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European Prospect Report: Lukas Vejdemo opens his goal-scoring account

A weekly report on how the Montreal Canadiens’ overseas prospects are faring.

Lukas Vejdemo
Tommy Holl

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga (Finland)

The struggles for the Finnish centre continue.

In the game against Sport, Ikonen was registered as the 13th forward and got to play just 4:32 with one shot on goal. In the second game of the week. against the Pelicans, he was the fourth-line centre and got 6:54 on the ice with two shots wide of the net and a two-minute minor.

It is clear that the loan over to Liiga hasn’t been what Ikonen expected. It is now time to show character, build up more muscle, and work twice as hard to prove that he belongs in a pro league.

The SHL’s Frölunda HC still holds Ikonen’s rights, but with how he left Frölunda this summer, it’s difficult to see how he can repair the bridge back to the club. He would also face a logjam with Lias Andersson having returned from the New York Rangers camp for a year with the SHL team.

With KalPa’s season really faltering at the moment, it might be worth it for Ikonen to take a step back and play some U20 hockey in KalPa to get some confidence back. Playing in juniors should also mean that he could build up a bit of muscle to get a better shot at a Liiga spot later this season.

KalPa plays a Champions Hockey League match this week, and it could prove another chance for Ikonen to get more minutes than in Liiga play.

Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL (Sweden)

The centre from Stockholm has gotten rewarded with more ice time, more responsibilities, and some tough special-teams minutes, but this weekend it did pay off for once. Vejdemo got a free lane to the empty net and did not miss that opportunity.

It is clear that Vejdemo has taken a step forward, even if it doesn’t show in his points total at the moment. Hopefully this goal gives him some confidence. Vejdemo also shoots the puck more, getting more involved in the offence, and that should reward him as the season goes on.

The player leading Djurgården in scoring is a former Canadien, René Bourque, with six points (4 G, 2 A). Vejdemo is sixth in points with two (1 G, 1 A) and sixth in time on ice per game among forwards; another vote of confidence from coach Ohlsson.

Arvid Henrikson, Örebro U-20, SuperElite South, (Sweden)

Örebro managed two wins this week, and the big defender was a part of both. While the U20s report isn’t as good as I had hoped, it is clear that Henrikson took fewer penalties this week than in the one previous. While not gaining any points, Henrikson wasn’t on the ice for any goals against, either.

Max Friberg, Frölunda, SHL (Sweden)

The SHL schedule has been sporadic to start the season with CHL play, seeing Frölunda only play one game this past week: a 3-1 loss on the road to early front-runner, Växjö.

Friberg is getting tough minutes and it seems that Frölunda’s lines will get a shakeup with returning player Lias Andersson and, possibly, Carl Grundström from Toronto.

It has been a tough week for Frölunda. Coach Rönnberg hasn’t been happy with the early performance in league play, and the players have been practising up to three times a day.

A few CHL games are coming up and we are currently waiting for Friberg’s first goal this season. I expect it to come sooner rather than later.