Camps are winding down and rosters are starting to tighten up in anticipation for NHL puck drop October 8. Even with the smaller rosters, however, there have been a number of stand out rookies looking to crack their big league rosters – or at least find a way to impress their coaching staff.
Saturday was no different for the young NHL talent. From Nashville to Detroit, it was another night filled with desperation as the first-year players battled it out for a chance to play in the NHL. In fact, September 27 marked an all-Western Conference edition of the preseason prospects three stars.
Pontus Aberg, LW, Nashville Predators
It was a battle of the cats as the Predators manhandled the Panthers in a 4-1 win on Saturday. For left winger Pontus Aberg, it was a chance to shine for Nashville’s front office staff. And the 21-year-old took advantage of that opportunity scoring two goals and adding a plus-three rating.
The Swedish winger played in all situations including almost two minutes of powerplay time and nearly a minute on the penalty kill. He had over 16 total minutes of ice time and used every second to make himself known to the Preds’ coaching staff.
While he won’t make the team in the next year, Aberg is listed as the Predators fourth highest ranked left wing prospect. He will likely get a chance soon, but for now, Saturday was just a preview of what the young forward can do.
Landon Ferraro, C, Detroit Red Wings
To say that his family has already left their mark on the NHL is an understatement. In fact, Landon Ferraro’s father – Ray – was a great scorer during his tenure in the big leagues. Now, the younger Ferraro has his chance to show he belongs in the NHL with the Detroit Red Wings.
On Saturday, the Wings third highest ranked prospect at center proved his worth on the penalty kill. He scored Detroit’s only goal in a 3-1 loss to their Atlantic Division rival Boston Bruins – and it was a shorthanded goal nonetheless.
Ferraro only played 13 minutes in the game. He spent nearly two minutes on the penalty kill and added four hits and a blocked shot to go along with his goal. There are still quite a few prospects ahead of Ferraro for a roster spot, but with his background, expect him to make an appearance soon – even if he’s picked up off waivers by another club.
Barclay Goodrow, RW, San Jose Sharks
He’s part of the Sharks impressive rookie line – which also includes Nikolay Goldobin and Chris Tierney. On Saturday, it was Barclay Goodrow who really stood out for San Jose in their 3-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks.
Goodrow played nearly 15 minutes for the Sharks and recorded two goals on just four shots on net. He added a plus-one rating and one hit while playing over six minutes on the powerplay and just over a minute of penalty kill time.
There’s been talk that the Sharks are looking to get younger and even considered starting the season with the all-rookie line in tact, but it likely won’t be for another year or two until Goodrow, Goldobin and Tierney all have full-time spots on the San Jose roster.
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 1 (Sept. 21)
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 2 (Sept. 22)
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 3 (Sept. 23)
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 4 (Sept. 24)
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 5 (Sept. 25)
NHL Preseason: Three Stars From Day 6 (Sept. 26)
For more, follow Andrew on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes or his column at @Tape2TapeTHW.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.