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European Prospect Report: Jacob Olofsson’s impact; Mattias Norlinder injury update

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Otto Leskinen’s prepared for the North American hockey season, while we’re still not sure what the plan is for Ylönen.

Tommy Holl TT

Jacob Olofsson, Timrå IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

In the top game of the week in HockeyAllsvenskan, Timrå (#1 seed) faced off against Björklöven (#2), and the focus was on Olofsson to see if he had adapted to his role on the team. He received limited minutes (11:52) in the game, as Timrå was relying heavily on its first line of Lööke - Lundin - Dahlén (which has combined for 100 points in 23 games), especially on the power play where they play more or less the full two minutes.

Olofsson’s best play was a game-breaking move when the match was tied deep into the third period. He won the draw, got the puck back, and challenged his defender right in front of the net. The defender had no other means to stop the big centre but by hooking him (and then dumping him in the corner). Timrå broke the deadlock nine seconds into the resulting power play.

Olofsson then gave his teammate a chance to seal the game, but the setup couldn’t be finished for the tip-in. Olofsson’s hockey IQ was on display as he collected the puck, made a deke to force the defender to make a rushed move, then passed the puck for the teammate near the goal.

With thee minutes to go, he found himself in front of the net trying to get to the puck. The defenders took offence and started to push him around, and it resulted in what in Sweden is deemed a fight. Both players got double minors, and Olofsson finished the game in the sin bin.

Overall I think Olofsson played well, especially considering his limited minutes, in what was a top game that will be important for the promotion battle at the end of the season. I would like to see more from him as right now he’s a long shot to make the NHL, but he needs to gain confidence before we can judge him on anything else.

Alexander Gordin, SKA-1946 Saint Petersburg, MHL, Russia

In the double matchup against Kapitan, Gordin had two assists in the first game and one in the second. Interestingly, from only looking at the stats, his shot rate has gone down.

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

Frölunda’s coach Roger Rönnberg said Mattias “will be out another week or so” on Christmas Day, confirming that it was a knee injury that Norlinder sustained. However, expecting a player to come back in three to four weeks after a knee injury should be considered a success. The expected return should be early to mid-January.

Jan Myšák, HC Litvinov, Extraliga, Czech Republic

You can find more information about Myšák in our World Junior Championship coverage.

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans [Loan], Liiga, Finland

No news regarding to the Canadiens’ plans for Jesse Ylönen. The Pelicans haven’t released any press release about him leaving. They will play away to Ilves on Wednesday night, and it remains to be seen if Ylönen will be part of that team.

Otto Leskinen, KalPa [Loan], Liiga, Finland

Leskinen has returned to Montreal for the upcoming training camp. He finished his time in Liiga with a good stat line, and he should be pushing for a spot on the Taxi squad as he brings both power-play and defensive skill to the table.

Joni Ikonen, Ilves, Liiga Finland

Injured, return pending.