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European Prospect Report: Jesse Ylönen starts the year off with a bang

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While the attention was on the World Juniors, the forward was putting together a nice run in Liiga.

Lathi Pelicans

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.

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.

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.

Mattias Norlinder, Modo, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

For World Juniors stats, please see the separate WJC article.

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.