October is an interesting month in regard to following NHL prospects – a hot start to the season can sometimes mean prolonged success, but it can also just simply be a hot start. The prospects mentioned below are hoping it’s the former and not the latter.
Hockey’s Future Prospect of the Month – October, 2014
Recently-drafted Czech forward David Pastrnak was named the AHL Rookie of the Month and with good reason; in seven games with Providence, the 18-year-old scored twice and added seven assists, pacing the team to a 6-2-1 record in the month. He also recorded a plus/minus of +8 and had 21 shots on net.
As of Nov. 2nd, Pastrnak was tied for seventh in league scoring, impressive for a kid who was a late first round pick in the 2014 NHL Draft. Pastrnak wasn’t even slated to begin the season with Providence; rather, he could have returned to Sweden to play for Sodertalje or played junior. After his NHL training camp was cut short due to injury, however, he accepted a role with Providence – and what’s best is the Bruins are not burning a year off of his ELC.
A flashy forward with good speed, Pastrnak makes up for his lack of size – 5’11″ and 168 pounds – with quick feet and elusiveness. He already has an NHL-calibre shot and can get it off in a hurry. He had three points in five games with the Czech Republic‘s U20 World Junior team last year and, unless he plays his way into a prominent role on the Bruins, should star with the Czechs this year.
So far this season Notre Dame has scored 23 goals – Mario Lucia has scored eight of those. The 21-year-old junior has been an offensive force so far this season, and was recently named Hockey East Player of the Month. Most impressive, his seven goals came on just 19 shots, as the big-bodied winger clearly made the most of his opportunities. Lucia’s most productive weekend came on Oct. 17-18, in which he scored four goals in two games against Lake Superior State, including a hat-trick.
Andreas Johnson (TOR)
Currently playing with the Frolunda Indians (SHL)
The 2013-14 Swedish Hockey League Rookie of the Year, Andreas Johnson, is picking up right where he left off last season. In 11 games in October, the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ 2013 seventh round selection scored seven goals and added two assists for nine points. Johnson’s offensive game picked up after a cold September in which he scored just once, and it appears he is continuing his upward trend – on Nov. 1st he scored two goals, including the game-winner and a power-play goal.
Rourke Chartier is a relatively unheralded winger whom the San Jose Sharks took in the fifth round of last year’s NHL Draft. Last year, the 5’11″, 180-pound pivot scored 58 points in 72 games to finish sixth in scoring for the Kelowna Rockets. He had 24 goals in those 72 games, and already this season, Chartier has 14 goals in just 15 games, with nine of those coming in October. Considered by the team’s general manager, Bruce Hamilton, to be one of the most intelligent players ever to wear a Rockets’ jersey, Chartier recorded 17 points in 11 October games; of his nine goals in the month, four were game-winners, while all but one were at even strength. Chartier and Nick Merkley (2015) have been an outstanding 1-2 punch down the middle for the Rockets this season.
An explosive final two games in October put Domi into Prospect of the Month consideration at Hockey’s Future. Known for his playmaking skills and high-powered offensive game, the son of Tie had just two multi-point games in his first eight games with London of the OHL. He was also held pointless in one game. Yet, his final four games of the month were multi-point efforts, including his final two games in which he combined for nine points. Domi scored a goal and added three assists on Oct. 26 against Guelph, and, in an 8-5 win over Sault Ste. Marie on Halloween, scored twice and again picked up three assists. He recorded 23 points in 12 games over the course of the month.
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