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European Prospect Report: His first SKA-CSKA meeting a learning experience for Alexander Romanov

Romanov gets a first-hand look at a marquee KHL rivalry, while Ylönen still has difficulty getting to the middle for his shots.

2018 NHL Draft - Portraits Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

After using Alexander Romanov extensively when CSKA rotated players in and out for a few games, it seems that the defenceman is being rested a bit. In the final two games of the week, Romanov played 8:42 against Sochi and only 5:33 in the Army rivalry in Saint Petersburg when CSKA beat SKA 2-1 on penalty shots. Romanov had a rinkside seat for the third period and overtime, as he got no shifts in either frame.

SKA vs CSKA is a huge game, and the tempo was extremely high. It was much better than the SHL game I saw the previous day, and it reinforces that in these tight games where a lot is on the line, Romanov wont get as many minutes. However with an average over 10 minutes in 20 KHL games the season, it must be considered a success.

Romanov will next travel to Vienna and play Slovan Bratislava in a regular-season game to promote the KHL in potential expansion countries.

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans, Liiga, Finland

Only one game for Ylönen this week: a 4-2 loss at home against TPS, where a certain Kaapo Kakko plays (the linemate of Jesperi Kotkaniemi on Finland’s U20 team). Ylönen played 10:58 with three shots.

While I only watched the first two periods of the game, nothing really stood out. Ylönen works hard but his shots are coming far away from goal. It doesn’t help that, as with Jacob Olofsson’s Timrå, the Pelicans are starting to slide a bit after an impressive start.

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå, SHL, Sweden

Timrå has a strategy of playing a controlled game of hockey, and Coach Andersson loves what Olofsson has brought to that game since his return from injury.

Against the other teams that are thought to be in the lower tier of the table, they are really forced to over-extend themselves and dictate play, and counter-attacks coming back their way are deadly. In the double-header against last-place Rögle, it was clear that this is where Timrå will struggle this season.

In Saturday’s game, Rögle should have had the game won in the second period, but instead Timrå remained close, and one of the goals against charged to Olofsson came with his net empty.

Olofsson played well in the offensive zone, but still struggles a bit in the defensive end. It’s something he is keenly aware of and works to adjust. He and Coach Andersson spoke about that aspect of the centre’s development with Eyes On The Prize.

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Injured in the off-season, he is expected to return at the end of December or early January.