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European Prospect Report: Jesse Ylönen’s drought comes to an end

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Ylönen finally gets some points in November, while Mattias Norlinder bounces back after a Pacioretty-style hit.

Lahti Pelicans

Jesse Ylönen, Lahti Pelicans, Liiga, Finland

Having been held without a point in November, Jesse Ylönen finally got on the scoresheet again. He recorded an assist in the 4-2 loss to SaiPa, and got a goal in the 5-2 win against Jukurit. In the last game of the week, the Pelicans were held scoreless against Joni Ikonen’s team, KalPa.

It has been a tough season for Ylönen. His team is struggling, even if they have managed to get up to 10th place in the standings and hold on to the last wild-card spot for the time being. Where points were coming easy and pucks bounced the right way last season, it is now the opposite for the team.

This has caused some problems off the ice as owner Pasi Nurminen doesn’t work as an assistant coach anymore. He has told the press that he no longer has a passion for the role. Head coach Ville Nieminen can’t take care of the coaching alone, and it does seem like they will have a new staff next season.

With this in mind, it would be easy to fall into a dark hole and feel lost, however Ylönen’s work rate is exemplary, and it is good to see him being rewarded with some points.

Looking at the underlying statistics, Ylönen is performing quite strongly compared to his team. He isn’t sheltered, but just like his team, he has a PDO lower than 100. This should be encouraging and help with understanding the season that Ylönen is having for fans who don’t have an opportunity to watch the games in Liiga.

Frederik Dichow, Malmö U20, SuperElite / Malmö Redhawks SHL, Sweden

The Danish goalie had two tough games this weekend when he faced a surging Örebro which has overtaken Malmö in the standings. When Malmö starts to chase the game, Dichow is left alone, and the goals comes fast and furious with vicious counter-attacks. Malmö’s defenders aren’t as mobile to keep up with fast-moving forwards, and there is only so much that The Gnome can do.

Dichow was rested in Malmö’s third game of of the week.

Letting in seven goals over two games and still having a somewhat respectable save percentage of 87.5% speaks volumes, but allowing so many goals doesn’t help his case to eanr a contract as the backup for next season.

Eyes On The Prize spoke with Olaf Eller about Dichow’s progress and the Danish coach’s thinking for the upcoming Division IA World U20 Championship, where Denmark looks to return to the Top Division.

Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

It was a scary scene in Örnsköldsvik when Mattias Norlinder hit the stanchion in an all too familiar sight for Montreal Canadiens fans. However, Norlinder skated off himself and did continue the game as normal.

When Modo was chasing the game, Norlinder was one of the players the coach relied upon the most, and the young defender finished with 23 minutes of ice time.

When we reached Norlinder the day after, he confirmed he was “stiff in his neck” but that there was nothing more to worry about. He was part of the Modo team that dispatched AIK on Friday night.

Norlinder has been taking a more safe approach at the beginning of his games, but as they go on the playmaking defender seems to relax and let loose with some exciting skill, exemplified by what happened in the third period during Sunday’s game against Karlskrona:

There will be some tough choices for Sweden’s WJC coach Tomas Montén, but Norlinder’s game-breaking ability will be hard to dismiss when the preliminary Swedish team is presented come early December.

Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden

Skellefteå AIK was knocked out of the Champions Hockey League by Djurgården in an all-Swedish playoff game. Skellefteå lost 4-1, and 7-4 on aggregate. Olofsson was visibly frustrated and took two penalties, but overall he was one of the players that looked like he wanted to turn the game around.

Skellefteå got two wins in the SHL, beating the newcomer Oskarshamn and the upstart Rögle, and has now climbed to seventh place in the standings. Olofsson’s play has been an integral part of stopping the fall for a team that started well but faltered in October. His play on the second power-play unit has been a treat to watch, and even if he hasn’t accumulated a massive amount of points he has been involved in the play leading up to goals and drawing penalties.

Arsen Khisamutdinov, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL) / CSK VVS Samara (VHL), Russia

There was only one game for The Firestarter this week, a 4-6 loss when Spartak visited. Khisamutdinov was close to getting his first KHL goal of the season. He was right in front of the net, but it was Groshev who got the tip in the end.

The coaching is a bit confusing when it comes to the big forward. When he plays in the KHL he gets to be on the power play and he doesn’t look out of place. The fact that he gets to stay with the team means that the coach sees his value.

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

The defender is getting more ice time, mostly down to Naumenkov getting dropped down the order due to his horrible defending, but it could easily have been Marchenko or Kiselevich who got the same treatment. Their offensive qualities may have saved them from a similar fate.

Romanov is still raw and will make mistakes. It does look like coach Nikitin appreciates that the mistakes are few and far between, but they do still happen. This week, the most obvious one came on Sunday against Avtomobilist.

Even when a mistake like this happens, Romanov tends to get the benefit of the doubt and will get the chance to continue the game. This should be encouraging for Montreal fans, as he will undoubtedly learn more from playing the game than observing it from the bench and dwelling on errors.

In a Twitter poll this week, Canadiens fans seem to believe that it is better to play every game on a better team as a defender than sporadically for a worse team as a forward when it comes to scoring. It remains to be seen which side is right in the end.