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AHL notebook: Under-the-radar players

Golden Knights draft pick Elvenes leading group of emerging NHL prospects

by Patrick Williams / Independent Correspondent

Though players selected in the first and second round of the NHL Draft tend to get the headlines while playing in the American Hockey League, several under-the radar players seem to always find a way to steal a bit of the spotlight.

Here are some who are emerging as intriguing NHL prospects:


Lucas Elvenes, Chicago (Vegas Golden Knights)

Elvenes, selected in the fifth round (No. 127) by Vegas in the 2017 NHL Draft, has barged his way into the AHL scoring lead as a rookie.

Elvenes (6-foot-1, 173 pounds) led the AHL with 13 points and 10 assists in eight games heading into Chicago's game at Tucson (Arizona Coyotes) on Tuesday.

He has taken on a key role and earned power-play time among a deep group of Chicago forwards. Elvenes had four points (one goal, three assists) in his season debut on Oct. 5, and after going scoreless the next game, had points in seven straight entering Tuesday.

He had 20 points (three goals, 17 assists) in 42 regular-season games in the with Rogle (Swedish Hockey League) last season. He also had four points (one goal, four assists) for Sweden at the World Junior Championship.


Eetu Tuulola, Stockton (Calgary Flames)

Tuulola was selected in the sixth round (No. 156) by the Flames in the 2016 NHL Draft, but is in his first season at Stockton after playing two full seasons with HPK (Liiga) as well as another season of North American experience with Everett (Western Hockey League) in 2016-17.

Tuulola (6-2, 224) is has five points (four goals, one assist) in eight games and is tied for the AHL rookie lead in goals with Tuscon's Owen Tippett (selected No. 10 in the 2017 NHL Draft by the Florida Panthers) and Hershey's Axel Jonsson-Fjallby (fifth-round pick, No. 147, by the Washington Capitals in 2016 draft).

He had 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 60 regular-season games for HPK last season and six points (three goals, three assists) in eight playoff games in the run to the Liiga championship.


Brogan Rafferty, Utica (Vancouver Canucks)

Rafferty signed as a free agent with the Canucks on April 1 after a strong NCAA career with Quinnipiac. Three days after signing, the 24-year-old defenseman made his NHL debut for Vancouver. He played two games for the Canucks and then signed a two-year, two-way contract on July 9.

Rafferty (6-0, 195) is justifying that faith with Utica. He has four points (one goal, three assists) in seven game for the AHL's lone remaining undefeated team (7-0-0-0).


Mat Robson, Iowa (Minnesota Wild)

Robson signed as a free agent on March 18 after a standout career at the University of Minnesota

The goalie (6-3, 190) finished third in the Big Ten with a .921 save percentage last season. He was 14-12-4 with a 2.78 goals-against average.

The 23-year-old has adapted to the pro game in a pairing with fellow Wild goalie prospect Kaapo Kahkonen. Robson is tied for sixth in the AHL with a .941 save percentage in four games. He is 1-1-2 with a 1.94 GAA for Iowa, the Central Division leader at 5-1-1-1.


Adam Huska, Hartford (New York Rangers)

Huska (6-4, 218) is making noise himself with AHL-leading Hartford (8-0-0-1) after a long path that has roots in the state. Huska, selected by the Rangers in seventh round (No. 184) of the 2015 NHL Draft, signed an entry-level contract March 9 after three seasons at the University of Connecticut.

The 22-year-old is 3-0-1 with a 2.20 goal-against average and .951 save percentage in four games with Hartford.

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