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European Prospect Report: Alexander Romanov gets an assist in his return

As the injury bug sweeps through the Habs’ overseas contingent, Romanov was back in action.

Russia v Switzerland : Bronze Medal Game - 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images

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

After having played a lot at the start of the SuperElite Continuing series, The Gnome was rested for the only game of the week.

Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

The defence prospect got hurt in the game against Tingsryd and has been sidelined the last two games. When I spoke to him during the weekend he said, “I feel better today!” but gave no indication on when he will be back, However, he said that Toby Enström, who is also out for Modo, “should return soon.” It sounds like it will be a bit longer for the Montreal prospect before he returns to the ice.

Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden

The Skellefteå player has had a rough season. Just as he broke out offensively prior to the World Junior Championship, he got injured. As he came back last week he looked to pick up the pace and get going once more, but Olofsson left Friday’s practice due to an undisclosed injury and will have an X-ray on Monday.

Jacob confirms to me that it is “the same shoulder as before,” and that he doesn’t know about his recovery yet.

Olofsson managed to play one game this week before the injury happened, a game Skellefteå lost 4-0 to Rögle. He was stable and played almost 15 minutes and held a neutral plus/minus rating.

Jesse Ylönen, Lahti Pelicans, Liiga, Finland

As mentioned in an article last week, Jesse Ylönen’s numbers are improving from last year, and he added to them this week with a multi-point game against top team Tappara, a game that the Pelicans won and drew closer in the hunt for the playoffs. However in a typical twist for a team that plays not only the opponent on the other side but also their own demons during the season, the team let in two short-handed goals when they really did control the game (and later an empty-net goal) when they played Lukko on Saturday night.

Ylönen’s goal this week came off the rush where he came in as the second forward and got his own rebound that he could put into the net.

Ylönen’s ice time is going down, but his usage is a bit better. He seems fresher when he is on the ice, but the top power-play unit is hogging the time on minor penalties and rarely gives the second unit, where Ylönen plays, much of an opportunity. Usually his unit has to re-enter the offensive zone and set up with about 30-40 seconds left. That one situation where Ylönen isn’t getting any easy points this season, and that makes his numbers even more impressive.

The Pelicans are currently eight points out of the wild-card spot, and things are beginning to look dire for the team from Lahti.

Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

The KalPa player is still out, but his team is looking solid in the wild-card slot at the moment.

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

The Russian forward is in and out of the lineup for Neftekhimik, and it is tough getting a feel for how coach Butsayev Vyacheslav thinks in regards to The Firestarter. One day he sends him out, after having barely played him, for a penalty shot in the shootout. Then in the next game he doesn’t play him at all, as was the case this week, when Khisamutdinov got the chance in the shoot out after having played 8:51 against Avtomobilist (a shot Khisamutdinov missed). He then played his forward over 13 minutes against Sibir to then bench him against Jokerit in Helsinki.

Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia

Romaonv played two games last week for the Red Army team. The first was against Lokomotiv away and Romanov got 14:10 of time on the ice, standing up well in his return after injury, and registering an assist.

He was equally stable in his second game back, and coach Nikitin rewarded him with a good amount of time — 16:25 — as CSKA won both games 3-0. While it isn’t the highest usage that Romanov has seen this season, it is up there with his best, and most importantly it is a lot more than he had been seeing earlier in his career.

I have seen no lingering effects of his elbow injury in these two games, and he has continued the strong play we saw during the World Junior Championship.

You can also listen to the latest episode of Habsent Minded where KHL expert Gillian Kemmerer gives her opinion of Romanov’s progress and options for next year.