Soshnikov scores his first, Gaunce gets caught up in travel delays, Jokipakka gets his first point with the Flames, a recap of mid-week CHL and AHL action and a few prospect signings and extensions…
Nikita Soshnikov (TOR) recorded his first NHL goal in his second game played with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Soshnikov is playing on a line with Nazem Kadri and Leo Komarov. The line already looks like it has chemistry. If Soshnikov sticks on this line for the remainder of the season he could potentially put up some decent numbers. He was a half point per game player with the Marlies (50GP-18G-10A-28PTS). He probably won’t be able to produce at quite that high of a clip, but he could keep a 0.3 to 0.4 pace, which would give him seven to nine points to finish the year. He definitely should be put on your list of guys to watch for the remainder of the year, he has shown he can make some pretty slick moves out on the ice, we will have to wait and see if his AHL game translates to the NHL. Find more information on Soshnikov in his prospect profile found here.
As for the other young prospects called up to the Maple Leafs, William Nylander, Zach Hyman and Kasperi Kapanen. They have all been given a lot of responsibility early on and have shown they are capable of NHL minutes. Mike Babcock has been giving these young guys a lot of ice time and important ice time late in one goal games. The Maple Leafs have had two of the toughest Eastern Conference opponents, Tampa Bay (8-2-0 in the last 10) and Washington (7-3-0 in the last 10) and have kept the games close and have battled hard. The Maple Leafs are building excellent prospect depth and it is beginning to show at the NHL level.
Brendan Gaunce is getting another chance with the Vancouver Canucks, Gaunce played two games at the end of October and recorded a goal in the second game. Gaunce returned to the Utica Comets and resurrected his production, only two points in five games to start the season. Since returning to the AHL he now has 15 goals and 18 assists in 43 games played. Gaunce was recalled on March 1, but was unable to practice with the team on Wednesday due to flight delays, he has finally made it to Vancouver, but without his equipment or luggage. Read Gaunce’s interesting travel delays here, by Ben Kuzma of The Province. Gaunce will hopefully be dressed for tonight’s game against the San Jose Sharks.