38 games in Germany’s third tier of professional hockey. Moving up to the DEL2 this year, Oakley produced 42 points in 43 games, including 21 goals.
Of those 21, this goal is one of the best, thanks in part to all the different elements of the game he put into this top play. Oakley’s hand-eye coordination is off the charts, making something spectacular out of a broken play.
— Jack Vautour (@vulture48) December 23, 2015
3. Sonny Milano
Cleveland’s long-standing drought without a professional sports championship recently came to a conclusion, and Sonny Milano was a big part of that. Milano suited up for the Lake Erie Monsters, the new AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets, and put together a strong season. He finished with 14 goals and 17 assists in his first season in the AHL, but it is his strong playoff run and ridiculous spin-o-rama that got people in the industry talking.
Milano scored four goals en route to the Monsters’ Calder Cup championship, none prettier than this spinning backhand shot that found a way to sneak past Grand Rapids goaltender Tom McCollum. Milano is one of the most elusive forwards in the AHL, and if he has a quality training camp, could find himself in Columbus next season.
Sonny Milano pops the water bottle with a disgusting spin-o-rama backhander in the AHL playoffs pic.twitter.com/Ol0Flh9Zsu
— Gino Hard (@Ginohard_) May 11, 2016
And Lake Erie goes back on top. Sonny Milano uses a spin move on the right side to snipe McCollum. Monsters lead 2-1. 5 mins left in 1st.
— Max Bultman (@m_bultman) May 10, 2016
Calder cup champions!!! What a feeling. Thanks to the best fans and teammates for this unbelievable ride!! #champs
— Sonny Milano (@27SMiLano) June 12, 2016
2. John Quenneville
Forever etched in Brandon Wheat Kings lore is “The Goal,” an unbelievable between-the-legs effort scored by John Quenneville. The fact that this one was scored on a breakaway, in the middle of the Memorial Cup, against one of the best teams in the junior hockey world is just astonishing. He scored 112 goals combined between the regular season and playoffs, and this goal clearly takes top billing in his career.
Joining fellow New Jersey Devils prospect Joseph Blandisi on Prospect Impressions top plays this year, Quenneville was a four-year veteran with Brandon. He will graduate from the Wheat Kings and will join the Devils organization next season.
— Kathryn Jean (@msconduct) May 22, 2016
If you’ve been watching the Memorial Cup, you just saw John Quenneville of Brandon score one of the best goals you’ll ever see….
— Scott Moore (@MooreScottmoore) May 22, 2016
John Quenneville of the Brandon Wheat Kings scored a highlight real goal in the Memorial Cup yesterday. Unreal! I loved it!!
— Mike (@Sask_Leafer) May 22, 2016
1. Connor McDavid
It shouldn’t be a surprise by this point, but is there anything Connor McDavid can’t do? Shortly after returning from a freak injury, McDavid lined up against the Columbus Blue Jackets and took on almost everyone on the ice to score this stunning goal.
The fact that a goal of this caliber was scored against grown men who play professional hockey is just amazing. McDavid is a mesmerizing talent that brings fans out of their seats wherever he goes. The Edmonton Oilers are truly blessed, and we’re proud to feature this goal as our number one play of 2015-16!
— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) February 3, 2016
Columbus has been delayed in leaving Edmonton as they are still searching for pieces of their equipment in the rafters from McDavid’s goal.
— NHL Outsider (@OutsiderNHL) February 3, 2016
— Kjell Iverson (@KjellIverson) May 31, 2016
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