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European Prospect Report: Miguël Tourigny makes his debut in Slovakia

The defenceman showed off his speed in his professional debut, while Engström and Kapanen continue to progress.

NHL: SEP 20 Canadiens Rookie Camp Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Miguël Tourigny, Dukla Trencin, Tipos Extraliga, Slovakia

The seventh round pick from the 2022 NHL Draft made his professional debut in Bratislava against Slovan on Friday night, and I have to say I was impressed with his speed. While being caught out of position a few times, he adjusted well. He had one good chance from the high-danger area, but no goal.

The negative thing was a dirty tackle from behind down 3-1 and with about two minutes to go. It turned into a bit of a scrap and Tourginy sat in the sin bin with a stopper in each nostril after geting punched.

We will have more on Tourginy’s debut in the Tipos Extraliga in this week’s The Dispatch.

Adam Engström, Rögle, SHL, Sweden

The defenceman started among the six regular defenders in the Champions Hockey League game against European top team Zürich Lions, a game in which Engström was rock solid and played almost 20 minutes. Rögle ended up wining the game, and by extension the group, getting into the top group for seeding purposes, and drawing a tough opponent in Red Bull Salzburg.

Engström was listed as the seventh defenceman in Rögle’s return to the SHL on Thursday night. However, on Wednesday afternoon news broke that he had signed a contract extension with Rögle for the 2023-24 season. He spoke with Eyes On The Prize directly after and pointed out that “there are still a lot of things to work on in my defensive game, which is really important in both the SHL and CHL.”

With regard to the World Junior Championship, Engström is more cagey. “I haven’t heard from Sweden’s new U20 coach Magnus Hävelid. I am focusing on my game, trying to get better every day. It’s up to them how they will form the team, but of course it is a big goal for me to be part of that team. Still, it is up to Hävelid to select the team.”

Engström played another solid game against HV71, but with more limited ice time, before playing a good game of hockey against Örebro where he got his first assist of the season.

He is earning more and more ice time with Rögle, and when injuries do occur he is the first to be relied upon. Coach Cam Abbott puts Engström into the open slot on a pairing, rather than breaking up the third duo and moving players up; keep the pairings as solid as possible and put Engström in where the hole is. That is part of the higher-than-usual time on ice this week as Engström was inserted onto the second pairing.

Oliver Kapanen, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

After an initially slow start of the season, Kapanen has really taken off in Liiga. This week was an extension of last week’s great play, when he had a goal and an assist. While he was held off the scoresheet on Thursday night, he more than made up for it on Saturday when he had a goal and two assists against JYP.

Kapanen is second among juniors in league scoring, while leading KalPa’s junior rankings (Ilves’s Jani Nyman leads the rankings with one more goal scored, but with the same amount of points).

Our guest on last week’s The Dispatch, Timo Kunnari, said that Kapanen could be one of the leading scorers on his team, even if he isn’t up there just yet. He is eighth on the scoring sheet for KalPa, but another goal would lift him to third.

While I was disappointed with Kapanen last season, I have to keep more than one eye on the young centre with a name that implies success.

Petteri Nurmi, HPK, Liiga, Finland

Nurmi made his return to Liiga play after a lengthy absence due to injury. He didn’t really stand out, which is a good thing when it comes to a defenceman. He immediately took on a good chunk of ice time and looks to be up for a bigger role on an HPK team that is resting in the middle of the Liiga table.

Frederik Dichow, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

There were no games for Dichow this week. However, with Lars Johansson struggling in his return to the SHL from the KHL, both fans and journalists are asking when Dichow will get an opportunity to start.

It is understandable for coach Roger Rönnberg to try to play his first goalie into shape, but Johansson is struggling so bad that he might need to practise and adjust under those conditions before playing again.

I was surprised that Johansson got the start against Grenoble in Champions Hockey League, and the fact that he struggled against the French team should have meant that Dichow got the next start.

Emil Heineman, Leksands IF, SHL, Sweden

Heineman has been attending the Montreal Canadiens’ training camp, and got injured in one of the last games of the pre-season. The thumb injury still holds him out of the lineup, and a return to Sweden as Marc-Antoine Godin confirmed previously.

Dmitri Kostenko, Kunlun Red Star, KHL, China

No games for Kostenko this week.

Alexander Gordin, Rostov, VHL, Russia

No games for Gordin this weekend.