Prospect Impressions: P.K. Subban as Don Cherry, and Gettinger, Lammikko and others shine early

By David Hahn
Connor Hellebuyck - Team USA - IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship

Photo: Winnipeg Jets goaltending prospect Connor Hellebuyck starred for Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Championship, helping his country earn a bronze medal at that tournament (courtesy of Robert Hradil/EQ Images/Icon Sportswire)



The 2015-16 season is in full swing in the junior ranks, and there are a number of prospects already off to great starts. In Sault Ste. Marie, Tim Gettinger graduated from fourth-line duty and showed why he is worthy of the additional responsibility. Across the other end of Ontario, the Kingston Frontenacs received a boost when Juho Lammikko returned to the lineup and immediately made an impression of his own.

The Winnipeg Jets face a tough decision in a crowded crease, and Connor Hellebuyck is making it hard for the team to keep him in the AHL this season. Likewise, Philadelphia Flyers “rookie,” 33 year-old Evgeny Medvedev is a gamble that appears to be paying off.

There’s more to see, as Pierre-Luc Dubois is climbing up the QMJHL rankings for draft-eligible prospects and ever-talented P.K. Subban shows some charisma off-ice.

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are going to look awfully different without Justin Bailey, Nick Ritchie, and many other talented forwards who are off to the professional ranks. Thankfully for them, Boston Bruins first round pick Zach Senyshyn is back, and so too is 6’6″, 200-pound power forward Tim Gettinger. The Cleveland, Ohio native is one name to keep an eye on this season, especially considering he is no longer buried on the depth chart. He is off to a hot start this season – take a look at his first two goals of 2015-16.

Juho Lammikko sure has racked up the frequent flyer miles lately. One year removed from making his OHL debut after a stint with Finland’s top-tier club Assat, Lammikko was recently loaned back to the Kingston Frontenacs, who are quite pleased to add the playmaker to the team. Lammikko brought some flash to the Fronts lineup last year, and will look to improve on an 18-goal, 26-assist season.

He is off to a nice start himself, including this game-clinching shootout winner in one of the most bizarre finishes to a game in recent memory. This shootout goal ended what was a surprising overtime period after two goals were waved off during one stoppage.

It’s not very often that you can consider a 33-year-old a prospect, but an interesting story out of Philadelphia is starting to develop. Evgeny Medvedev is earning high-praise from the organization, who recently brought the polished 6’3″, 200-pound two-way defenseman over from Russia for his first experience in the NHL. He was a stalwart in the KHL over the last seven seasons, and his transition to the NHL appears to be going well. Take a look at a few of his defensive gems from a recent preseason game.

Winnipeg Jets fans are clamoring for a change in net, and with Eric Comrie and Connor Hellebuyck in contention for a job at the NHL level, the future certainly looks bright. Hellebuyck, in particular, was one of the top goaltenders in the AHL last season, going 28-22-5 with a 2.58 goals-against average and .921 save percentage, numbers that helped land him a spot in the AHL All-Star Game. Moreover, Hellebuyck posted the best numbers of any goalie while playing for bronze-medalist Team USA at the 2015 IIHF World Championship. He has the ability to steal a game, just like he stole this goal to secure victory in a recent preseason game.

One player gaining momentum heading into his draft year is Pierre-Luc Dubois, who has been highly ranked by a number of scouting outlets. Dubois, who enjoyed a quality QMJHL rookie season with 45 points in 54 games, recently embarked on a quest to improve those totals. Through six games this season, Dubois already has four goals and four assists, including this tremendous diving effort.

In the news lately for all the right reasons, P.K. Subban was filming a commercial spot for TSN when he unexpectedly turned on his Don Cherry impersonation in an impromptu moment too funny to miss.


Last week’s Prospect Impressions highlights

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey