Virtanen gained valuable experience with Vancouver’s AHL affiliate in Utica

by Tony Androckitis
Jake Virtanen - Utica Comets

Photo: Utica Comets forward and Vancouver Canucks prospect Jake Virtanen had a busy 2014-15 season with a stop in the WHL, a gold medal win at the 2015 World Juniors, and his first pro action in the AHL (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

When Jake Virtanen arrived in Utica after his WHL playoff run with the Calgary Hitmen came to an end, he was expecting to come in and practice with the Vancouver Canucks‘ top minor league affiliate, the Utica Comets, to learn about the game at the professional level. Read more»

SHL Prospects Notebook, June, 2015: A new champion, NHL Draft prospects, and more in this 2014-15 wrap-up

by Chapin Landvogt
Axel Holmstrom - Skelleftea AIK

Photo: Skelleftea AIK forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect Axel Holmstrom had a breakout season in the SHL in 2014-15 and was a driving force in Skelleftea’s run to the SHL finals (courtesy of Skelleftea AIK/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

The 2014-15 season in Sweden wrapped up a good month ago and was quickly followed by an exciting World Championship tournament that featured a Swedish team with a number of SHL, NLA, and KHL-based players – one that couldn’t get further than the quarterfinals, however. Read more»

Mersch making most of rookie season, aiding Monarchs’ run through AHL playoffs

by Tony Androckitis
Michael Mersch - Manchester Monarchs

Photo: Manchester Monarchs forward and Los Angeles Kings prospect Michael Mersch is currently third overall in AHL playoff scoring with 11 goals and 18 points in 13 games for the Calder Cup Finals-bound Monarchs (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)

The Manchester Monarchs completed the four-game sweep of the Hartford Wolf Pack to advance to their first-ever Calder Cup Finals appearance. Several Los Angeles Kings prospects are getting experience as well as exposure, but none more than rookie forward Michael Mersch, a former University of Wisconsin standout who has burst onto the scene down the stretch and in the postseason for the Kings’ AHL affiliate. Read more»

Prospect Impressions: The 16-20 group in the countdown of the top 20 NHL prospect highlights of 2014-15

by David Hahn
Radel Fazleev - Calgary Hitmen

Photo: Calgary Hitmen forward and Philadelphia Flyers prospect Radel Fazleev posted 18 goals and 51 points along with a +23 rating in 71 WHL games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)

For the past few months, Prospect Impressions has taken a look at the top plays of the week, with numerous players contributing to the series. Now that most teams have completed their seasons, over the next four weeks I’ll count down the top 20 plays of the year from NHL prospects. From big hits to timely saves and the best goals, Prospect Impressions will come to a conclusion with a fine list of tremendous talent. Read more»

Prospect Impressions: Trio of forwards win championships, “Big Rig” goes down, Hartford’s surprising assist leader

by David Hahn
Hunter Smith - Oshawa Generals

Photo: Oshawa Generals forward and Calgary Flames prospect Hunter Smith turned in his best offensive season of his OHL career, posting 23 goals and 49 points in 57 games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)

The month of May is reserved for hockey championships, and this week’s Prospect Impressions takes a look at a trio of players who helped seal their team’s success. The NAHL, OHL, and USHL all concluded play, with a nice mix of top prospects and role players being the catalyst for those championships. In the AHL, one player potentially ready to make the jump to the NHL has been an unexpected beacon of hope for Hartford. Finally, what happens when nearly 500 pounds of mass collide in a hockey game? Prospects from the Los Angeles Kings and Calgary Flames answer that question for you in a collision that has to be seen to be believed. Read more»

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