Prospect Impressions: Top five NHL prospect highlights of the year for 2014-15

By David Hahn
Max Domi - London Knights

Photo: London Knights forward and Arizona Coyotes prospect Max Domi capped off a fine junior career by winning a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2015 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)



Through the second half of the 2014-15 season, Prospect Impressions has brought you the top NHL prospect game highlights of the week. Now that the season in winding down, so too is this series. We’ve been counting down the top plays of the year, which finally culminates with the top five incredible plays made by some top-flight NHL prospects.

5. Jesper Fast – New York Rangers (NHL)

The New York Rangers didn’t see enough out of Jesper Fast to give him a full time roster spot straight out of training camp. That lasted all of one month, as Fast was recalled and became an integral part of the Rangers attack. Known as a tenacious and gritty forechecker, Fast introduced himself to the Ranger faithful by becoming a trustworthy bottom-six option. He’s not devoid of offensive talent, however, as he produced this incredible individual effort during a regular season game in March.

4. Steve Racine – University of Michigan (Big Ten)

It’s okay if you don’t immediately recognize Steve Racine, who has been a pedestrian performer for the University of Michigan through his junior season. This year, he split duties alongside of Edmonton Oilers draft pick Zach Nagelvoort, but still put together a respectable season. Racine was chosen as Michigan’s starter through the Big Ten tournament, to which the team eventually fell short against Minnesota. In that game, however, Racine did everything he could to keep his team in it, including what many are calling the NCAA Save of the Year.

3. Jake Virtanen – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)

It’s hard to look at this upcoming highlight and figure that Jake Virtanen had a down year. As the first overall selection in the WHL Bantam Draft in 2011, Virtanen knows all about living up to expectations. Virtanen finished with 21 goals and 31 assists in 50 WHL games this season, and one of those 21 goals was an absolute gem to be remembered.

2. Connor McDavid – Erie Otters (OHL)

Certainly deserving of his own highlight reel, Connor McDavid has been an absolute treat to watch thoughout his young career. Despite losing a significant portion of their offensive attack last year, McDavid guided the Erie Otters to the OHL Championship series. The team fell short, but McDavid has a bright career ahead of him. Before he goes off to the NHL, take a look at one play that encompasses what the future superstar is all about.

1. Max Domi – London Knights (OHL)

No one can argue the fact that Max Domi is a special player, one who can impact the game in the blink of an eye all by himself. Those skills have gotten him in trouble at times, but its his individual ability that makes him a talent that the Arizona Coyotes are eager to tap into. Domi was the recipient of the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy, awarded to the player that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice. If leadership is taking the puck coast-to-coast, chipping it over the goalie, then guiding an airborne puck into the net, then Domi is also deserving of the Prospect Impressions’ NHL Prospect Play of the Year.

Thank you for following along with Prospect Impressions this season, see you in the fall!

20 – 16 | 15 – 11 | 10 – 6 | 5 – 1

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey