Photo: Karpat Oulu forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sebastian Aho (#16) turned in a strong 2015-16 season, winning gold at the U20 World Junior Championship and finishing among the top scorers in Liiga (courtesy of Karpat Oulu/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)
If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”
Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»
Photo: Niagara IceDogs goaltender and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Alex Nedeljkovic turned in a strong season in the OHL once he was moved from the troubled Flint Firebirds club to Niagara (courtesy of CHL Images)
In this special edition of Prospect Impressions, we kick off the first of our “Best of the Year” series with some of the best saves of the season. Goaltenders were featured heavily throughout the season, with a number of fine saves making their way into our highlight articles in 2015-16. There were a number of special efforts, including one goalie who made a save on his stomach, another who stymied a 2-on-0 breakaway, and a few glove saves that should be investigated for robbery. Read more»
Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Anthony Cirelli is like many in the system: a highly-skilled player who needs more physical maturity before he is ready for the NHL level (courtesy of Terry Wilson/OHL Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have had standout performances from a number of prospects this season both at the pro and junior levels. In the CHL, recent draftees Dennis Yan, Anthony Cirelli, Mathieu Joseph and Mitchell Stephens all had impressive campaigns. The organization also got contributions in Tampa Bay from players like Nikita Nesterov – who graduated from prospect status – as well as arriving talents Slater Koekkoek and Joel Vermin.
Photo: Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Shayne Gostisbehere had a strong NHL rookie campaign, scoring 17 goals and 46 points in 64 games in 2015-16 (courtesy of Gavin Baker/Icon Sportswire)
It seems like just yesterday that we were talking about October/November, and the first On the Rush of the 2015-16 campaign was being put together. Alas, here we are in April with many teams and players done for the season. It has been another phenomenal year across the hockey world, and every year we are left with no shortage of players who surpass expectations and those that fall short. Read more»
Photo: Junior Johnathan MacLeod had a minus-4 rating this season, but he remains a top defensive prospect for the Lightning. (Courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)
The Tampa Bay Lightning have primarily gone to the CHL in making draft selections over the past two drafts. 12 of the team’s 16 picks were taken from the top junior league in Canada, two were drafted out of Europe (though one is now playing in the CHL) and while the other two players, Kris Oldham and Ryan Zuhlsdorf, had commitments to NCAA schools, so they will not join the collegiate ranks until next season.