Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
The centre has benefited from increased playing time the last few games. There is still the odd game with low time on ice, but in general his minutes are trending upward. He seems to have benefitted from playing in the World Junior Championship among players his own age and size, and has gathered some confidence that he has brought with him back to Finland.
I have gotten reports that Ikonen has worked hard on his strength all through the season and it was something that was brought up in last week’s edition. This week, he used the added strength to add another assist to his season total.
The confidence mentioned above was clearly visible when KalPa played JYP, and Ikonen tried to get his team on the scoreboard all by himself. Unfortunately, the shot was both high and a tad wide.
Joni Ikonen with a great individual effort in last nights game against JYP in Liiga. It seems the young #Habs prospect is growing in confidence. #EuropeanProspectReport for @HabsEOTP pic.twitter.com/Ydi6jlYHPW— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) February 4, 2018
Slowly but steadily, after the WJC both the points and TOI are being added to Ikonen’s benefit. With KalPa currently in eighth place in the table, a wild-card spot, it does seem like Joni Ikonen will get the chance to play in at least a few playoff games.
Alexandre Texier added another goal this week to keep the spread in the point race with his fellow teammate and draft-class friend constant.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården, SHL, Sweden
Lukas Vejdemo spent two games out with an undisclosed injury, sitting out both back-to-back games against Frölunda.
He did however make sure to get on the scoresheet this week with an assist from behind the net to draw Djurgården level in what ended up being a shootout loss.
Lukas Vejdemo #44 works hard behind the net to set up the equalizer for Djurgården. The 20th point (9+11) for the #Habs prospect this season (in 41 games). #EuropeanProspectReport for @HabsEOTP pic.twitter.com/QWQykPJM0u— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) February 3, 2018
Vejdemo has 20 points in 41 games, a bit off Artturi Lehkonen’s pace of 0.68 points per game in Frölunda the year before he left for NHL.
I still think it is a valid comparison, as Lehkonen had time on the power play and a set role in the lineup in his last SHL season. Vejdemo by comparison is moved around in the lineup and gets no power play time, and that’s something that makes him interesting to say the least.
Lehkonen had an amazing playoff run, breaking records on his way to a championship. While it is a lot to ask from Vejdemo to do something similar, Djurgården looks posed for a deep run into the post-season right now and it could be a very interesting situation in SHL for the Montreal prospect come playoff time.
Arvid Henrikson, Örebro U20, SuperElite, Sweden
Just one game and really not much to write home about for Henrikson this week.
Max Friberg, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden
While the Frölunda team keeps mixing great games with a few unlucky bounces, Friberg works his heart out. With three players leaving Frölunda for the Olympic tournament, it is safe to assume that Friberg should get some added time on the ice during the upcoming weeks. Hopefully it will lead to an increase in production for the former St. John’s IceCaps captain.