Prospect Impressions: Panarin strikes again, Kuhnhackl’s first NHL goal, more from AHL, KHL, NCAA

By David Hahn
Tom Kuhnhackl - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward Tom Kuhnhackl celebrates his first NHL goal in a game against the Tampa Bay Lightning this past weekend (courtesy of Jeanine Leech/Icon Sportswire)



The Calder Trophy is still up for grabs, and Artemi Panarin won’t let it get out of his grasp thanks to a little help from the NHL’s leading scorer. He had to wait 18 games to do it, but Tom Kuhnhackl made his first NHL goal look easy. In the AHL, Troy Grosenick added another entry into the Save of the Year category, only to be outdone by one of the AHL’s leading scorers. Plenty more action is available in this week’s Prospect Impressions!

At this point in the season, it is hard to believe that Artemi Panarin’s hat trick this week was the first of his NHL career. Playing on a line with Artem Anisimov and Patrick Kane, Panarin has developed unreal chemistry with Kane in particular. Kane has assisted on over 80% of Panarin’s goals this season, a staggering number for Chicago’s dynamic duo. As an example of their chemistry, take a look at this goal, where Kane seemingly finds Panarin in the slot without even looking at him.

Over the last two years, Tom Kuhnhackl has been a reliable presence on the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. Serving as quality bottom-six depth, Kuhnhackl is a big-bodied power forward who prides himself on his two-way game. His offensive game is a work in progress, but his first NHL goal was an absolute thing of beauty, reminiscient of his days as a top scorer in Germany.

Transitioning to the AHL, Troy Grosenick makes his second appearance in Prospect Impressions, making yet another ridiculous save in a crucial situation. The two-time ECAC champion goaltender is making Union College proud with each game he plays for the San Jose Barracuda. The team has been flirting with the .500 mark all season long, and with Aaron Dell playing as well as he has, Grosenick has to keep pace in order to secure more time in the crease. With saves like this, he will have no problem holding down the job.

Is it possible that the Save of the Year isn’t even going to be made by a goaltender? St. John’s IceCaps forward Bud Holloway is in the top-10 in AHL scoring with 15 goals and 29 assists, but it is his effort with their goaltender pulled that has everyone talking.

Drawing parallels between the “Little Engine That Could” and Miami University’s Anthony Louis would be too easy. Louis, a dimunitive forward who constantly works harder than most, finds a way to score from interesting locations. Despite his lack of size, the Chicago Blackhawks prospect leaned in on Western Michigan’s Sheldon Dries, drove the net, and put a difficult shot top shelf to secure the win for Miami.

After being passed over in the 2015 NHL Draft, Dylan Gambrell is gaining momentum in his freshman season at Denver University. Gambrell’s 35 points are good for a share of fourth-place on the NCAA freshman scoring charts, and first in overall scoring for the Pioneers. Gambrell has shown some chemistry with Danton Heinen, who helped orchestrate a very nice passing play for Gambrell’s 11th goal of the year against Colorado College.

Linus Omark finished the KHL’s regular season fifth in scoring with 18 goals and 39 assists, proving once again that Omark is an elite playmaker. One of the most gifted players with his hands, Omark has come up with creative dangles and shifty plays throughout his career. This time, in the middle of a playoff round, Omark skated behind the net and pulled off something most players can only dream of, a blind, behind-the-back pass that has to be seen to be believed.


Last week’s Prospect Impressions feature

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