Readers from the last few years know that seeing NHL prospects score their first ever goal is one of my favorite things about covering the sport. These kids and their families worked insanely hard to get where they are, and its all worth it as soon as they get that puck in the net. Lucky for me, several players have given me this pleasure so far…in fact, probably more than expected. Which raises the question: which of these scoreres are primed to keep impressing, and which may have fantasy owners jumping the gun?
Jake DeBrusk (BOS)
DeBrusk scored this absolute goal-scorer's goal to put Boston ahead in the game:
The poise to get ahead of the first backchecker, then to fight off a second and roof it over a sprawling goalie, these are scoring instincts that got DeBrusk drafted. Seeing him this confident in his first season is excellent news. But beware of the tryout period – when Backes returns to the lineup there goes one spot, and Frank Vatrano deserves more than 4th-line duties, so unless he pulls this off for the next few games as well, it wouldn't be surprising to see DeBrusk owners wait one more year before he snags a full-time top-six position.
Charlie McAvoy (BOS)
A higher-profile Bruin also tallied his first – Charlie McAvoy scored not long after DeBrusk:
There are excellent signs on this play as well, as McAvoy identifies a good time to jump into the rush and positions himself well to receive a pass while in motion, and of course finish off the play with a nice shot. This kid has huge upside as we're already seeing a glimpse. Krug is still the team's go-to offensive d-man on the first powerplay unit, but McAvoy absolutely has an opportunity to steal that spot on the point out from under him with more play like this.
Sonny Milano (CLB)
First shift of the season, first NHL goal for Sonny Milano:
What I love about this goal is where he scores it from (the dirty area right in front of the net) and how he's able to get a shot off from a hard pass. Goal-scorers need to be able to shoot the puck at any time, so being able to get in between several defenders and then handle that pass for a one-timer is a great play. Milano has a top-six spot currently, and should be able to keep it as long as he outplays Dubois, the 3rd-line left winger. With goals like this, he'll be fine…right?
Pierre-Luc Dubois (CLB)
Turns out this could be a real battle for the top-six thanks to goals like this:
Dubois has more time to get his shot off than Milano did, but he makes no mistakes after a beneficial turnover and beats the goaltender from far out with a well-placed shot. I'm still giving the edge to Milano in this battle but the Jacket have to be excited about the scoring depth they may have between these two newcomers.
Martin Frk (DET)
A blast from the point on the powerplay gets Frk his frst:
I'd be more excited if this weren't a 5-on-3 powerplay, but even so if Frk can find a niche on the Red Wings its the best shot at a gig he's ever had. Don't go putting him in your fantasy lineup just yet but if he becomes a regular this year he has earne himself a spot on our radar.
Clayton Keller (ARI)
The future star wastes no time in Game 1 of 2017-18:
I think we all know that Keller is here to stay, so this goal is merely a reinforcement of that. But give him credit for getting in close to the net and finishing the play in close. We always worry about smller players being able to play in close but Keller had no problem here.
Jesper Bratt (NJD)
A surprise name on this list, Bratt cashed in on the PP yesterday:
Bratt filled in for Palmieri afte rhe left yesterday's game and was successful, but naturally this isn't a locked-down spot for the rookie. He should be able to hold onto his replacement spot given the lack of competition in New Jersey and his immediate cheistry with Taylor hall, but even once he returns to the third line, having Henrique as his centerman could make him a sneaky producer. DobberHockey Managing Editor Steve Laidlaw had this to say after the tally:
I don't think Bratt will be as good as Arvidsson but I drafted Bratt in my deep keeper for the same reasons I drafted Arvidsson.— Stephen Laidlaw (@SteveLaidlaw) October 7, 2017
Jan Rutta (CHI)
Another unexpected name joins the rush of first goals:
The Hawks' third-paring has been providing lots of offence so far, so its about time Rutta gets on the scoresheet with a nice rush where Kane finds him trailing. Forsling is still the more fantasy-relevant member of the pairing but its good to know that Rutta is capable of finishing when he takes chances like this.
Nathan Walker (WAS)
The first ever Australian NHLer had quite the debut:
Nothing flashy about this goal, which is actually a good sign for the 4th-liner. If he can be in the right spot like he was here, he'll get a few more like this by the end of the season. I dont like his chances of moving up the lineup, and the rest of the 4th line isn't exactly made up of offensive dynamos, so dont get too excited about the Aussie's goal-scoring pace just yet. Nevertheless, lets hope he sticks with the big club and proves me wrong.
Thanks for reading! This Thanksgiving I\m more thankful thanever for this fantastic sport that brings us together.
- Talking Goalies with Former NHLer Mike McKenna
- Tournament Review: U20 Four Nations – November 2019 (Part 2)
- Prospect Ramblings: Calder Power Rankings 003
- Prospect Ramblings: Updated WJC Projection for Team Finland
- Shift Work: Anton Lundell
- Interview: 2020 NHL Draft Prospect Eemil Viro
- Prospect Ramblings: Scouting Notes on OHL Prospects
- DPR Episode 70: Canada Russia Review and WHL Preview