As hockey season has officially ended with Chicago Blackhawks triumph at the Stanley Cup over Tampa Bay Lightning and a blancmange in a 2015 NHL Draft appearance will come short after I have written a brief review of our best Latvian hockey players in North America in 2014-15 season.
With hard work and attitude Girgensons has earned the spot not only in the TOP 6 but also a special little place in the hearts of the fans only in second NHL season. And what a fun ride was this season. As Girgensons opened his goal scoring count at the first game in the season as he ended it against Columbus Blue Jackets and in the middle of that he managed to play in the 2015 NHL ALL-STAR game in the same Columbus.
Girgensons received a total of 1,574,896 votes in the 2015 NHL All-Star Fan Vote. This was Girgensons first NHL ALL-STAR game appearance and he became the third Latvian player who have played in ALL-STAR game. But happiness wasn't for a long time. After scoring a goal and assist in just only 7 minutes and 55 seconds played, Girgensons unfortunately blocked a shot with his ankle and that was an end of the hockey for this season just before the game against Lightning and the second rivalry game between Girgensons and Ronalds Kenins.
At the beginning of the season, very few people had Kenins pegged for a spot on the big club. Kenins started his first season in North America as a member of the Utica Comets in the AHL. He played 36 games, putting up a 5 goals and 7 assists till January 30 when Kenins played his NHL debut game against Zemgus Girgensons and Buffalo Sabres.
We shouldn’t have to wait too long for the first point from Kenins, he scored his first goal in his second NHL game in February 1st against Wild and two days later Kenins scored his second career goal against Jets. The start for the Kenins was magnificent he scored his first 10 points in just a 14 games played which is new record amongst Latvian players, he surpassed previously hold record by Grigorijs Panteļejevs which was 15 games played. Kenins was relentless on the ice, trying to finish his moments with a hit. And of course everyone loved chemistry between Kenins and Horvat. After Kenins scored his 11th point his game went down and it resulted in 10 game no point streak, then followed some scratches and coach remarks to stick to his role. But despite ups and downs Kenins and Canucks games was a great recreation after following Sabres countless loosing streaks.
The last seasons unexpected journey for Kristers Gudlevskis has also continued in this season. Due to Ben Bishop's injury in the Stanley Cup final - game 3, Gudlevskis became a backup goalie for Andrei Vasilevskiy in the game 4 in June 11th. Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time, but this lottery ticket for your name on the Stanley Cup wasn't the lucky one. With or with out the Stanley Cup, Gudlevskis career is already a book worthy material.
Statistically speaking this seasons statistics looks the same as past seasons statistics:
If in last season Edgars Kulda attracted NHL scouts attention and got drafted because of a marvelous performance in the Memorial Cup and earning the Memorial Cup MVP title then NHL scouts didn't wait for the 2015 NHL Draft. In January 26th the Sharks signed Nikita Jevpalovs with a entry-level contract. Sharks GM Doug Wilson characterized Jevpalovs as a big-bodied forward who has a good combination of size and scoring ability. He has represented his country numerous times and impressed against some of the world's top young talent and we're excited to add a young forward with his skill set to our organization.
As later it would be known Jevpalovs finished his third QMHL season in Blainville-Boisbriand Armada with scored 100 points, 49 goals and 51 assists and this was a fourth best result in the league. Any other Latvian player has never scored a 100 points in any of major North American junior hockey league.
One of the top Penguins prospects Teodors Blugers with Minnesota State Univiersity has won the second WCHA Champion title in two seasons. Blugers (10+18) finished season as a 4th best goal scorer and 6th best scorer in the team, note that TOP 5 scorers was older than Blugers. This was his third NCAA season and I'm looking forward to hear about his decisions in the post season, to stay and play the fourth year or to take a chance in a big league.
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