Comments / New

European Prospect Report: A strong showing from some Canadiens prospects at the senior level

Filip Eriksson

18y, Växjö Lakers, SHL, Sweden

On Saturday it was a Montreal prospect showdown as Eriksson played Engström. It was a decent game for Eriksson who got close to 12 minutes of ice time. Eriksson was in the sin bin for Rögle’s first goal of the game. I am not convinced it was a minor penalty, not because it was a Montreal prospect, but because Eriksson fell and hit an opposing player in the face with his glove while trying to regain balance. It was a weak call, maybe the referee bowed to the home crowd.

However, the positives are that Eriksson doesn’t look out of place for a fourth liner in SHL. He does his work and most impressively he does it as a centre in his Draft+1 year as a player still eligible for the U20s. In reality, Victor Stjernborg and Eriksson share the centre duties, but the fact that they even do that is a strong indication of Eriksson’s acumen.

Adam Engström

19y, Rögle BK, SHL, Sweden

Engström’s first error happened in Thursday’s game against Leksand. The defender was paired with Michael Kapla, who has been home in USA for the birth of his first child, meaning that the pair hasn’t played together in the most recent pre-season games. It was evident they needed time as both players went for the same puck behind the net.

Engström earned his first point of the season as he put the puck on the net with the clear intent of getting a tip on the puck, and in the end he got just that.
It was a really bad game for Rögle as a whole, and in the end the team seemed more content to roll four lines and just get out of the arena to start the trip home. The 4-1 score in Leksand’s favour was a bit flattering for Rögle. Engström’s time on ice fell under 20 minutes for the first time this season, but he wasn’t punished for the goal against. It was more the fact that the team just rolled through the lineup at the end.

In Saturday’s game, Engström made more or less the exact same move he did for the assist but this time placed the shot in the top corner. It really showcases how difficult it is for the goalie, and defenders, to read and defend.

Engström still averages over 20 minutes a game and he is playing more secure and smarter in his own end. The fact that he is bigger certainly helps in the defensive zone. The one thing where the bigger ice helps is the fact that he takes up position behind the net for the build up phase, it is not something that will translate well to the NHL sized rinks.

He also plays smarter in the offensive zone, not throwing away pucks and rather than doing an extra dangle he looks for a good pass after the first move.

Rögle wont play three games a week for the next month, which means more practice, more gym time and more time with his defensive partner to shore up the communication.

David Reinbacher

18y, EHC Kolten, NL, Switzerland / Montreal Canadiens, NHL

Rienbacher is in Montreal for training camp, but until it has been decided where he’ll play he will be included in the list of European prospects.

Vinzenz Rohrer

19y, ZSC Lions, NL, Switzerland

Rohrer scored his second goal of the season on Sunday, as Zurich won all three games they played this week. He played over 13 minutes in the weekend games, and just over 11 in Tuesday’s game.

Oliver Kapanen

20y, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

I have been watching a couple of Kapanen’s games this week, and it seems that Kapanen is being turned into a defensive centre. It’s not bad, but I was looking forward to see some offence from him this season, and I have not seen the shooting power that was spoken about in his draft year for two years. Having seen him struggle offensively in general, I had hoped for the trend from last year continue this season.
This week, he struggled in the face-off circle, but he is still eating quite a bit of minutes and he looked defensively secure against Tappara in Saturday’s game. Tappara is a top team and won the league, the playoffs and the Champions Hockey League last season, for an unprecedented triple.

Kapanen’s struggle might be the down to having done his military service this summer. I am not sure how much that impaceds his preseason training (normally professional athletes end up in a sport platoon, where they have more time to do individual training and prepare for the season).

It is an important time coming up for Kapanen, and he will have a lot of eyes on him throughout the season looking for that improvement.

Petteri Nurmi

21y, HPK, Liiga, Finland

Out of the spotlight, Petteri Nurmi is playing a defensively strong and sound game. While he makes the defensive plays look easy, a limited offensive game is the question to what he can bring to the Canadiens down the line. He eats big minutes for HPK and he does it well, playing smart.

I have no doubt he will be a very good hockey player, but with the players coming into Laval and the Canadiens, I wonder if he even gets a contract from the team when the time comes. It seems that all other defensive prospects has something extra, rather than just being sound, in their toolkit.

Bogdan Konyushkov

20y, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL, Russia

The Russian defender had a three-point game, where he had two assists and an empty net goal against Vityaz in the local derby as Khimki is just north of Moscow.

You can watch the full highlight video if you follow this link, or just choose “гол” on the righthand bar to get the individual goals (Konyushkov wears number 6).

With six (1G+5A) points in nine games Konyushkov is making a good case for himself to be included in the discussion of the Montreal Canadiens future defence. The problem is Konyushkov’s contract that finishes in 2026 and we don’t know how the defence will look then. The good thing is that Montreal has his rights until they choose to give them up.

Yevgeni Volokhin

18y, Mamonty Yugry, MHL, Russia

Volokhin had his first shutout this week, a game where he only faced eight shots. He lost his other start this week, where he allowed four goals on 30 shots. So far it seems that Volokhin and Yegor Zavragin are splitting time in goal.

Alexander Gordin

22y, Ryazan-VDV, VHL, Russia

Gordin is currently playing in the VHL, but producing more than he did last year. He had two goals and one assist in four games this week, and has four goals and two assists in eight games, reaching half of his 12 points from a year ago in 28 fewer games to date.

Dmitri Kostenko

20y, Khimik Voskresensk, VHL, Russia

Kostenko has gone from the KHL’s Kunlun to the VHL. It is not the step you want to take at this stage of your career. This past week, he had no points and averaged 15 minutes per game.