NHL Prospects Roundup: Kucherov nets two in Lightning shutout win

By Ken McKenna
Nikita Kucherov - Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo: Tampa Bay Lightning forward prospect Nikita Kucherov (86) has celebrated a few goals with his teammates in 2014 NHL preseason action (courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)


As the 2014 NHL preseason winds down, the number of prospects remaining with the big club has dwindled, as well. So, despite a night in which there were seven NHL games to choose from, only a handful of NHL prospects in those games stood out. And, as has been the case more than once in this preseason, the Tampa Bay Lightning provided those top prospect performances.

Kucherov, Namestnikov lead Lightning win

If Nikita Kucherov wasn’t in the Tampa Bay Lightning’s plans for the start of the 2014-15 regular season, he should be now. The Russian scorer netted two more goals in the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the intrastate rival Florida Panthers. Kucherov now has five goals in preseason action, which is tops the league in that category. Kucherov’s linemate, Vladislav Namestnikov, picked up two assists, both coming on Kucherov’s goals. Namestnikov is the NHL preseason assist leader with seven, and is tied for second overall in points with seven.

Burakovsky displays deadly shot in Capitals win

Washington Capitals‘ 2013 first round selection Andre Burakovsky continued to impress in preseason play, scoring the first goal for the Capitals’ in their 3-2 shootout win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Burakovsky snapped a wrist shot past Flyers’ goaltender Steve Mason to tie the game at one.

Burakovsky was named the third star of the game for his efforts, and now has three points in preseason action. The Capitals’ top prospect according to Hockey’s Future, Evgeny Kuznetsov, scored the clinching goal in the shootout.

Tarasenko stars in Blues victory

In the coming season, HF will be expanding our focus to include more players under 25 that are no longer considered prospects. A prime example of this type of player is St. Louis Blues forward, Vladimir Tarasenko, who was ranked among the the top 50 NHL prospects by Hockey’s Future when he was still considered an NHL prospect.  Tarasenko turned in a strong performance for the Blues on Thursday night in their 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild. The young Russian picked up an assist, three shots and two hits in 20:44 of ice time and was named the game’s first star for his efforts.

Blues’ goaltending prospect Jake Allen stopped 14 shots in picking up the win.

Monahan, Jooris, Gaudreau star for Flames in win

Another example of a former prospect that HF will continue to follow is Calgary Flames‘ forward Sean Monahan. The Flames’ first round pick at the 2013 NHL Draft is just 19 years old but has already graduated from prospect status after turning in a strong NHL rookie season in 2013-14.

Monahan continued to show his skills in the Flames’ Thursday night contest against the Winnipeg Jets, scoring two goals in his team’s 4-2 triumph. Monahan scored the game’s first goal in the second period off of a pass from Jiri Hudler.

Monahan’s second goal, the game-winner, came off a three-on-two break with Monahan firing a shot over Jets’ goaltender Michael Hutchinson‘s left shoulder.

Not to be outdone on the score sheet was Flames’ forward prospect Josh Jooris, who scored the other two goals for his team in the win.  Jooris, a former Union College standout, netted the insurance goal in the third period off of a nice feed from Flames’ 2014 top pick, Sam Bennett.

And last but certainly not least, Flames’ top prospect Johnny Gaudreau picked up three assists in the win. Monahan, Gaudreau and Jooris were named the game’s three stars for their efforts.


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