NHL Prospects Roundup: Leivo, Aberg, Ferland among top weekend performers

By Ken McKenna
Seth Griffith - Boston Bruins

Photo: Boston Bruins forward prospect Seth Griffith is heading back to the AHL’s Providence Bruins to start the 2014-15 season (courtesy of Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire)


As NHL clubs continue the pruning of their rosters in preparation for the 2014-15 season, the inevitable result is more ice time for veterans tuning up for the coming campaign which leads to fewer opportunities to shine for the younger NHL prospects. So, while there was still a busy slate of 2014 NHL preseason games played between Friday and Sunday, there were not as many notable prospect performances to choose from as there had been in the earliest days of the preseason.

But a few prospects did indeed manage to shine over the past three days, so here is a rundown of those keynote weekend performances.

Leivo earning a long look with the Maple Leafs

The Toronto Maple Leafs swept a weekend home-and-home against the Buffalo Sabres. One of the players leading the way for the Leafs in Friday’s 6-4 win in Buffalo was forward Josh Leivo, who registered a goal and two assists in 20:29 of ice time. Leivo, the Leafs’ second-ranked prospect according to Hockey’s Future, did not receive a mention among the game’s three stars but was certainly a noticeable presence throughout much of the game. Leivo’s goal came on the power play, as he tipped in a shot while parked just outside the goal crease.

Griffith’s two-goal performance not enough to land roster spot

In the Boston Bruins‘ Friday night contest against the Washington Capitals, forward Seth Griffith turned in a two-goal performance in the Bruins’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Capitals in Washington. Griffith was named the game’s third star, scoring on both of his shots in slightly over 16 minutes of ice time. Both of Griffith’s goals game off of nice setups, the first from Jordan Caron, and the second finishing off a nice, three-way play from Carl Soderberg and Caron.

Griffith was among Monday’s cuts from the Bruins camp roster, with the second-year right wing headed to the AHL to compete for the Providence Bruins.

Duclair delaying return to Quebec after impressive Friday performance

New York Rangers forward prospect Anthony Duclair made the most of his nearly 14 minutes of action in Friday’s 4-1 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. The Montreal native and Quebec Remparts’ star scored a goal and an assist, put five shots on goal, and was named the game’s first star on the night. Duclair’s goal, the eventual game-winner, came on a tip-in off of a nice feed from Rick Nash.

Aberg heads to Milwaukee despite two-goal showing

The Nashville Predators got a look at their future in a 4-1 win over the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. A trio of prospects provided the offense in the win, with forwards Pontus Aberg (2), Kevin Fiala, and Austin Watson netting the goals for the Predators. Aberg was named the first star of the game, while Fiala, the team’s top pick at the 2014 NHL Draft, was named the second star. Despite that showing, Aberg and Watson were sent down to the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals for the start of the 2014-15 season.

Goodrow, Goldobin impress in Sharks victory

The San Jose Sharks may have made an astute free agent signing from the junior ranks if forward Barclay Goodrow‘s performance on Saturday is any indication. The Sharks defeated the Anaheim Ducks, 3-1, with Goodrow netting two of the three goals on the evening and earning first star honors for his efforts. 2014 top pick Nikolay Goldobin assisted on both of Goodrow’s goals, including this nice feed to the Ducks’ doorstep.

Goodrow, Chris Tierney, and Goldobin were named the game’s three stars, at the least making the coaching staff’s roster decisions a bit more difficult.

Flames’ Ferland showing no rust from long layoff

Calgary Flames prospect Michael Ferland provided all the offense his team would need in their 2-1 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Sunday night. Ferland’s two goals included the game-winner late in the second, with the second-year player also registering two shots and four hits on the night to earn first star honors. Ferland appeared in just 25 AHL games last season before having his campaign ended by a knee injury. He seems to have recuperated well from that injury, however, and would seem to have some aspects in his game that the Flames need in their lineup.


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