18y, EHC Kloten, NL, Switzerland
Wearing his old number 64, the Montreal Canadiens prospect returned to his Swiss team with a bang. In his first game, he played it smart and was used on both the power play and the penalty kill.
There were a few minor mistakes, most likely because of travelling and getting back onto the European ice. It was easy to spot that he felt he had the extra time, but also how he got drawn into the corners, thinking they were closer to the net, a few times.
He had a monster shift in the second period when he got the puck at the offensive blue line but went back against the play to create space for himself, and launched a hard, low shot. Back on his defensive duties, he landed a hit to cause a turnover, then took charge of the puck and generated a new attack with a good outlet pass. It was exactly the kind of performance everyone wanted from the fifth overall pick.
There was a scary moment where a collision caused Reinbacher to sit out a few shifts as he sought attention to his left arm. However, he returned to the ice after a few minutes, never having left the bench.
He finished an exciting return to the National League with an empty-net goal, which turned out to be the game-winner:
Any time you get your puck by a volleyball-style defensive wall, you’ve done great.
I did not watch the second game of the week, however he was still playing heavy minutes and within all areas of the game, He finished with a -1 rating. He came in late to the goal-scoring situation. It was a bouncing puck, but I think he chalks that one up as a mistake, even if it wasn’t only his. He probably should have gotten the puck away one way or another.
19y, ZSC Lions, NL, Switzerland
Rohrer added his own empty-net goal this weekend:
Rohrer is quietly adding points for his Zürich Lions team, and it seems like his development is going just like he had hoped when he moved back across the pond to Switzerland.
19y, Rögle BK, SHL, Sweden
Engström had a quiet week while playing a couple of strong defensive games. The first against Luleå was one of the best defensive assignments I have seen him play of his short career. The defenceman was matched up against former Oiler and one of the most technically gifted players in the SHL, Linus Omark. It was easy to see the thought process from Rögle’s coaching staff, tossing out the fast-skating and quick-minded Engström against the experienced forward the whole game through.
I was mostly impressed with Engström when Luleå pushed for the equalizer in the last minute of the game, going with the extra attacker, and everyone knew Omark was the player to watch. What we did get was a defensive class from the Canadiens prospect. It was the kind of play I said I would look for in Engström’s development prior to the season.
He was good in the second game. He played a little bit less, but still ended up with close to 21 minutes on average in this week’s games. The Canadiens’ development team must be very happy with the development and the minutes he is getting.
18y, Växjö Lakers, SHL, Sweden
The Swedish centre is building a case for himself to shoulder a big defensive responsibility for the World Junior Championship in Gothenburg this winter. He is switching with Stjernborg for the centre position on the fourth line, but Eriksson seems to stick there more often than not, even if they do change mid-game.
A rare mistake from Eriksson popped up this week. I am unsure how long his shift was before, and if the ice impacted his skating in any way. Still, it shows that he has some things to work on:
20y, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL, Russia
Two assists, heavy minutes, but also some defensive minuses were added to Konyushkov’s stat line. One of the assists came on Atanasov’s hat-trick goal. It was a shot that missed the net; I think it was aimed for a tip, but the rebound from the boards helped Torpedo recover the puck and score.
There was also a mistake from Konyushkov, I really don’t know why he isn’t working harder to get back into position here. There are two players playing defence, but one of them is a forward and while Gusev shows some great skill, Konyushkov should have been back to hinder the shot.
18y, Mamonty Yugry, MHL, Russia
One game for Volokhin this week, a game in which he let in three goals on 22 shots. That’s Junior hockey.
20y, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Kapanen is the fifth-highest shooter for KalPa with 30 shots in nine games, but he still holds a 0% shooting percentage. He has one assist so far this season. There were signs last year for him to take a step forward, but so far it seems to have been two steps back again. With the development of other centre prospects and even defensive-minded wingers, the pressure is on Kapanen.
To be frank at this current level I don’t see why Montreal would offer him a contract. The season is just a month in with about 20% of the games played, and things aren’t trending upwards for Kapanen, whom we all were excited to see after a strong finish last year.
21y, HPK, Liiga, Finland
The same can be said for Petteri Nurmi. His ice time is trending downward and there are a lot of the organization’s defensive prospects (even in Europe) who are outperforming him, and at a higher level as well.
22y, Ryazan-VDV, VHL, Russia
Gordin had an assist this week.
20y, Khimik Voskresensk, VHL, Russia
Kostenko is still with his VHL team, and has two goals over 13 games so far.