Prospects News & Rumors: Wallinder, Pinto & Miettinen

Team Sweden’s World Junior Championship woes continue as another player is forced to withdraw from the tournament due to COVID-19. The Ottawa Senators’ prospect Shane Pinto is off to an impressive start to his sophomore season and a Toronto Maple Leafs’ sixth-round pick from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft recorded his first NCAA goal.

Wallinder Not Going to World Juniors

The hits keep coming for Sweden’s 2021 WJC team with Detroit Red Wings prospect William Wallinder forced out due to a COVID-19 outbreak at his Swedish Hockey League club Modo. He joins New York Rangers prospect Karl Henriksson and 2021 draft-eligible prospect William Eklund who will also miss the tournament due to the virus.

Drafted 32nd overall by the Red Wings in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Wallinder spent the 2019-20 season split between Sweden’s J20 SuperElit and HockeyAllsvenskan with Modo. He registered five goals and 19 assists for 24 points in 37 games in the J20 and two assists in 18 games in the HockeyAllsvenskan. Through 15 games this season, he has three assists. He represented Sweden at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he won a bronze medal and pointless in five games.

If things couldn’t get worse for the Swedes, three coaches, including head coach Tomas Monten, have tested positive for COVID-19. The Swedish Ice Hockey Federation has been in contact with the IIHF to find out their options before the tournament. The 2021 WJC is slated to begin on Dec. 25.

Pinto Scores Two in North Dakota Win

Senators prospect Shane Pinto has begun his sophomore season with the University of North Dakota. He had an impressive freshman campaign when he finished third in team scoring with 16 goals and 12 assists in 33 games played. UND was the regular-season champion and the recipient of the Penrose Cup while Pinto was named National Collegiate Hockey Conference Rookie of the Year. He also represented Team USA at the 2020 WJC and finished second in team scoring with four goals and three assists in five games.

Drafted 32nd overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Pinto is off to a hot start with two goals and three assists in three games this season, including a two-goal, one assist performance in UND’s 8-2 victory over Western Michigan on Sunday.

Ottawa fans will have plenty of reasons to watch UND this season as Pinto is one of four Senators prospects on the team. He’s joined by 2018 first-round pick Jacob Bernard-Docker and 2020 picks Jake Sanderson and Tyler Kleven.

Speaking of Kleven, it’s been a busy week for the freshman defenseman. In UND’s victory on Sunday, he recorded his first NCAA goal as well as a devastating hit along the wall. The 6-foot-4 defenseman was Ottawa’s 44th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft in October.

The fun didn’t stop there as Kleven was also one of three players called up to Team USA for the WJC to replace Boston University skaters Robert Mastrosimone, Alex Vlasic and goalie Drew Commesso who are unable to participate because of the pandemic.

During the 2019-20 season, Kleven scored two goals, 12 assists and earned 100 penalty minutes in 62 games played with the United States National Team Development Program. He will now lineup with Sanderson at the 2021 WJC.

Miettinen Bags First NCAA Goal

It took a couple of games for Veeti Miettinen to gets things going in the NCAA, but after three games, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ prospect finally broke out in St. Cloud State University’s 5-3 victory over Omaha where he picked up his first NCAA goal and two assists. The points are Miettinen’s first since coming over from Finland.

Drafted 168th overall by the Maple Leafs in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Miettinen spent the 2019-20 season in Finland’s Jr. A SM-liiga playing for Kiekko-Espoo U20. He registered an impressive 42 goals and 31 assists for 73 points in 52 games played, he led the league in scoring and finished with a 12-point lead over the next highest scoring skater.

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