Prospect Impressions: Windsor’s McCool plays on-ice soccer with DiGiacinto, Lundqvist is still the King, more highlights from around the globe

By David Hahn
Hayden McCool - Windsor Spitfires

Photo: Windsor Spitfires forward and 2016 prospect Hayden McCool was eligible for the 2015 NHL Draft but was passed over by the 30 NHL clubs (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)



Ever wonder what would happen if soccer and hockey had a mash-up? Well, Windsor Spitfires forwards Hayden McCool and Cristiano DiGiacinto came up with an interesting rendition. In a bit of backwards poetry in motion, Tyler Parsons, a goaltender, scores a goal and Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner moonlights as a goaltender. That plus plenty of individual goal-scoring highlights in this week’s Prospect Impressions!

Most times when a two-on-one develops, it is a clear scoring opportunity because both players have their full complement of equipment. That didn’t matter much to Windsor’s Hayden McCool, who lost his stick in transition, but put together a solid effort to setup Cristiano DiGiacinto’s top-shelf snipe. Take a look as McCool imitates Lionel Messi to setup the goal.

He has been doing it for a long time, but there is just something special about Henrik Lundqvist. Time after time, Lundqvist has come up with improbable saves to keep the New York Rangers in games. This effort is just another in a long line of career highlights, but what an effort this was after getting trapped behind the net.

Transitioning to Toronto, every goalie needs a little help now and then. Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Jake Gardiner has been having a solid year so far, and is developing into a top-pairing option for new head coach Mike Babcock. Endearing himself to the new bench boss, Gardiner was in the right place at the right time to stick out a leg to prevent a goal.

It is a club that only houses a few entrants, but when Tyler Parsons watched the puck fly down the center of the ice towards the gaping net at the other end, he realized he was about to join a select group of goaltenders. Parsons was the last player from the London Knights to touch the puck, when suddenly an errant pass made its way into an empty net. Parsons became the eighth goalie in OHL history to score a goal, and while he didn’t shoot it down there himself, it is still spectacular!

Somewhere in Los Angeles, Kings assistant coach John Stevens must have been smiling proudly after seeing what his son pulled off this week. Nolan Stevens scored the first goal of his 2015-16 season with Northeastern University, and judging by what he pulled off, you wouldn’t know that goal scoring isn’t his calling card. With just four goals playing for the United States National U18 Team, and three goals in his freshman year, if he can consistently produce efforts like this, he will surely surpass those totals this season.

The Detroit Red Wings simply don’t rush younger players to the NHL, but Dylan Larkin simply made it impossible for the team to send him down to the AHL with his play in the preseason. Now that the score is being kept in earnest, Larkin is proving that decision to be perfect one game at a time. After earning the first assist of his career, Larkin streaked in on net and took the perfect shot for his first NHL goal.

Some players struggle initially to find out where they belong, but Ryan Lasch sure has become comfortable with his surroundings in the SHL. It’s been a quality week of SHL action for Lasch, who is enjoying the extra time and space that playing on the big ice provides. For example, watch these two highlight-reel goals where Lasch didn’t need any help in creating two of the prettiest goals you will see this year.


Last week’s Prospect Impressions highlights

Follow Dave Hahn on Twitter via @DHahnHockey