Today’s Prospects News & Rumors column will take us across the globe and through multiple levels of the game. We will start in the American Hockey League (AHL), where an Ottawa Senators’ prospects stayed red hot. We will then move to the Western Hockey League (WHL) to check in on one of the top-ranked goaltenders heading into the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Finally, Russia got some bad news when it comes to their U18 World Championships team.
Egor Sokolov Keeps on Scoring
Most fans in Ottawa have their eye to the future, and rightfully so. There are definitely better days ahead as the Senators have amassed quite the prospect pool over the past few seasons. Some of those players are already making an impact at the NHL level, while others make strides with the Belleville Senators in the AHL.
One such player is Sokolov, who has been as hot as any player in the league over the past couple of weeks. He scored in Thursday night’s 4-2 win over the Stockton Heat less than a minute after Calgary Flames’ prospect Dmitry Zavgorodniy netted his first professional goal.
Sokolov now has 11 goals on the season and seven in his last seven games. He has a total of 15 points in his 22 games in Belleville this season. The 20-year-old Russia forward was selected by the Senators in the second round (61st overall) of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
His linemate, Vitaly Abramov, picked up the primary assist on the play. He has been red hot as well with 16 points in his last 13 games, being held off the scoresheet just twice during that span. He now has six goals and 17 points in 21 AHL games this season. The Senators acquired the soon-to-be 23-year-old forward as part of the trade that sent Matt Duchene to the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ivan Miroshnichenko To Miss U18 World Championship
Frisco and Plano, Texas, will be a hotbed of future hockey stars as the two cities will host the IIHF 2021 U18 World Championship from April 26 to May 6. The opening game of the tournament will see Team USA take on a very talented squad from Russia.
However, we learned today that Russia would be without its team captain. Miroshnichenko was denied a visa by the United States and will not come over and play in the tournament. This is a huge blow just a couple of days before making the long trip over to Texas.
“We received a letter which said that Ivan Miroshnichenko cannot cross the U.S. border. The decision was issued by the US Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS) and cannot be appealed or overturned,” the Russian Ice Hockey Federation said (translated). “Earlier, Ivan faced similar problems when he wanted to play in North American leagues but was denied a Canadian visa. Now the USCIS denied his entrance to the country.”
Miroshnichenko was tendered by the Muskegon Lumberjacks of the United States Hockey League (USHL) but never came over to play. He has five goals and 15 points in 20 games for Omskie Yastreby in Russia’s top junior league. He has a very heavy and accurate shot that he needs little space to get off and plays with a physical edge, which, of course, has brought on comparisons to a young Alex Ovechkin. His absence is a huge loss for one of the favorites in this year’s tournament.
Sebastian Cossa Stays Perfect
The Edmonton Oil Kings are off to a 12-1-0 start to the shortened WHL season, and Cossa has a lot to do with the success. He stopped all 30 shots he faced in a 4-0 win over the Lethbridge Hurricanes Thursday night. He came up huge in the first period as the Oil Kings were outshot 11-5 but took a 1-0 lead into the intermission.
This was Cossa’s second shutout of the season, and he improved to 12-0-0 with a .948 save percentage and 1.33 goals-against average. His 12 straight wins set a franchise record for most consecutive wins in a single season, surpassing the previous mark of 11 set by Pittsburgh Penguins’ goaltender Tristan Jarry in 2013. He is one of the top goaltending prospects heading into the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. Our own Matthew Zator has as the second-ranked goaltender at No. 27 overall on his latest top 100 rankings for the upcoming draft.