Up-and-coming prospects from the Winnipeg Jets and New York Rangers led the way as the minor league’s finest converged on Syracuse for its own mid-season classic. Find out about the stand-out performances.
While John Scott was being carried on the shoulders of his all-star teammates in Nashville (I can see the reports now: Joe Pavelski, day-to-day, hernia. Brent Burns, day-to-day, hernia…), the American League’s finest were having their skills competition at their all-star festivities in Syracuse. And there were some pretty nice performances for fans of a couple NHL franchises.
Leading the way was Winnipeg Jets prospect Eric Comrie, who stopped 17 of the 19 shots he faced on the evening while participating in a couple of events that are not exactly goalie-friendly. The Manitoba Moose netminder made nine saves out of 10 in the Rapid Fire contest, tops among all goalies, while also stopping all three attempts he faced in the Pass and Score event – which was essentially a 3-on-0 scenario.
Bringing the thunder on the offensive end was New York Rangers prospect Ryan Graves. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound defenseman won the Hardest Shot contest by registering a blast of 103.4 miles per hour. Keep in mind, that means the Hartford Wolf Pack blueliner would have finished third in the NHL All-Star competition this year, behind Shea Weber (108.1) and Steven Stamkos (103.9), but ahead of P.K. Subban (102.3).
Here’s a look at the Graves blast:
— AHL (@TheAHL) February 1, 2016
The actual game goes tonight at 7pm Eastern (broadcast details at www.theahl.com) and there is a nice mix of AHL veteran stars and NHL prospects taking part. Some of the big names include William Nylander (Toronto), Nick Ritchie (Anaheim), Mikko Rantanen (Colorado), Hunter Shinkaruk (Vancouver) and Ryan Hartman (Chicago).
And if you’re really looking into the future, 13-year-old Ryan Kirwan was part of a special “Youth Star” contingent that got to take part – and he went 4-for-5 in Accuracy Shooting, tying Chicago Wolves veteran Pat Cannone for first overall. Ryan’s brother Luke plays for OHL Flint and is up for the NHL draft this summer.