Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga (Finland)
The Finnish centre had a great performance last week, but he was not able to follow it up, though he was given a lot of ice time when KalPa had some issues with compiling a lineup, playing one game with only three lines.
Off the ice, it was also a good week for Ikonen as he was named to the preliminary roster for Team Finland, and will have a chance to make the final squad that will travel to Buffalo for the 2018 World Junior Hockey Championship.
It will be an important camp and tournament for Ikonen, as he will have to prove that the show he put on during the development camp in Montreal wasn’t just a summer hit.
Continuing the comparison to French revelation Alexandre Texier, Ikonen’s counterpart got an assist during his only game of the week, while Ikonen didn’t register a point in two contests.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL (Sweden)
Vejdemo put in a new challenger for his game of the season this week, and that is beginning to be a regular phenomenon.
Once again he was one of the absolute best players on the ice for Djurgården, this time against Linköping. It was all capped off with a move that made him look like an experienced finisher.
When EOTP reached Vejdemo after the game and asked about the deke that made Linköping’s goalkeeper look lost on the ice, he said “It was a spur of the moment thing, it is not a move that I have practised before.”
Vejdemo’s breakout season is not only evidenced in his increased offensive production. He was compared to a nuclear power plant by the experts in regards to the energy he produces for his team. He has worked hard during the summer, and it is visible in the increased strength and stamina that is put on display over and over again.
This has translated to other aspects of his play, too. Previously where Vejdemo sometimes projected an image where he seemed a bit out of his element, he now projects confidence in everything that he does, be it on or off the ice.
An obvious example is the goal above. Before this season he would never have tried that deke.
I also know that Vejdemo works out hard after every game in order to build his stamina for a bigger role, and eventually the better league in North America that he is building toward.
The SHL won’t have a break during the Olympics, and I presume that Djurgården will send at least two players to the tournament: former Canadiens René Bourque and Andreas Engqvist. Djurgården is now considered one of the challengers to the Växjö Lakers to win the Le Mat trophy at the end of the season, and Vejdemo will get a great chance to take on an even bigger role on the team when his teammates leave to play in Pyeongchang.
Arvid Henrikson, Örebro U-20, SuperElite South, (Sweden)
Keeping up with the good news from Sweden, Henrikson played an important part of Örebro’s 4-1 win against Malmö. With an assist and a +3 rating, the big defender improved on his season so far.
Henrikson defended the blue line well in order to keep the puck in the offensive zone, and got the puck down low where Wassenius sets up Lodin for the goal.
Thanks to SHL giffer Anton Johansson for the clip of the Henrikson assist.
It remains to be seen if he can nudge a bit more and get another chance to play in the SHL in 2018.
Max Friberg, Frölunda, SHL (Sweden)
After Ikonen last week, it was time for Max Friberg to break his duck this week, with a brace of goals to open his own goal-scoring account this season. Posted in front of the net, he redirected the puck and celebrated his goal in what has now become an instant classic:
Friberg was relieved after the game but said he never doubted himself ... “even if a goalkeeper has probably scored more often than I have this season.”
He only played 2:57 in the second game of the week, and we have yet to hear any reason for the reduced time.