It seems we have a new name to add to this weekly prospect report, and he earned some notoriety on the night his signing with the New York Islanders was announced: Freshly signed tough (and sometimes suspended) winger Mike Halmo was ejected from a game last night for a charging major on hot 2012 draft prospect Nail Yakupov.
The hit to the head required stitches and created fears of a possible concussion. Learn more about Halmo (and see video of the hit) in our post about his signing.
Hit the Books: NCAA
Leave $chool Now 401 is popular
We're going to change the order this week and start with the college kids because 1) they're in the playoffs right now, and 2) some of their seasons are ending and potentially affect the Islanders' pro rosters sooner than later.
First up is Anders Lee, who scored to force OT Friday night but couldn't get Notre Dame through a tough series in Michigan. Notre Dame's season is done, Lee will be 22 this summer and is no doubt someone the Isles would love to have in the fold now.
If Lee stays in school -- and he's always been one who emphasized his education -- we've all talked of the loophole that allowed Jason Gregoire and Blake Kessel to become free agents after their junior year. However, as Arthur Staple notes, there's a new CBA due by the time Lee could use that loophole. It's possible the loophole would no longer exist.
For the season, Lee put up 16-17-33 with 132 shots in 38 games, which is a slight drop from his freshman year pace. A long winter goal drought hurt those numbers.
Could Lee leave and sign now? Should he? He's older than your average would-be junior. Certainly the next year is pivotal in his pro aspirations, whichever direction he chooses.
Brock Nelson: In that Newsday link above, Staple also discusses Nelson, who is about 15 months younger than Lee and regardless wouldn't have the loophole option. He's had a very impressive season for North Dakota, a season that continues as the Fighting [tribe not for mascots] swept Bemidji State to advance to their 10th consecutive WCHA Final Five. Nelson has led his team with 23-17-40 in 37 games. [post-game video with Nelson from last week]
Robbie Russo: Lee's freshman teammate Russo is no danger to leave college now -- he's a freshman who was drafted last summer. On the season he put up 4-11-15 with six minor penalties and acquitted himself well on the powerplay.
Scott Mayfield: Mayfield's season continues tonight as Denver tries to win the third and deciding game of their series with Wisconsin. Last night they won 3-1 to even the series, with Mayfield in the starting lineup and the Pioneers outshooting the Badgers 42-28 in a must-win game.
[EDIT] Can't believe I forgot this tradition, but Cody Rosen did not play. Clarkson's season ended with a best-of-three loss to RPI. Rosen has been backing up St. Louis Blues draft pick Paul Karpowich, who is a senior. What, pray tell, will next year bring in the Rosen Chronicles?
Natural Born Kirills
Kirill Petrov scored on the powerplay Friday to help Ak Bars eliminate the defending KHL playoff champion Salavat Yulaev Ufa in their playoff series, four games to two. They had him down for 16:15 of ice time, roughly sixth among Ak Bars forwards. It was Petrov's first goal of the playoffs. He finished the regular season with 16-13-29 in 52 games.
Kirill Kabanov and Shawinigan finally dropped one to Quebec as both teams chase a playoff spot. Kabanov was held scoreless but had a crazy seven shots. Kabanov has put up 20-30-50 in 47 games.
Ryan Strome now has 65 points in 42 games on 28 goals and 37 assists. He and fellow 2011 pick Mitchell Theoret have clinched the division with Niagara.
After going a week without a penalty, Andrei Pedan collected four minors (8 PIM) this week, bringing his season PIM total up to 143. The Russian also has 10-27-37 on the good side of the score sheet. His Guelph team is in a dogfight for a playoff spot.
John Persson, the big Swedish 5th-round pick last summer, will not make the playoffs this year with Red Deer. But he's put up 22-32-54 in the effort, which continues through next weekend.
Brenden Kichton is up to 14-54-68 on the season from the blueline, with seven powerplay goals among that total. His Spokane team has clinched a spot in the playoffs, it's just a matter of whether they beat out Vancouver (tied with 79 points) for the final home seed.
Bridgeport Sound Tigers
Well, I don't know who these guys think they are, but I hope they know this losing thing isn't acceptable. Continuing their 2012 Year To Remember, the Sound Tigers won Sunday and Tuesday but then had the audacity to not win yet this weekend. Shootout losses both Friday and Saturday, minus injured captain Jeremy Colliton.
Fornabaio's post-game blog from last night has talk of how it's fun to be in important games at this stage, relative to last year.
March 4: Bridgeport 6, Providence (Bruins) 3
A nice win in Providence, with Jeremy Colliton and Micheal Haley each scoring twice. Kevin Poulin made 20 saves, while Tony Romano, Rhett Rakhshani and Calvin De Haan each had two assists.[recap] [highlights]
March 6: Bridgeport 3, Worcester (Sharks) 2
March 9: Connecticut (Rangers) 4*, Bridgeport 3 (*SO)
March 10: Hyphenated-Town (Penguins) 5*, Bridgeport 4 (*SO)
Finnish Loans and Swedish Trusts
is up to 13-16-29 in 50 games for HV71. No points this week.
Mikko Koskinen has appeared in 24 games for KalPa, putting up 2.35 and a .916 save percentage.
Johan Sundstrom had an assist in his only game this week, bringing him up to 6-5-11 in 49 games.