Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga
The struggles continue for the Finnish centre in his native Liiga. In the two games this week Ikonen got a little less ice time again by coach Sami Kapanen. With KalPa fighting to stay in the wild-card position for the playoffs, it seems that Coach Kapanen relies a bit more on the players that has proven themselves during the season.
The two games this week, a 3-2 shootout loss to Jukurit at home and a 4-1 loss to Tappara, solidified KalPa’s position in the table, and while it is not the position that KalPa looked for at the start of the season it does give Ikonen the chance to learn on the job. His faceoff stats have improved slightly to where he is stable around 50%, and this should point to the fact that his workout regime and his focus on developing as a centre is yielding some results.
The difference between Ikonen and Alexandre Texier is that Texier is a shot machine and Ikonen doesn’t seem to get to the danger area the same way as he did last year during his time with Frölunda’s junior team. Texier had eight shots this week compared to Ikonen’s two.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL
To celebrate your birthday in front of your home fans and score two goals, including the game-winner, is probably a dream for many a players. For Lukas Vejdemo that his reality this week.
With the two goals, Vejdemo has broken his goals and points totals for an SHL season, something that he has been pursuing for almost a month. The first goal came of a deft tip-in where he was left all alone in front of the opposing goalkeeper, and in the end it turned out to be the game-winning goal of the night.
The second goal came in the dying minutes when Djurgården was on the penalty kill when a long pass out of the defensive zone found Vejdemo and Jonsson-Fjällby (Capitals) on a rare two-on-one. After Jonsson-Fjällby’s shot the puck, all Vejdemo had to do was tap it into the open net.
In the second game of the week, Djurgården traveled to play the league leaders, the Växjö Lakers, and Coach Ohlsson relied upon Vejdemo for tough assignments as usual, with the Habs prospect playing the fourth-most minutes among forwards against the best team in SHL.
Vejdemo had a 72% faceoff efficiency and finished with an even goal differential in a 5-4 shootout decision. The only negative thing in the game for Vejdemo was that he was in the sin bin when Elias Pettersson scored his second of the night. The fact that the penalty was taken while there was no real danger of a goal against will be something that Vejdemo won’t be too happy about.
Arvid Henriksson, Örebro U20, Sweden
There was nothing noticeable from the two games with Örebro U20s this week, however Henrikson’s penalty-minute total, 42 minutes in 29 games, is starting to stand out for the big defender. It also points to the fact that he isn’t the fastest skater, as quite a few of those infractions are holdings and hookings.
Örebro is in the same situation as AIK was last year, and might be able to sneak into the U20 playoffs through a combination of different knockout games.
Max Friberg, Frölunda, SHL
There is nothing wrong with the work ethic from Friberg. This week he notched an assist as well. Frölunda has taken a few steps in the right direction the last week but will face a tough test against Vejdemo’s Djurgården on Monday night.