Prospect Impressions: Bennett, Fabbri making mark in NHL, a trio of goals from the NCAA ranks, and more prospect highlights

By David Hahn
Jimmy Vesey - Harvard University

Photo: Harvard University forward and Nashville Predators prospect Jimmy Vesey was a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award in 2015, and is likely to be in the mix when the 2016 nominees are announced (courtesy of Richard T. Gagnon/Getty Images)



In this week’s Prospect Impressions, a trio of NCAA hockey’s brightest young stars create highlight-reel goals. Robby Fabbri and Sam Bennett prove the OHL is in their past, and plenty more highlights await.

Throughout the course of this season, there has been a lot of conjecture about whether or not Harvard University forward Jimmy Vesey will sign with the Nashville Predators. As a third round pick of the team in 2012, Vesey is quickly approaching potential free-agency if the Predators are unable to agree to terms on an entry-level deal. That’s just fine for 29 other franchises, as the 2014-15 ECAC Player of the Year is again contending for that title and a shot at winning the Hobey Baker Award. He was a finalist last year, and with 27 points in just 16 games, he is well on his way towards another nomination. If Vesey continues to score goals like this, the next team he plays for may very well be in the NHL.

Affectionately referred to as “JFK,” Jakob Forsbacka-Karlsson (BOS) is a smooth-skating, two-way center plying his trade at Boston University. His freshman season has gone quite well, rewarding his team with solid play in transition and a capable defensive presence. Where Forsbacka-Karlsson really excels, however, is in the offensive zone where he maintains possession better than most and is able to create offense on the fly. With three multi-point games in his last four, the talented Swede is one-to-watch for the Terriers.

With the duo of Brock Boeser and Nick Schmaltz away at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, Drake Caggiula proved that he is more than just the product of his linemates by continuing to score in their absence. With the trio reunited at the University of North Dakota, the most dangerous line in college hockey is creating highlight-reel goals on a nighty basis. Take a look as Caggiula makes an unbelievable move right in front of the net to draw the team even against the University of Nebraska-Omaha.

The Kitchener Rangers made some noise at the OHL’s trading deadline when they acquired the rights to Robby Fabbri from the Guelph Storm. Less than a week later, Fabbri is still suiting up for the St. Louis Blues on a regular basis, and it is looking very unlikely that he is going to be returned to the OHL. You can’t blame Kitchener for trying, but Fabbri isn’t coming back, especially when he is creating goals like this in the NHL.

The 2014 draft class is looking better and better as the year rolls on, and Sam Bennett is making sure he isn’t just another name at the top of the draft board. Taken fourth overall by the Calgary Flames, Bennett was snake-bitten at the beginning of the season but is heating up recently. This week alone, Bennett scored six goals in three games and was named as the NHL’s Second Star of the Week. He recorded four goals against the Florida Panthers, becoming the third-youngest player in NHL history to record a four-goal game. During that game, Bennett saved the best for last, scoring a fantastic goal after beating two defenders by himself.

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for New York Islanders defenseman Adam Pelech. Joining the team for a critical rivalry game against their crosstown rivals, the New York Rangers, Pelech took Derek Stepan’s skate blade in a freak accident in front of the net. Just a few minutes later, Pelech returned to notch his first and second assists in the NHL.

There have been a number of older goaltenders that have come over to North America after a few successful seasons overseas. The next potential transfer, Lars Johansson, is a 28-year-old goaltender having a career-year with Frolunda. Johansson started seven times for Frolunda in Champions Hockey League competition, winning all of them while posting a .917 save percentage. He shutout HC Davos in the first leg of their CHL semi-final matchup, making one incredible glove save in the process.

Giving a new take on the term “benched,” Linkoping defenseman Daniel Rahimi decided it was time for Farjestad forward Joakim Nygards to take a seat. It is the worst case scenario for Nygards, who returned to the game unscathed, except for a slight hit to his pride.


Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature

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