The North American hockey season has just gotten under way, but the European leagues have been runing for a few weeks. We’ll check in on the progress of the Montreal Canadiens’ prospects so far.
Frederik Dichow, Kristianstad, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden
Kristianstad secured a new contract for HockeyAllsvenskan in a playoff last year, and the club brought the same team to the new season. They did add two young goalies, Montreal prospect Frederik Dichow and New York Rangers hopeful Olof Lindbom. It seems that Dichow has grabbed the first spot, having started five of the first seven games. In Friday’s game, Dichow got his team’s first win with an 18-save performance.
He looks calmer than he did in the U20s pre-pandemic, but it is the consistency that will be the first thing to look for this season. As Kristianstad will be fighting it out in the bottom of the table, his GAA and save percentage will not be the best, something to keep in mind as the season progresses.
Oliver Kapanen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Before returning to the professional ranks in Liiga, Kapanen played five games in the U20 league, scoring six points (2G, 4A) in those games.
This week, the centre whom Montreal selected in the second round of this year’s draft made his return to Liiga play after having been out more than a month due to an injury and recovery. KalPa stated that Kapanen would return at the end of September (meaning to the U20 team), however it turned into mid-October before he hit the ice among the professional ranks.
Coach Tommi Miettinen has used his fourth-line centre sparingly upon Kapanen’s return this week, but it is a good sign to see the prospect getting ice time in all three games. It should bode well for him going forward.
Dimitri Kostenko, Khimki, VHL, Russia
The big defender produced on the power play early in the VHL season, but has been shoring up the defence for Khimki in recent weeks.
What stands out in the games that I have seen is that he sees the game quite well. He can spot passing lanes and set up plays, though he is not as skilled in the defensive zone just yet, and he is not the best skater in the world. He doesn’t struggle in the same way as Alexander Gordin, but he will have to work on his skating to reach the next level in the hockey world. Still, Kostenko will be an interesting name to follow this season, if only to see if he can be part of Russia’s World Juniors squad.
Jacob Olofsson, Timrå, SHL, Sweden
Olofsson has spent some time at centre, but more recently has found a way to the second-line wing. In some ways, it has yielded results. He already has twice as many points this season in Timrå, compared to last season when he had two points in 16 games on a better team before moving to HockeyAllsvenskan.
I am still not excited about his development in Timrå, or over the past few years, but it is good to see him generate a bit more offence. It might not translate to an NHL, or even AHL, career but it will mean that he can still play hockey on the European side of the pond.
Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden
Norlinder is currently with the Montreal Canadiens, but should be returning to Sweden as soon as his injury has healed.
Alexander Gordin, SKA-1946, MHL, Russia
Gordin has been out of the SKA-1946 lineup since mid-September and the team has been cagey with regard to why.