The 2014 NHL preseason is now in the books with the 30 NHL clubs now focusing on the start of the 2014-15 regular season that begins on Wednesday night. The final weekend of preseason action provided a few notable NHL prospect performances, but the real test for these young players begins in two days.
Lindholm hat trick highlights Hurricanes’ big win
Carolina Hurricanes‘ 2013 first round pick Elias Lindholm displayed some offensive chops in his team’s 5-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday night. The Hurricanes’ top prospect netted a hat trick and was named the game’s first star for his efforts. His first goal of the game early in the second period ended up being the game-winner as he beat Sabres’ goaltender Michal Neuvirth with a wrist shot from the slot.
Lindholm snapped home his second of the game, beating Neuvirth with a shot from the right dot to make the score 4-0 for the Hurricanes.
EStaal with Tlusty, Semin; Nash with Skinner, Lindholm. Have to think that’s top six for opening night. Barring another injury.
— Chip Alexander (@ice_chip) September 30, 2014
Kozun has strong finish, makes Maple Leafs’ roster
While Los Angeles, CA native Brandon Kozun did not get the opportunity to play for his hometown NHL club, the team that acquired him back in January, the Toronto Maple Leafs, has provided a new home for the 24-year-old’s talents. Kozun has made the Leafs’ opening roster after turning in a solid preseason showing in which he scored two goals and three assists in 6 games.
Kozun finished the preseason with a flourish on Friday, scoring a goal and picking up two assists in the Leafs’ final preseason game, a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. His goal was a highlight reel effort off a rush into the Red Wings’ zone, with Kozun driving to the net to beat Wings’ goaltender Jonas Gustavsson to make the score 2-1.
— Mike Zeisberger (@Zeisberger) October 5, 2014
Brandon Kozun, traded from the LA organization last January, has made the Maple Leafs out of training camp. Fascinated to see how he does.
— Jewels frm the Crown (@JFTC_Kings) October 6, 2014
Nestrasil, Sheahan star in Red Wings preseason finale
Forward Andrej Nestrasil scored a goal in regulation and another in the shootout in helping the Detroit Red Wings finish off their preseason with a 4-3 win over the Boston Bruins. Nestrasil’s goal in the second period came on the power play as he redirected a pass from Danny DeKeyser past Bruins’ goaltender, Tuukka Rask.
Nestrasil was named the game’s second star, and likely made a place for himself on the Wing’s roster to begin the 2014-15 season. The game’s third star, Riley Sheahan, opened the scoring in this game, beating Rask with a wrist shot off the rush.
Wings’ goaltending prospect Petr Mrazek stopped 20 of 23 shots in the win.
Nestrasil’s won a job for now, but I would be stunned if Jurco was sent to Grand Rapids to keep Nestrasil at the NHL level.
— George Malik (@georgemalik) October 6, 2014
— The Wheel Deal (@Bill_Roose) October 6, 2014
Devils’ defensive duo stars in win over Rangers
New Jersey Devils‘ defenseman Adam Larsson has struggled to live up to the expectations placed on him after being chosen fourth overall at the 2011 NHL Draft. But Larsson turned in a generally good showing in preseason action, finishing the exhibition slate with a two-assist performance in nearly 20 minutes of play in the Devils’ 3-0 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday night. Larsson’s first assist came off of his shot from the point, which was tipped by Tuomo Ruutu past Rangers’ goaltender, Cam Talbot.
Larsson also assisted on a goal by Jaromir Jagr which made the score 2-0. Another young Devils’ defender, Damon Severson, earned an assist and the game’s third star, with Dainius Zubrus tipping in a Severson shot on the power play to make the score 3-0.
Damon Severson makes the Devils out of camp. Really young on defense with Severson, Larsson, Gelinas and Merrill. I like it.
— Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell) October 6, 2014
Finnish duo contributes in Blues’ loss to Wild
Forward Jori Lehtera, a 2008 third round selection of the St. Louis Blues, will be making his NHL debut after a strong preseason showing in which he posted six points in five preseason games. Three of his points came in the Blues’ 5-4 overtime loss to the Minnesota Wild in the final preseason tuneup for both clubs. Lehtera scored two goals and assisted on another to go along with three shots and two hits in 18:41 of ice time. He was named the game’s third star for his performance.
Another Finnish Blues’ prospect who showed well in the preseason was defenseman Petteri Lindbohm. The 2012 sixth round pick picked up two assists and was a +4 in six preseason games, with his two assists coming in the loss to the Wild.
It’s just the preseason, but the addition of Jori Lehtera could end up being just as big, or bigger than adding Paul Stastny. #StlBlues
— Andrew Allsman (@allsmandrew) October 5, 2014
Interesting phrasing by Hitch on Lindbohm: Does a lot of things are going to be an impact in a positive way WHEN he plays in the league.
— Tom Timmermann (@tomtimm) October 5, 2014
Wild defenseman Matt Dumba finished a good preseason with a strong performance, picking up a goal and an assist in the win over the Blues. Dumba finished the preseason slate with one goal and four assists in five games, and appears to have earned a spot on the Wild’s opening game roster.
Young defensemen Matt Dumba and Christian Folin made final cuts as did young F Jason Zucker. #mnwild
— Chad Graff (@ChadGraff) October 6, 2014
Kuznetsov scores in Capitals’ 5-2 win
The Washington Capitals and Carolina Hurricanes Sunday night played the final game of the 2014 NHL preseason, with the Capitals claiming a 5-2 decision. Capitals’ top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov opened the scoring on the night, taking a pass from surprising free agent Liam O’Brien and banking in a shot past Hurricanes’ goaltender Anton Khudobin for the 1-0 lead.
Another top Capitals’ prospect, Andre Burakovsky, picked up an assist in the win, giving him two goals and two assists in six preseason games and, more importantly, a likely berth on the Capitals roster heading into the 2014-15 season.
Kuznetsov & Burakovksky clearly have top 6 F skill set. There’ll likely be growing pains for each, their young. Patience w/them is key.
— Ed Frankovic (@EdFrankovic) October 3, 2014
Best story of NHL training camps: Washington invite Liam O’Brien has signed a 3 year Entry Level Contract with the Capitals. #NeverGiveUp
— Allan Walsh (@walsha) October 6, 2014
This wraps up the NHL preseason version of HF’s NHL Prospects Roundup. With the NHL and AHL seasons beginning this week, and with the college, junior, and European leagues either soon to begin or already started, the focus of this feature will widen to include notable performances from the the various leagues. Given the scope of that coverage, however, the feature will go from the Monday-thru-Friday posting schedule to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday slate.
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