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In the Pipeline: The Good, The Bad and The Borgy

by Mike Lewis / FloridaPanthers.com

When the Florida Panthers selected Henrik Borgstrom with the 23rd overall pick at the 2016 NHL Draft, it was widely described as an "off the board" selection. Relatively unknown in comparison with his first-round cohort, Borgstrom was committed to Denver and was seen as a project, a player likely to be a few years removed from getting a look in the NHL.

Then Borgstrom took the NCAA by storm as a freshman.

In his first season of college hockey, Borgstrom tied with Anaheim Ducks prospect Troy Terry for the Denver Pioneers team lead in goals scored with 22. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound native of Helsinki, Finland was instrumental in Denver's NCAA Championship victory, was named the NCHC Rookie of the Year and earned a reputation among hockey fans as a human highlight reel.

Now in his sophomore season, Borgstrom isn't just on the college hockey world's radar, he's at the forefront. With 13 points (9-4-13) in seven games with the Pioneers this season, Borgstrom has registered a point in each game he has played. He's put together three multi-goal games, four multi-point games and he had himself a night on Nov. 3 at Western Michigan, when he posted a career-high four points and his first NCAA hat trick.

Tweet from @coreypronman: Hat trick for @FlaPanthers prospect Henrik Borgstrom vs. Western Michigan.

Tweet from @TheNCHC: ������First career hat trick for Denver's Henrik Borgstrom. He leads #NCAAHockey with 8 goals now. #NCHCHockeyhttps://t.co/cx3OJwceCy

Tweet from @DU_Hockey: ������ 3-2! HAT TRICK HERO pic.twitter.com/NM1YLE9Te1

 

Spoiler Alert: Denvers' first three goals belonged to Borgstrom.

Tweet from @DU_Hockey: Catch the best clips from Friday's game #DU1NATION (s/o to ���� for making these highlights possible) pic.twitter.com/3VwqoWRYKG

 

The 20-year-old forward's nine goals leads the entire NCAA and he's second in the nation in points on a per-game basis. Among college hockey's top-10 point scorers, Borgstrom has played the fewest games (7).

Tweet from @TheNCHC: �� He's at it again!After a hat trick last night, Henrik Borgstrom gives @DU_Hockey at 1-0 lead at @WMUHockey #NCHCHockeyWatch on #NCHCtv pic.twitter.com/5wwHKABtg8

 

Borgstrom's unique offensive tool kit has earned him some exceptionally high praise from his coach Jim Montgomery. "He does things on the ice you just don't see very often," Montgomery told The Athletic's Corey Pronman. "Of the players I've coached I call him the 6-3 version of Johnny Gaudreau."

ON THE FARM

The Springfield Thunderbirds completed their three-game weekend with a 1-2-0 outcome.

The young T-Birds squad defeated the Hartford Wolf Pack on Friday, Nov. 3. Cats 2015 third-round pick Samuel Montembeault made 38 saves to earn his first professional win, while Liiga's 2016-17 leading scorer Henrik Haapala picked up three assists, an AHL career high. Curtis Valk tallied twice for his first AHL multi-goal game. Valk, Haapala and Montembeault were voted the game's first, second and third stars respectively.

Anthony Greco, Jayce Hawryluk (PPG) and Michael Downing (SHG) scored for Springfield in the win.

Tweet from @ThunderbirdsAHL: Curtis Valk's second goal of the night to bring the T-Birds up 4-2 in the third! ���� #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/ovmt8DgAYE

Tweet from @ThunderbirdsAHL: Curtis Valk with the T-Birds second goal of the night in the first! It was his third goal of the season! Watch below! ����#RiseUp pic.twitter.com/UOqUREpKlO

Tweet from @ThunderbirdsAHL: Jayce Hawryluk pushed the T-Birds ahead with a quick goal at the end of the second! It was his second goal of the season! ����#RiseUp pic.twitter.com/RmRjPCFV58

Tweet from @ThunderbirdsAHL: T-Bird's first goal of the night by Greco and assisted by Hunt and Haapala! It's his third goal of the season! ���� #RiseUp pic.twitter.com/hnb2h9A2H0

 

Thunderbirds Leaders

Goals: Anthony Greco (6)

Assists: Alexandre Grenier (8)

Points: Curtis Valk (10), Alexandre Grenier (10)

+/-: Tim Erixon (+2), Ed Wittchow (+2)

PPG: Anthony Greco (3)

SHG: Chase Balisy (1), Michael Downing (1)

Shots: Anthony Greco (53)

WEST WORLD

Florida's 2017 second-round pick Aleksi Heponiemi currently leads the Western Hockey League in assists (25) and ranks second in points (37). His 37 points have been registered in just 15 games. The native of Tampere, Finland is only one point behind the league's point leader, Arizona Coyotes prospect and Swift Current Broncos linemate Tyler Steenbergen. Heponiemi owns a seven-game point streak (8-9-17). On Oct. 20 against the Lethbridge Hurricanes, Heponiemi posted five points (1-4-5).

Tweet from @SCBroncos: Goal alert! @aleksiheponiemi slaps in his 12th of the year on #SCB power play! 1-1 #OurTeamOurTown

Defenseman Linus Nassen, Florida's 2016 third round pick, has registered 11 assists in 16 games - including nine power play assists, which leads all WHL defensemen - with the Medicine Hat Tigers.

THEY'RE THE KIDS IN THE OHL

• Jonathan Ang has posted 26 points (10-16-26) in 19 games for the Peterborough Petes. The Cats 2016 fourth-round pick is tied for sixth in the OHL in points and tied for fifth in assists.

• Adam Mascherin leads the Kitchener Rangers with 14 points (8-6-14) in 17 games.

• Riley Stillman has posted eight assists in 17 games with the Oshawa Generals.

ON THE MOVE

After a seven-game stint with the Panthers, 2017 first round pick Owen Tippett has been returned to his junior club, the Mississauga Steelheads. Panthers President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Dale Tallon explained the move in a team release:

"Owen was impressive in his time with our club and has a bright future with the Panthers," said Tallon. "This was a tough decision, but we think it's best for his long-term development."

Tippett is set to make his season debut for the Steelheads on Friday, Nov. 10 against the Saginaw Spirit. The 18-year old native of Peterborough, Ontario, was also recently named to Team OHL for the annual Canada-Russia Series.

Tweet from @OHLHockey: Pair of @OHLSteelheads added to Team #OHL for @CIBC #CANvsRUS.@FlaPanthers prospect @TippettOwen and #NHLDraft prospect @ryan10mcleod to play Thursday in OS.DETAILS: https://t.co/e2NJeJ5wsr pic.twitter.com/nFZiS7wy9Q

Tweet from @OHLHockey: Welcome back @TippettOwen!44 #OHL goal scorer returns to @OHLSteelheads after 7 #NHL games @FlaPanthers.DETAILS: https://t.co/32mqP9GALh pic.twitter.com/ULrZTxY4j1

Tweet from @OHLSteelheads: Guess who's back. Back again. @TippettOwen's back. Bring a friend. #FEARtheFISH pic.twitter.com/zBIrk0ui6h

 

HEAD OF THE CLASS

Freshman defenseman and 2017 Panthers third-round pick Max Gildon is off to a blazing start to his collegiate career at the University of New Hampshire. Gildon leads all Wildcats defensemen with six goals and is first in the NCAA among freshmen defensemen in goals, power-play goals, power-play points, game-winning goals and shots on goal. To read more about Florida's 2017 third round pick, check out Jameson Olive's recent profile on him HERE.

• Miami University sophomore Karch Bachman has posted three points (1-2-3) in eight games this season. 

Tweet from @MiamiOH_Hockey: Does Karch Bachman always look both ways before crossing the road? @zlav21 sits down with the sophomore speedster.#RiseUpRedHawks pic.twitter.com/lSQJmnYKHb

• University of Maine forward Patrick Shea has notched three points (1-2-3) in eight games for the Black Bears.

• Saint Lawrence defenseman Benjamin Finkelstein has produced six points (2-4-6) in 10 games this season and ranks fifth among NCAA in blocked shots, with 27.

• In six games Notre Dame junior Joe Wegwerth has recorded four points (3-1-4) in six games.

• Bowling Green sophomore goaltender Ryan Bednard has posted a 1-2-2 record with a 2.13 GAA and .924 save percentage over five games.

Click here to view the interactive Prospect Report

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