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European Prospect Report: Game 7 looms for two players

Jacob Olofsson and Alexander Romanov both face big playoff contests.

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

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå, SHL, Sweden

Olofsson played the last two games in the promotion/relegation series, and by the time you read this, the centre may have been part of Game 7 as well, as it is being played Monday at noon Eastern Time.

He has averaged 14:45 of ice time in the two games, with three shots, one hit and a -1 differential. He has struggled in the faceoff circle, usually having to duel the top faceoff man on Oskarshamn, which has led to a 33.3% success rate; not that impressive, but his counterpart, Hilding, has a mark close to 80%.

The lone goal against came when Olofsson did his job and forechecked hard in the opposing zone. The defender was lucky to get the puck away, and with three passes it was in Timrå’s net. Olofsson was still on the opponent’s side of the ice.

He has had some chances on the second power-play unit, but should have taken a shot a few times rather than slowing the play down to look for an open player with a pass.

While it’s a do-or-die game for Timrå — and really they should win — Oskarshamn has been able to put a slow-moving defence under pressure, and the goalkeeping has been suspect, to say the least, in the series.

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

The Tsar gets his Game 7 against SKA with CSKA. Most likely, Romanov will have a front-row seat to the game, as he has been dressed for two contests this week without playing a single shift. It shouldn’t be a slight to CSKA, Coach Nikitin, or Romanov’s skill. The CSKA - SKA Saint Petersburg games are like the Canadiens-Bruins games: a very heated rivalry with a long history and underlying stories. That, combined with CSKA’s recent history of underperforming in the playoffs, means that Romanov is a seventh defender and will only be counted on if there is an injury.

Romanov’s season has been long and he has just come back from a lower-body injury. It should be noted that CSKA trusts him more than any other depth option in the organization with more experience and who has been injury free. It speaks volumes to how highly Coach Nikitin thinks of his young defender.

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Coach Kapanen signed with Lugano this week, so Joni Ikonen will have a new coach next year. Ikonen is still practising hard in Kuopio, he informed Eyes On The Prize when asked about his regimen, and looks forward to improving both on and off the ice during the off-season.

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans, Liiga, Finland

Ylönen’s season came to an end against HIFK. Like Ikonen, he will have started his off-season training already.