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European Canadiens Prospect Report: Vinzenz Rohrer taking French lessons to prepare for future in Montreal

Credit: Shanna Martin/EOTP

Vinzenz Rohrer

19y, ZSC Lions, NL, Switzerland

It was a good weekend for the Austrian player as he recorded two points, a goal and an assist, as well as scoring twice in a shootout.

In typical fashion, Rohrer scored from in close, where his quick hands tipped in the puck through the five-hole. He followed this up with a nice assist in the second game of the week end as he started the counter-attack with a nice backhand pass that led to a goal.
He was the go to man in the shootout as he first scored in the opening round, and then got the opportunity to take a second shot later on.

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung had an in-depth interview and article with VInzenz Rohrer in which he stated that he wouldn’t make the NHL next season and expects to be with Zürich in the National League. That’s something that shouldn’t be a surprise as he has another contract year with the Lions, and therefore couldn’t be assigned to the AHL.

He is clearly looking toward the future as he is learning French, something that should come in handy for a time when he will be based in Montreal. He also mentions learning to play the piano, something that has been known to improve brain speed, concentration, and focus, which should benefit him in his hockey career as well. It’s interesting to see a young player focusing on different things outside the hockey arena to improve his skills.

His 17 points (7G, 10A) in 46 games are impressive, especially considering the fact that he plays for the team with the biggest budget in continental Europe. His move back to Europe in order to further his development has been a success, and the points are a nice bonus.

David Reinbacher

19y, EHC Kloten, NL, Switzerland

It is clear that Kloten will face Ajoie in the relegation series. With three games left, Kloten has 11 points up to Rapperswil-Jona Lakers. Reinbacher will therefore be in one of the toughest and most important games of his young career. It is difficult to explain how big a deal it is for a hockey club in Europe to stay up rather then be relegated, and those games hold some of the highest pressure that a player can face.

A lot has been said about Kloten’s season, but the fact is that Reinbacher has stood tall when the others around him have faltered, and I expect him to continue to do so under the circumstances that he will face. He is Kloten’s best player and it’s not close as you watch the team play. It would have been easy for him to drop with the rest of his team, but his character and pride don’t let him, and that is something that should really speak to Montreal fans all over the world.

Filip Eriksson

19y, Växjö Lakers, SHL / Nybro Vikings, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

I am not really sure what I can say about Filip Eriksson anymore, but we can all agree that it would have been interesting to see what he could have done in HockeyAllsvenskan over a full season. As of now, he is second among Juniors in scoring, four points behind the leader, a player who has played 27 more games. Eriksson is still over a point per game after 17 matches in Sweden’s second division, and the vision and maturity that he shows on the ice are really exceptional.

It is clear that he is too good for HockeyAllsvenskan. He could have been good enough to be a role player on a very deep Växjö team that currently challenges for the top spot in the SHL, but Växjö chose to have him play heavy minutes, in all situations, in a minor league. All Canadiens fans should applaud this because it will benefit Eriksson long-term. However, it is important to understand that the Växjö Lakers are a well-coached, well-run, and deep team, and while I fully expect Eriksson to stay with the SHL team for the full season next year, his points total won’t be the same, his pace won’t be the same, and neither will his role. My expectation for Eriksson is to be a fourth-line centre. If he can push for a third-line role that would be great, and anything above that would be exceptional and a real bonus.

Eriksson collected a goal and an assist over the two games last week. The assist came against second-ranked team AIK, and the goal against local rival Kalmar.

Oliver Kapanen

20y, KalPa, Liiga, Finland

Oliver Kapanen is seventh among KalPa’s players in scoring and one would think it is down to the slow start of the season after having spent the summer with the military in order to perform his national service. But there are also his spotty performances; he really does go hot and cold. However, when he is hot, he can put some pace on the puck, as was evident last week

27 points (12G, 15A) over 44 games is nothing that screams success in Liiga, but his overall defensive play and having had different linemates throughout the season means that he has never really settled. I am still unsure about where Kapanen should rank in the prospect pool and where he can top out for the Canadiens. I am sure that he should move to another team for next season, preferably the one in Laval.

Adam Engström

20y, Rögle BK, SHL, Sweden

While Engström played a good game on Thursday against Frölunda, it was the game against local rivals Malmö on Saturday that stood out for all the defensive reasons you’d want to see. Engström was secure and sound while playing mostly on his off-side as he was paired with former Canadien Brandon Davidson.
It was probably Engström’s best game of the season. While he has produced more offensively in other games, this was a complete game defensively, and he is first and foremost a defender and needs to improve his defensive acumen in order to improve his chances of making the NHL down the line.

Rögle is still in the fight to avoid the relegation series, but they are currently a point out of the the play-in, which could lead to the quarter-finals. The SHL is a very tight league, but with seven games left, Rögle’s defensive game should see them through.

Bogdan Konyushkov

21y, Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod, KHL, Russia

Konyushkov has one assist during the week, but he was also a -7 over the last four games. This is partly due to Torpedo’s rapid decline and fall through the division. The team is now ranked seventh in the standings and looks set to play SKA Saint Petersburg in the first playoff round.

Konyushkov has a more impressive 23:23 average time on ice over the 64 games throughout the season, compared to 20:44 last year. But I am not sure the youngster is ready for the playoffs having been used in an almost extreme role by coach Larionov. His point total is three better than last season, and his defensive game is still a work in progress. It will be interesting to see him in the playoffs against a team that started slow and is now ready to challenge for a cup.

Yevgeni Volokhin

18y, Mamonty Yugry, MHL, Russia

Volokhin leads the MHL in goals-against average with 1.57 and is tied for second with a .938 save percentage. I have only watched some highlights recently, but the big goalie reads the game well, stays upright, and looks generally sound. He does leave a bigger five-hole than a smaller goalie would, but I haven’t seen many opponents able to use it to their advantage.

The Mammoths looks to go deep into the Challenge Cup playoffs, and a lot of their fortune will rest on their goalkeeper’s shoulders.

Petteri Nurmi

21y, HPK, Liiga, Finland

HPK is second-to-last in Liiga and has a -58 goal differential. Petteri Nurmi’s -6 really stands out as something incredible for a team that is so bad.

Alexander Gordin

22y, Ryazan-VDV, VHL, Russia

Ryazan didn’t make the VHL playoffs and Gordin finishes the season with 40 points (18G, 22A) over 53 games.

Dmitri Kostenko

21y, VHL, Yugra Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia

Ugra is facing HC Tambov in the VHL playoffs. So far Kostenko has a goal, as Ugra tries to come back from a 2-0 deficit in the series.

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