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European Prospect Report: An injury makes Oliver Kapanen’s WJC status uncertain

We look at the deployment of the two Finnish prospects, and highlight Adam Engström’s quick rise to the SHL.

Sweden v Finland: Semifinals - 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship Photo by Andy Devlin/ Getty Images

Oliver Kapanen, KalPa, Liiga Finland

The Finnish centre has one eye on the World Junior Championship that starts in less than a month. Ever since his return from the Tri-Nations (where two nations had two teams), he has been working hard but hasn’t featured as much on the scoresheet.

He did score on the weekend when he was used in the bumper position on the power play.

Kapanen’s shot-attempt share is 55.7%, a very solid number that is 5.3 percentage points higher than the team average. However, he is being sheltered to some degree, with a 55% of his starts coming in the offensive zone. It is important to realize that he is getting more opportunities than his regular teammates, but he deserves some hard-earned credit for doing something with those chances as he is sixth in scoring on the team, and second among “rookies” in the whole of Liiga, behind Jukurit’s Niko Huuhtanen.

Kapanen left Monday night’s game after only playing 3:25, and that game is not included in the stats above. Tommi Seppälä, NHL correspondent for YLE, had this to say about the Kapanen situation to Eyes On The Prize: “[He] went hard to the boards. Like really hard, was in a lot of pain and left.”

It is unclear what this will mean for Kapanen and the World Junior Championship.

Petteri Nurmi, HPK, Liiga, Finland

There were two games for the stalwart defender last week, and Nurmi left them with a negative-two rating. Trying to put that into perspective means taking a look at the Liiga table where HPK resides second from the bottom and with a negative-17 goal differential; something that gives Nurmi’s numbers more depth.

Also, looking at the advanced stats, Nurmi is anything but sheltered. He has the complete opposite 45% OZS ratio compared to Kapanen. Nurmi stil has a marginally better shot share (47.3%) than his team (45.9).

Adam Engström, Rögle BK, SHL, Sweden

William Wallinder and Adam Engström formed perhaps the youngest first paring in SHL history last week. Saturday’s game against HV71 was a tough game for them, a 6-2 loss, where everything HV did more or less went in. However it speaks volumes that Rögle’s coach Abbott let the pairing continue its deployment with regular shifts. All the parings struggled when Rögle was chasing the game.

Engström’s development is going according to plan. One might even say he has changed the plan already as at the start of the season we were looking at U20 and Champions Hockey League games, but Engström has become an SHL regular ahead of time.

Emil Heineman, Leksands IF, SHL, Sweden

There isn’t much to report from Heineman’s camp this week. Unfortunately the highlights Heineman featured in were for the other team’s benefit, as he made a defensive error in Saturday’s game as he didn’t move in to cover the centre of the ice as Leksand overloaded the defence trying to clear the puck out of the zone.

Heineman was on the ice for more goals against, but for those he wasn’t in error.

Frederik Dichow, Frölunda HC, SHL, Sweden

The goalie was tossed into the fire by coach Rönnberg in a situation that wasn’t fair, with Frölunda’s defence dealing with suspensions and injuries when they faced the best offensive team in the SHL, Timrå.

Frölunda let in the first goal after a minute, and the second came seven minutes in. In both instances the defence was at fault. Five minutes into the second period it was 3-0 and Dichow was substituted.

Rönnberg said after the game that, “In retrospect it looks stupid to not play Johansson in this game.” Rönnberg put the blame on himself rather than the young goalie. Dichow did need some game action, however it should have come under better circumstances.

Miguël Tourigny, Dukla Trenčín, Tipos Extraliga, Slovakia

Tourigny continues his play in Tipos-Extraliga where Trenčín is eighth of 12 teams. There were no points for the defenceman last week, and my colleagues in Sovakia haven’t said he stood out in any way.

Dmitri Kostenko, Kulun Red Star, KHL, China

Kostenko recovered well from the benching last week. He increased his overall ice time and from what I have seen from the highlights he can’t be faulted for either goal for which he was on the ice.

Alexander Gordin, Rostov, VHL Russia.

Gordin got back on the scoreboard with two points against Molot this weekend.