Jesse Ylönen, Lahti Pelicans, Liiga, Finland
As Ylönen was too old to join the Lion cubs in the World Junior Championship, he stayed with the Pelicans and played in Liiga. The Pelicans grabbed an important win this weekend against Ässät, but would have needed to beat JYP as well in order to close the gap to the teams that are in the wild-card spots. He did the best he could, and got the game-winning goal when he joined the counter-attack and controlled Merelä’s pass to net the puck high from in close.
#PelicansFi Jesse Ylönen had two goal in last nights game against Ässät. His ninth and tenth goal of the season.— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) January 4, 2020
The first was on the counter attack and Ylönen was cold to finish it all off infront of the net. #Habs #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/mfcz2VeuGs
His second goal was the empty-netter that put the game out of Ässät’s reach, scored from within his own zone. He stole the puck thanks to his hockey IQ as he read the pass from the Ässät forward in the six-on-five play.
He continued his point production when he took control of the puck deep in the offensive zone and used his skating to sweep around and back up to the blue line before letting loose with a shot that Mustonen tipped in from in front of the net.
#PelicansFi Jesse Ylönen takes the puck for a drive and releases a good shot from the blue line, Mustonen with some great eye-hand coordination for the tip-in.— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) January 4, 2020
That's Ylönen's third point (2+1) for the weekend and his 18th (10+8) of the season. #Habs #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/6OiTnRk8hW
Ylönen has 18 points (10G, 8A) in 36 games for a 0.5 point-per-game average on a team that has only scored 81 goals; fourth-least in Liiga this season. He is projecting to finish the season with about the same point total as last year, but since the Pelicans have scored a lot less compared to last year, it has been an improvement for the prospect. It is positive progress from the young forward, however a lot of experts and fans would have expected more.
His TOI has also decreased, and while many expected him to challenge for a roster spot with the Canadiens next season, it is clear that the Finnish skater will need some maturing in the AHL before taking his game to the next level.
Arsen Khisamutdinov, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (KHL) / CSK VVS Samara (VHL), Russia
Khisamutdinov started the game against Sibir well, and led his team in shots before going down hard at he end of the first period and got up favouring his left leg. The Firestarter didn’t play again in the game and did not participate in Sunday’s game against Avtomobilist, either.
Arsen Khisamutdinov (40) led Neftekhimik with three shots in 3.55 after the first period against Sibir. However, in the dying seconds the 'Firestarter' went down ugly and favoured his left leg after getting up. He didn't play in the second or third period. #Habs #GoHabsGo pic.twitter.com/15J92L5Gzj— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) January 3, 2020
Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden
Alexander Romanov, CSKA, KHL, Russia
Romanov was a key figure in Russia’s silver-medal-winning performance at the WJC.
Frederik Dichow, Malmö U20, SuperElite / Malmö Redhawks SHL, Sweden
No games for Malmö U20 this week. The next game will be on January 8.
Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden
Olofsson is out with what is said to be a shoulder injury.
Joni Ikonen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Out until mid-March with a muscle injury.