The European leagues are well underway, with a few prospects of the Montreal Canadiens are taking the next step in their development.
Montreal Canadiens prospects
Joonas Nättinen, JYP, Liiga
Nättinen is still out with injury after sustaining a cut to his wrist in game action last week.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL
Djurgården is struggling, and is currently in second-to-last position. They would go to the re-qualification round in order to stay up in SHL if the league ended today.
While the team hasn’t panicked and fired one of the most sought-after coaches in the pre-season, the performance has taken a toll on the lineup, and Lukas Vejdemo seems to have been affected the most.
He was out with illness a couple of weeks ago, and I am sure if he has recovered fully. He played 16:26 in the game against Magnus Nygren’s Färjestad (a 3-2 SO loss) but then in Friday’s game against Linköping (who is missing a certain Gustav Forsling and struggling too), he was held to 4:50 playing time in what became a 5-4 loss. Vejdemo wasn’t dressed for the return game in Linköping, nor in Tuesday’s game against Växjö.
From the stats so far I haven’t been able to see that he has been at fault for any big mistakes, and that’s not the way that coach Ohlsson runs his team anyway, based on the words from Ohlsson himself regarding Vejdemo, so he seems to be dealing with the lingering effects of an illness.
Arvid Henrikson, AIK J-20, Super Elit Norra
In the two games played, a derby against Djurgården (a 3-0 win) where Henrikson played a stable and secure game, and a game against Timrå (a 3-2 win) AIK is starting to close the gap to the teams above after a dreadful start of the season. The only noteworthy thing for Henrikson was that he took two Djurgården players with him to the penalty box in a situation where one of the Djurgården players was awarded a 2+2, as well as a misconduct for verbally abusing the officials. AIK exploited the situation, scoring on the resulting power play.
Henrikson was called up to AIK’s senior team and played in Saturday’s game against Pantern in Sweden’s second division, the Allsvenskan. Because of that he wasn’t part of the J20 game against Timrå. His stats were not available at the moment, but it’s a nice indication that Henrikson is playing well enough in the junior ranks to get the opportunity to play with the senior team.
Magnus Nygren, Färjestad, SHL
Färjestad has picked up the pace, and three wins in four games has Nygren’s club climbing up the standings. After five straight wins, the victory train came to a screeching halt in Tuesday’s game against Brynäs, a game that Färjestad lost 5-1.
There are no points to report for Nygren in this week’s update, but he keeps on playing huge minutes and with otherwise good results from a stats perspective.
Players to watch
The big news in Sweden this week has been the youth movement in many teams. Not surprisingly for readers of this report, Frölunda has been bringing up one young talent after another.
Westerlund was the big find this summer. The senior team was short on defenders, and needed a junior player to practise with the team to fill out the ranks. The only demand form head coach Roger Rönnberg was to "take the fastest from the three-kilometre run."
Westerlund was that fastest option, and he hasn’t returned to the junior team since. In fact, he signed his first professional contract after having played 100 minutes in the SHL this weekend.
He has the same disposition as two former Frölunda defenders — Anaheim Ducks rookie Jacob Larsson and none other than Erik Karlsson — have shown in their careers thus far: the devil-may-care attitude.
That was on full display in the rivalry game with Färjestad. After two suicide passes in the first shift he laughed, and on the second shift he made a stick-to-skate-back-to-stick deke. He confirms he watches Erik Karlsson as an inspiration, and it will be interesting to see how far he will rise in the prospect rankings prior to the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.
The other player to come up with Frölunda this week, is a defender, also
Dahlin was called up to the senior team before a game against Skellefteå, and he recorded his first assist just a couple of minutes into the game.
He is not eligible for the 2017 draft, as he was born in 2000 and won’t be available until 2018. Remember the name and where you read it first.
To those asking, Rasmus Dahlin has no relation to Kjell Dahlin. But he would love to play for the same NHL-club as Kjell did— Szymon Szemberg (@Sz1909_Szemberg) October 22, 2016