Arsen Khisamutdinov, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL) / CSK VVS Samara (VHL), Russia
The Firestarter opened up his KHL goal-scoring account when he pounced on a loose puck in front of the net.
Having watched him a bit more this week, I would classify him as a more complete version of Dale Weise. He backchecks better but is still an opportunist. He sometimes jumps the play to try and get a breakaway. He is someone who can present a skilled option in a defensive role and should have some offence, whereas Weise is the better finisher.
The Russian is an intriguing prospect and will most certainly need time in the AHL with more time on ice and a more even deployment, but every time I see him he plays a smart game, and he should have some room for improvement.
Frederik Dichow, Malmö U20, SuperElite / Malmö Redhawks SHL, Sweden
Sweden’s two under-20 series, North and South, have split into two new groups: the ‘Top 10’ and the ‘Fortsättning’ series. Malmö plays in the lower-ranked section, and will have to qualify for the playoffs the hard way.
The team started with a 3-2 loss to Timrå at home, and followed that up with an overtime win against Skellefteå (6-5). As has been common this year, the defence of the Malmö team can’t keep up at times, and Dichow was left alone to try to stop the pucks against Skellefteå.
The schedule with back-to-back games makes the contests unpredictable, and it sometimes comes down to stamina. Even if Dichow let in a few goals, he came back and gave his team a chance to win it in overtime.
Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden
Having returned to Sweden with a bronze medal, Mattias Norlinder got back to playing his regular time, around 20 minutes a night with Modo. Norlinder has been stable and secure, but has not shown the same kind of offensive style as he did during the opening weeks of HockeyAllsvenskan. No doubt this is due to having had to challenge for the Team Sweden roster spot and showing he would be secure defensively.
Modo has battled on and are currently in the second spot in the table, and the promotion battle is still within reach.
Jesse Ylönen, Lahti Pelicans, Liiga, Finland
The Finnish forward continues his work, and there is no doubt that his Pelicans team works hard too, but everything that went their way last year bounces the other way this year. The Pelicans are very much a small bird in the Liiga pond. When a few players leave, the team doesn’t have the pedigree nor money to draw in new ones to replace them.
I still think Ylönen can be an NHL player even if his stats this year look unconvincing. What has become evident is that it might take longer than many thought and that he, as a winger, can’t make things happen all by himself. His speed is an asset and he really has improved his defensive game, but it may be up to Joël Bouchard to bring out the offensive skill and confidence that Ylönen has lost somewhere inside himself.
Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia
Montreal’s Tsar-in-waiting suffered an elbow injury during the World Juniors’ Gold Medal Game. He has not played for CSKA since his return from the Czech Republic, but was honoured along with his teammates Rtishchev and Sorkin before the game against Kunlun Red Star.
Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden
Olofsson is still recovering from an upper-body injury, believed to be a shoulder injury, that he suffered in mid-December.
Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Ikonen has not played any games this season and is out until mid-March with a muscle injury.