The trade deadline came and went, and now select NHL teams are evaluating their current rosters before the playoffs start. It’s relatively the same deal for prospects around this time, with NCAA teams finishing up their last handful of games before finding out their playoff seed and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) is well into the quarterfinals.
New York Ranger prospect Morgan Barron continues to anchor Cornell as they wrap up their season schedule. He has collected 22 points over the last 17 games, registering a point in 14 of the last 17 contests. The 2017 sixth-round pick (174th overall) has skated in 27 games this season, racking up 29 points for the Big Red.
Cornell has gone 13-4-2 in games where Barron has recorded a point this season. He’s not only been a standout on his team but in the NCAA as a whole, tying for second in shots on goal (4.74) and for 28th in points per game (1.07), while ranking ninth among NCAA freshmen and sophomores in points per game as well. But he was in the roundup last time, and there are other Rangers prospects worth catching up on.
Back-To-Back Shutouts for Igor Shestyorkin
Last week, Igor Shestyorkin posted shutouts in both of his appearances for SKA Saint Petersburg. He combined for 53 saves through both contests, as his team went 2-1 for the week of Feb. 18. The script was flipped this week in the 2019 Gagarin Cup Quarterfinals, though, as SKA lost 2-0 Tuesday night and 3-2 Wednesday night against HC Spartak Moscow with Shestyorkin in net.
The 2014 fourth-round pick (118th overall) finished with 10 regular-season shutouts in 28 appearances between the pipes. With that, he became the fourth goaltender in KHL history to earn at least 10 shutouts in a single season. He posted a 24-3-1 record with a KHL second-best 1.11 goals against average, as well as a .953 save percentage — which also ties for the second-best from a goaltender in league history.
Shestyorkin earned a win in each of his last 10 appearances, posting a .60 GAA and a .974 save percentage with 222 saves on 228 shots. He registered shutouts in five of those 10 starts, and only allowed one goal or fewer in nine of the 10 as well.
Since the start of his KHL career, he’s maintained a 1.68 GAA, a .935 SV%, and posted 27 total shutouts. Out of all KHL goaltenders with 50 career games under their belt, Shestyorkin’s GAA is the best in league history. His career save percentage slides in as second-best in league history, as well. It’ll be telling to see who SKA coach Ilya Vorobiev chooses between Shestyorkin and Hellberg Magnus, who have been splitting time all season, as the playoffs continue.
Vitali Kravstov Joins Good Company in Making KHL History
In 50 regular-season games with the KHL’s Traktor Chelyabinsk, Vitali Kravstov posted 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists). He tied for a team-high three game-winning goals, ranked third on the team in points, shots on goal (114), as well as tied for third in assists and fourth in goals this season.
Traktor has gone 0-2 to start the Gagarin Cup Quarterfinals, dropping both games to Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg. Kravstov only put up one shot on goal in the 3-0 loss on Feb. 26, but managed to register an assist and three shots on goal Thursday. The next two games are set for this upcoming Saturday and Monday.
The 2018 first-round pick (ninth overall) led all KHL players younger than 20 years old in goals, assists, and points this season. His 21 points ties for the ninth-most by a player younger than 20 in KHL history, joining the company of Artemi Panarin. He also joins Panarin — and many other current NHLers like Vladimir Tarasenko and Pavel Buchnevich — as the eighth different player under the age of 20 in league history to register 20 or more points in a single season.
Tyler Nanne Making Noise at End of Big-10 Season
In the University of Minnesota’s series with Notre Dame this past weekend, Tyler Nanne combined for a goal and seven shots through both contests. With his performance against the Fighting Irish, the 2014 fifth-round pick (142nd overall) put up a point in two of the last three games (one goal, one assist) to bring his season total to 10 points (four goals, six assists).
Nanne transferred during the 2016-17 season from Ohio State, but did not see any action because of the NCAA transfer rules. The defenseman is dead even with his numbers from last season, with some improvements from his minus-five rating in the 2017-18 season. He recorded two power play goals last season but hasn’t had the same luck this time around. Although he has found a more aggressive game, serving a handful more penalty minutes compared to last season.
Minnesota currently sits at No. 3 in the Big-10 standings, armed with a No. 8 ranked power play in the NCAA. It isn’t the best sign that his statistics haven’t improved much since his first real season with the Gophers, but he’s only a sophomore and has time to mature. Side note: he’s a third-generation player for Minnesota, so I bet he hopes to live up to the legacy.
A senior sports journalism major at the University of Massachusetts with bylines in the New York Post, Stan Fischler’s newsletter The Fischler Report and the Daily Hampshire Gazette in Northampton, MA.