With the group stage of the European Trophy over, and the regular seasons just getting underway in Sweden’s SHL and Finland’s Liiga, I thought I would give an update as to how your favorite NHL team’s prospects are doing in Sweden and Finland!
The biggest story of the 2013 Euro Trophy group stage was Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Andreas Johnson. Andreas led all junior (U20) players in scoring in the tournament with 5 goals and 3 Assists in 6 games for the Frölunda Indians. He also has 1 Goal and 1 Assist in the first two games of the SHL regular season. For a player taken in the last round of the 2013 draft, with the 202nd overall pick, Johnson certainly seems to be one of the early steals of the 2013 draft!
The second highest Junior scorer in the Euro Trophy group stage was Johnson’s teammate Alexander Wennberg. Wennberg was a first round pick for the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2013 at 14th overall. Alexander scored 2 goals and 4 assists in 7 games for Frölunda, and also has 2 goals in the first two regular season games for the Indians. You can view Andreas Johnson, and Alex Wennberg’s first goals of the season at the end of this video. Johnson scores the first Indian goal with a tough angle shot over the goalies shoulder, and Wennberg scores the final goal for Frölunda from the slot right in front of the crease.
The final Frölunda Indian player I’d like to highlight is Sebastian Collberg. Collberg was taken in the second round of the 2012 NHL draft by the Montréal Canadiens. During the group stage of the Euro Trophy Collberg collected 3 goals and 1 assist. Sebastian attended the Canadiens training camp, but missed most of it due to injury. The combined efforts of these future NHLers propelled the Frölunda Indians past the group stage and in to the European Trophy’s “Red Bull Salute”, which will be held in Berlin in December.
Another Swedish team that did well in the European Trophy was Färjestad BK. Färjestad has a number of NHL draftees on the team, but three of them stood out to me in the tournament. Max Görtz is a prospect for the Nashville Predators who scored 4 goals in the Euro Trophy along with 1 assist (Including this goal from the doorstep). Görtz (#29) also had 2 more goals in a friendly preseason game against the Stavanger Oilers from Norway’s top hockey league. The first goal is a wicked wrister, and the second goal (though hard to see due to poor video) was scored on a wraparound. In the second video, you can hear how Max’s name is pronounced in Swedish at about the 36 second mark, and if you understand Swedish you can listen to him being interviewed at the end of the video. Görtz is also developing chemistry early with fellow Nashville draftee Pontus Åberg. While Görtz was taken with the Preds 6th round pick in 2012, Åberg was taken with one of Nashville’s 2nd round picks in the same draft. Åberg had 4 points (1G3A) in 8 games during the Euro Trophy including this 3 point game for Färjestad where Åberg (#46) has a nice redirect goal, and shows some great board work, before leading to one of his assists. Pontus has 1 goal so far in Färjestad’s first two regular season games. L.A. Kings prospect Thomas Hyka is also on Färjestad this year. Hailing from the Czech Republic, Hyka spent the last two seasons playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in Canada. This year he brings his talent to Sweden and has found a place in Färjestad posting 1 Goal (redirection) and 2 Assists in 8 Euro Trophy games. It only took Hyka 2 games to match that total so far this season for Färjestad, and he looks to be seeing a bit of an increase in ice time which is good news for Kings fans!
The leading scorer in the first 2 games of this young SHL season is Detroit Red Wings prospect Mattias Janmark. Janmark scored a hat-trick in the first game of the season, and had a very nice cross-ice pass through traffic for his first assist in AIK’s second game of the season. Janmark has posted 12 shots on goal in the first two games and is averaging 21:24 time on ice per game. With that kind of ice time, and his skills, Janmark could be on his way to a great season with AIK in Sweden.
Now we need to take a look at a pair of NHL goalie draftees that will share the load in net for MODO Hockey in Sweden. In their first game of the season Columbus Blue Jackets prorpect Anton Forsberg stopped 26 of 27 shots to lead MODO to an overtime win. In their second game of the season Buffalo Sabres goalie prospect Linus Ullmark stopped 31 of 30 shots to defeat above mentioned AIK in regulation. MODO looks to have a deadly duo in net this year in the SHL.
Swedish Quick Hits:
Montreal Canadiens 2nd round pick in 2013 Jacob De La Rose (#9) had a 2 point game for Leksand IF in their second game of the season vs Örebro Hockey.
Linköpings HC defenseman Mattias Bäckman had 1G and 1A in 8 games during the Euro Trophy. The 146th pick in 2011 for the Detroit Red Wings also has 1 Goal (56 seconds into this vid) in the first two games for Linköping.
In Sweden’s second highest professional hockey league, Hockey Allsvenskan, Ottawa Senators 7th round pick Mikael Vikstrand has 4 assists in 2 games for Mora IK.
The name most people are wondering about in Finland has to be Chicago Blackhawks prospect Teuvo Teräväinen on Jokerit. Teuvo (#86) had 2 goals and 3 assists (including two assists in this game) in 6 games during the Euro Trophy, and is now on Chicago’s preseason roster. I fully expect Teuvo to get a long look from the Blackhawks this preseason going in to the regular season. I also expect Buffalo Sabres prospect “The Finnish Freight Train” Rasmus Ristolainen to make a push to be on Buffalo’s NHL roster this year too. Both of these guys will be future NHLers for vastly different reasons, Teuvo for his scoring, and Rasmus for his punishing hits.
Another Jokerit player drafted in the NHL is goalie Joonas Korpisalo. During the Euro Trophy Joonas played Won 2 games and posted a .944 Save Percentage with a 1.01 GAA. Unfortunately even this wicked diving paddle save wasn’t good enough for the Columbus Blue Jacket prospect to win the starting gig. Former NHL backup for the Calgary Flames, Leland Irving has the starting gig for Jokerit so far this season instead.
So far the biggest story of the first three games this regular season seems to be Anaheim Ducks prospect Miro Aaltonen. In Aaltonen’s first game of the regular season he scored a hat-trick, and Miro has since added a two assists to bring his points total to 5 in the first three games.
Much like MODO in Sweden has two NHL prospects in net, so too does HPK in Finland. Juuse Saros, a Nashville Predators goalie prospect, has split two starts so far for HPK getting 1 Win and 1 Loss. Juuse saved 30 of 33 shots for a .909 Save Percentage and a 1.49 GAA in those 2 starts. Frans Tuohimaa, an Edmonton Oilers goalie prospect, got the third start for HPK and saved 21 of 22 shots in his win.
Finnish Quick Hits:
Ville Pokka, a defenseman and prospect for the New York Islanders, had 1 Goal and 3 Assists in 6 games for Kärpät in the Euro Trophy. He has 1 assist on 11 shots in the first 3 regular season games for Kärpät.
Arturri Lehkonen, a 2nd round pick for the Montréal Canadiens, had a 2 point game with a goal and an assist for KalPa vs Ilves.
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