Prospects News & Rumors: Malik, NAHL, Drury & Miftakhov

The second game between Slovakia and the Czech Republic sees a goalie prospect have a great game. A Carolina Hurricanes prospect is heading overseas to play next season and we look at an under the radar goalie who could finally hear his name called for our Prospect of the Day.

Czech Prospect Malik Shuts the Door

While the first game between the Czech Republic and Slovakia was a high-scoring affair, the second game was a bit of a different story. Facing 22 shots, Nick Malik shut the door on all of them en route to a 4-0 win for the Czechs.

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Malik split the past season playing for HC Frydek-Mistek of the Czech league and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL). In 19 games played for HC Frydek-Mistek, he recorded a 2.46 goals against average (GAA) and a .927 save percentage (SV%). In 16 games played for the Greyhounds, Malik posted a record of 5-11-0 to go along with a 3.77 GAA and a .886 SV%.

Malik is eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft. While he may not hear his name called until later on in the draft, he has the chance to be a solid goaltending prospect down the road.

NAHL Announces Target Date

The North American Hockey League (NAHL) recently announced that they are targeting a start date of Oct. 9 for their 2020-21 season, pending approval of local health authorities.

“We have spent a lot of time discussing return dates and are excited to be moving forward at this time,” said NAHL Commissioner and President Mark Frankenfeld. “Our number one priority remains returning to the ice this fall in the safest manner possible for everyone in our hockey community and we believe that Oct. 9 is a good date to achieve that goal.”

The NAHL is one of the most renowned junior leagues in the United States with an average of 330 NCAA commitments every season and over 1,500 active alumni today. Some notable NHL players include Craig Anderson, Ben Bishop, Justin Faulk, Nick Foligno, Patrick Kane, Phil Kessel, Connor Hellebuyck, James Van Riemsdyk and Jason Zucker.

Hurricanes Prospect Drury Loaned to SHL

Highly touted Hurricanes prospect Jack Drury is heading over to Sweden to play for the Vaxjo Lakers in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) next season. The 20-year-old spent the past two seasons playing for Harvard University in the NCAA. In 60 games played, he scored 29 goals and added 34 assists for 63 points to go along with 30 penalty minutes.

A second-round pick in the 2018 NHL Draft, Drury will have a great chance to further develop his game playing amongst men. The Hurricanes have great depth at center, but given Drury’s elite defensive abilities and blossoming offensive game, he could become a depth option for the Canes as soon as 2021-22.

Prospect of the Day – Amir Miftakhov

Our Prospect of the Day sees us take a look at overage goalie Amir Miftakhov. Ranked fifth amongst European goalies by NHL Central Scouting, he spent this past season playing for Bars Kazan of the VHL.

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In 23 games played for Bars Kazan, Miftakhov posted a 2.19 GAA to go along with a .913 SV%. He also managed to get into a few games with Ak Bars Kazan in the KHL where he posted a record of 0-1-0 to go along with a 2.31 GAA and a .886 SV%. Where Miftakhov really shone was when he represented Russia at the 2020 World Juniors. In five games played, he posted a 2.12 GAA and a SV% of .919.

Amir Miftakhov could provide value if a team calls his name on draft day. (Russia Hockey/FHR.RU)

Standing at 6-foot-0 and weighing 165 pounds, Miftakhov is undersized for a goalie in today’s NHL, but what he lacks in size, he makes up for in his raw athletic potential. He plays his angles well and is rarely caught out of position. His lateral movement from post to post is solid and he is able to take away time from the shooter in a heartbeat.

Our own Eugene Helfrick feels as though Miftakhov has what it takes to become an NHL starter.

“By all accounts, Miftakhov has the toolkit of an NHL starter, even if he is a touch small by modern standards. His movement, puck tracking and raw ability are all top-notch, and he has the potential to fight for an AHL starting role in just a few years at the very least.”

Time will tell whether Miftakhov can develop properly and become a top goalie in the NHL. He still has some developing to do but it would be a shock not to see his name called on draft day as he has the chance to be really solid down the line.