Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia
The Romanov success story continues, even after seeing limited ice time this week, all down to not having a role on the special teams for CSKA. In the game against Spartak it meant that he sat out more or less the whole second period as it was full of minor penalties, and he didn’t get to play on the 3-on-3 overtime either.
Still, there were positives for Romanov’s development, and usage, as a larger portion of his TOI is spent in the offensive zone. He is also getting more confident, as illustrated in the gif below.
However, he was on the ice for his first goal against of the season this week, but while his pinch in the offensive zone wasn’t successful, he chose the right time to go forward. Nesterov and Vey had the defensive assignment sorted and when Spartak scores there are two attacking players against three CSKA players plus the goalie. It wasn’t on the young defender’s shoulders, and Coach Nikitin continued to play Romanov in his usual way for the rest of the night.
His defensive game is still good. He works well with his positioning and he uses both his good skating technique and stick-handling to keep the defenders on the outside. He proves himself and takes steps forward in his development with each game that he plays.
At the moment, Romanov is the most exciting and intriguing prospect in Europe.
Romanov’s next game is against Salavat Yulaev on Monday, so his stat line might look different by the time you read this.
Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Injured in the off-season, he is expected to return at the end of December or early January.
Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans, Liiga, Finland
The young Finnish winger had a rough game against Jukurit this past Tuesday when he took two penalties for the same infraction (setting a screen at the blue line). Ylönen then followed this up with a very bad penalty away from the puck, in overtime, that ended up costing the Pelicans the game.
Before that game, Ylönen had been averaging over 14 minutes a game, but in the two games afterward he was limited to 11 minutes, an indication that the coach doesn’t seem to be happy with the youngster’s performance.
What is even worse is that the veritable shooting machine that Ylönen has been seems to be broken as well, as only one shot was recorded in his week’s three games.
Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, SHL, Sweden
Coach Andersson told Eyes On The Prize this week that Olofsson should return to the lineup in the upcoming away game on Thursday against Brynäs. Olofsson had been back on the ice for a while, practising after the unfortunate hit, but Timrå did not want to rush his return.
Mr Andersson also offered his thoughts about Olofsson’s start to the season in the exclusive conversation with us.
“Jacob has been very good so far this year. He is one of the two top centres on our team. We are still working on his defensive assignments, along with the start-stop action; that’s something he really has to improve upon. He has managed the step up to the SHL in a very good way so far.”