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Prospect Report

Goaltender Markus Ruusu makes impressive debut in Finland's top league

by Mark Stepneski @StarsInsideEdge / Inside Edge

Stars goaltending prospect Markus Ruusu had a good weekend. On Friday, Ruusu made 36 saves as JYP-Akatemia defeated K-Vantaa, 4-3, in Finland's second highest league. Then, on Saturday, he made his debut in Finland's top league, stopping 46 of 48 shots in regulation and overtime and five of six in the shootout as JYP defeated Jukurit, 3-2.

"It was a great feeling to play my first game in the top league," Ruusu told JYP's official site. "I watched the games as a little boy and dreamed it would be nice to play in one someday, and now it is realized."

Ruusu, a sixth-round pick in the 2015 NHL Draft, has flown under the radar among Dallas goaltending prospects but he has made pretty good progress over the past year. He played in both juniors and Finland's second league last season. His numbers weren't great, but neither were the teams he backstopped.

"It was a pretty good year," Ruusu, who is listed at 6-2, 175 pounds, said during Stars development camp. "Lots of downs and ups but a pretty good end for the season. I developed a lot, got stronger and faster, and I learned a lot."

At the end of last season, he came to North America and spent time with the Texas Stars, watching and learning.  

"That was a great experience for me," Ruusu said during the summer at Stars development camp. "I learned a lot and got to see what the AHL looked like. It was a big thing for me. I enjoyed that."

The Stars like what they've seen from Ruusu, who turned 19 in August.

"He's sound. Very calm in the net," said Stars scout Rickard Oquist. "He doesn't make any major movements, but that is just because he reads the game so well and he doesn't have to. He has a bright future."

Ruusu spent last summer at a camp for promising Finnish goaltenders and played with Finland's national junior team, which means he could be on the radar for the World Junior Championship.

"That's a goal for [this] year," Ruusu said, "the World Juniors."

Ruusu Stats: JYP-Akatemia (Mestis) | 4-3-0 | 4.06 GAA | .870 SV%
JYP (Liiga) |1-0-0 | 1.85 GAA | .958 SV%

Here's a look at what other Dallas Stars prospects playing in Europe, juniors and college did over the past week.


John Nyberg (6th round/2014) scored his first career goal in the Swedish Hockey League, tallying the first goal in Frolunda's 3-1 victory over Vaxjo on Thursday. Nyberg has one goal in seven games and is averaging 15:17 of ice time this season.

Nyberg Stats: Frolunda (SHL) | 7 GP | 1 G | 0 A |1 PT | -1 | 6 PIM

*D Jakob Stenqvist (6th round/2016) registered one goal and two assists in MODO's 4-0 victory over Skelleftea in Swedish juniors Saturday. Stenqvist has 8 points (1 goal, 7 assists) in 11 games and ranks second among league defensemen in scoring.

Stenqvist Stats: MODO (Sweden-JR) | 11 GP | 1 G | 7 A | 8 PTS | -3 | 6 PIM

*Fredrik Karlstrom (3rd round/2016) played one game Sweden's second-highest league did not register a point. He has 7 points (3 goals, 4 assists) in eight games and is tied for seventh in the league in scoring and is tied for the scoring lead among junior players.

Karlstrom Stats: AIK (SWE-2) | 8 GP | 3 G | 4 A | 7 PTS | +1 | 0 PIM

*D Niklas Hansson (3rd round/2013) played two games for HV 71 in Sweden's top league over the past week, registering no points. Hansson, who played a season-high 19:59 on Thursday, has one assist in five games.

Hansson Stats: HV 71 (SHL) | 5 GP | 0 G | 1 A | 1 PT | E | 2 PIM

*D Miro Karjalainen (5th round/2014) played one game for HIFK in Finnish junior hockey over the past week, registering no points. He has played six junior games this season, registering 3 points (1 goal, 2 assists). He ranks second in the league with 43 penalty minutes.

Karjalainen Stats: HIFK (Liiga) | 4 GP | 1 G | 0 A | | 1 PT | +2 | 0 PIM
HIFK (Finland-JR) |6 GP | 1 G |2 A | 3 PTS | E | 43 PIM

Aleksi Makela (7th round/2013) had no points in two games for Assat in Finland's top league. He has no points in seven games this season and is averaging 9:52 of ice time.

Makela Stats: Assat (Liiga) |7 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | +1 | 0 PIM

LW Roope Hintz (2nd round/2015) remains out with an injury for HIFK in Finland's top league.

North American Juniors

* RW Nick Caamano (5th round/2016) ran his points streak to seven games to open the season, picking up one assist in each of his two games for Flint of the Ontario Hockey League over the past week. Caamano has 15 points (5 goals, 10 assists) in 7 games for Flint. Caamano ranks third in the league in scoring.  

Camano Stats: Flint (OHL): 7 GP | 5 G |10 A | 15 PTS | +10 | 8 PIM

*D Chris Martenet (4th round/2015) is listed as week-to-week after taking a high hit in a game last week and suffering cuts around his eye. Martenet has played two games with the London Knights of the OHL, registering no points.

Martenet Stats: London (OHL) | 2 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | -1 | 0 PIM

Ondrej Vala (free agent/2016) registered two assists and a plus-three rating in Kamloops 5-1 win over Medicine Hat in the Western Hockey League on Saturday. Vala has three assists in eight games with the Blazers.

Vala Stats: Kamloops (WHL) | 8 GP | 0 G | 3 A | 3 PT | +2 | 14 PIM


C/LW Rhett Gardner (4th round/2016) scored a goal in North Dakota's 6-0 victory over Canisius on opening night Friday but missed the second game of the season on Saturday due to a lower-body injury. He is listed as day to day.

Gardner Stats: North Dakota (NCAA) | 1 GP | 1 G | 0 A | 1 PT | +2 | 2 PIM

Joseph Cecconi (5th round/2015) had no points and a plus-two rating as the University of Michigan split two games with Union. Cecconi, a sophomore, played on Michigan's second defense pair.

Cecconi Stats: Michigan (NCAA) | 2 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | +2 | 2 PIM

*D Michael Prapavessis (4th round/2014) had no points in two games for RPI as it opened its season with two losses to the University of Maine. Prapavessis, a junior, played on RPI's second defense pair.

Prapavessis Stats: RPI (NCAA) | 2 GP | 0 G | 0 A | 0 PTS | -2 | 0 PIM

*C Riley Tufte (1st round/2016) remains out for the University of Minnesota Duluth as he recovers from a wrist injury that he suffered during the U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp this summer.

*G Colton Point (5th round/2016) has not played yet for Colgate

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Hockey League or Dallas Stars Hockey Club. Mark Stepneski is an independent writer whose posts on reflect his own opinions and do not represent official statements from the Dallas Stars. You can follow Mark on Twitter @StarsInsideEdge.

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