TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. — It happened so fast that most fans at the Traverse City Prospects tournament missed it.
Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Nick Abruzzese collected a pass atop the crease, instantly chopped from backhand to forehand to shelf, leaving St. Louis Blues goalie Will Cranley still poised for the backhand as Abruzzese celebrated. There is no jumbotron in Traverse City, so the majority of potential witnesses were left in the dark. The Harvard product joined his mates in a conga line at the Toronto bench, and the moment passed.
Professional hockey is the latest stop in Abruzzese’s hockey journey that has gone from 0-100 MPH in less than a year. “Whirlwind is a pretty good way to describe it,” said the 5-foot-10 Abruzzese, who in street clothes looks much more like a Harvard undergrad than an NHL player.
One year ago he was facing a college season with trepidation, having missed the entire 2020-21 campaign as the Crimson endured the Ivy League COVID-19 shutdown.