19y, ZSC Lions, NL, Switzerland
Rohrer was singled out for his development by coach Marc Crawford after the Bern game (6-1 win) in regard to his development and role as a secondary scoring threat. The problem in this game was really the word ‘threat’ as Rohrer should have put at least one of the two breakaways he had in the net.
Overall, I was impressed with his skating and intensity. His stick-handling was good but he was found wanting in the deciding situations on the ice where he needed to finish the play.
Zurich tops the league and has gone from an old star team under Rikard Grönborg, to a mixed team with good development under Crawford, even playing 17-year-old Daniil Ustinkov on defence, a player who will undoubtedly rise on draft boards over the season.
18y, EHC Kolten, NL, Switzerland
On Saturday, Reinbacher was sent back to Kloten for the rest of the season (most likely), a development path that shouldn’t be surprising as he had voiced his wish to finish school in Switzerland. It also clears some of the logjam that exists in Laval where it will be easier for someone like Logan Mailloux to get the first-pairing minutes he will need for his continued development.
Montreal will now have four players getting such first-pairing minutes that are important for their development: two will be with the Laval Rocket, and Reinbacher and Engström will be in Europe.
Datsyukian asked in a couple of previous posts about my league rankings; and for Europe I think the SHL is the best, as evidenced in the many Champions Hockey League wins over the last several years. However, behind the SHL I think that the NL has taken a big step up for a few different reasons; the money has always been good in Switzerland, and allowing a sixth foreign-licensed player in each team has only improved the quality of the game. While there is a big discrepancy between the bottom and the top teams, the competition is still very good and I think both Reinbacher and Rohrer will benefit from playing in the league.
There are two leagues tied for third place: the KHL and Liiga. The exodus of high-quality European and North American players from the KHL to other leagues has made the Russian professional league fall drastically in the rankings, and while the top teams are very good the worst teams would probably falter in the other three leagues. That’s why I have Liiga on par with the KHL, Tappara might play well against the top teams in Russia, but they would also walk through some of the worst teams, as would many of the Finnish teams, hence the tie.
In regard to a follow-up question, I think SHL is better by a margin when comparing it to NL, but not as much of a margin as it used to be.
19y, Rögle BK, SHL, Sweden
Engström had a game for the ages when he suited up against Frölunda over the weekend. It was a roller-coaster ride, with high highs, and low lows. Let’s start with the good, a great goal where Engström showed his understanding of the game and the high-quality instincts that he has, on top of a wicked wristshot.
However, he followed it up with a mistake so bad that you’d think he’d be in Junior hockey:
Max Friberg with all the moves, and Engström really should have taken the former St John's player out.— Patrik Bexell (@Zeb_Habs) September 30, 2023
Big mistake from Engström who really needs to be physical in this case. pic.twitter.com/wdLCL98hDl
Engström needed to take Max Friberg out of the equation here. While the goalie should have stopped the puck, Engström should never give the forward the opportunity to even have a chance to poke it in.
He is the second-most-used player for Rögle, I am not convinced Michael Kapla should be used over him on the power play, but as of now Kapla seems to be getting most starts on an anemic power play that is probably on the same level as the Canadiens’. Yes, that bad.
18y, Växjö Lakers, SHL, Sweden
Eriksson is quietly having a great season, not scoring-wise, but in not being scored upon. The 18-year-old averages 11 minutes of ice time in the SHL on the current championship team. He is building himself a really good foundation in the hockey world. The road is long and it will have difficulties, but the foundation is there.
20y, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL, Russia
Bogdan wore a letter for Nizhny last week. He added an assist to his resume and while I am impressed I have explained my reasoning for lower expectations for him higher up in the article as I think the KHL is a watered-down league at the moment.
While I am no huge fan of plus minus, I think when evaluating prospects one might want to check the goal differential. For all the offence Konyushkov is bringing, he is also “only” +3, having been on the receiving end for seven goals against.
Torpedo leads the division and he is playing heavy minutes which is encouraging. He is also at least three years away from the Canadiens and we will have to see how that goes. Weighing in a 78 kilos, there is no missing out on what he has to do before heading over to North America.
20y, KalPa, Liiga, Finland
Kapanen continues his heavy lifting for KalPa, and he got his first point of the season against JYP, a power-play assist after some good work along the boards and a good cross-ice pass:
I am still confused about his development, and I think it is a confidence thing. He scored in batches last year but the Ketchup effect never really happened. This year he hasn’t gotten any of the easy points and I think he overthinks a lot on the ice. It’s something he has been known to do throughout his development.
21y, HPK, Liiga, Finland
Nurmi started the season with the confidence of the coach but last week his time on ice fell from 20 minutes to 15 per game. HPK is at the bottom of the table and it is understandable that the coach is looking to find things that work.
18y, Mamonty Yugry, MHL, Russia
There were two impressive games from Volokhin last week: a 2-1 win in which he faced 33 shots, and a 3-2 overtime win during which he faced 22 shots. His 1.83 goals-against average and .926 save percentage is impressive. Splitting the goalkeeper duties could be very beneficial as you get both recovery time and video time to correct mistakes from the game before.
22y, Ryazan-VDV, VHL, Russia
Gordin has found his scoring touch in the VHL. He is almost at a point-per-game level after 10 games with nine points (5G, 4A).
20y, Khimik Voskresensk, VHL, Russia
Kostenko has only played five of Khimik’s 11 games this season. I’m not sure what’s going on as he isn’t listed as injured on the VHL site.