The biggest news coming out of Europe from the core of New York Islanders prospects out there was the team’s third-round pick at the 2020 draft.
That last week flew by, it feels like it was just yesterday that I was trying to figure out how to pronounce ALexander Ljungkrantz’s name; the New York Islanders third-round pick from the 2020 draft. I guess that’s what happens when (a) there’s no hockey on this side of the Atlantic and (b) when the Islanders don’t do much.
Days just seem to bleed into one another.
But here we are a full week later. Most of our prospects were in action this week. The one to make the biggest impact this week was that third-round pick; Alexander Ljungkrantz. If you did hear, the kid scored a hat-trick.
Ruslan Iskhakov (TPS)
Season stats: 5GP, 2G, 3A, 5pts
The season has slowed down for TPS. Things will certainly pick up over the next week for them. With no games played, I think back on what he told me a few months ago about wanting to hit the NHL as soon as possible. With this type of production (point per game) and impact for his club, you’d have to imagine he makes the jump to the professional ranks in North American as early as 2021-22.
Otto Koivula (HIFK)
Season stats: 3GP, 1G, 1pt
Otto Koivula is back playing in Finland (on loan). He’s playing 14:50 on average every night for HIFK and winning 58.1% of his faceoffs. With only three games played he’s still got some catching up to do with his teammates.
Matias Rajaniemi (Pelicans)
Season stats: 5GP, 14:20ATOI
He’s playing the least for blueliners on his team (who’ve played more than one game). But he only turned 18 on September 11. He’s quite young to be playing against men. He’s clearly being sheltered in order to ease him into a larger role with the team down the line
Henrik Tikkanen (IPK)
Season stats: 4GP, 2.51GAA, 0.891SV%
He had a good outing earlier this week against RoKi putting up a 0.929SV%. From the video I’ve seen the big 20-year-olds looks calm in his crease and does a good job of moving laterally. It’s early so who knows how he develops but who doesn’t want to see a 6’8″ goalie in the crease?
Simon Holmstrom (Vita Hasten)
Season stats: 3GP
We forget that Holmstrom is only 19 years old. He turned 19 in May. He’s still very young. He may not have any points since joining Vita Hasten on loan, but I know they like his play and creativity with the puck.
Oliver Wahlstrom (AIK)
Season stats: 5GP, 2G, 2A, 4pts
I’ll hear more about Oliver Walhstrom‘s play (specifically away from the puck) shortly. I have questions in with AIKs coach Hakan Ahlund that’s I’ll be posting up on the website soon.
For now, his four points in five games are right where you’d expect an offensively gifted forward to be.
Robin Salo (Orebro)
Season stats: 8GP, 1G, 3A, 4pts, 24:00ATOI
He continues to be one of the most used defensemen in the SHL with 24:00 minutes of average ice time, on average. Only Erik Gustafsson (24:50 ATOI) and Marcus Hogstrom (24:21 ATOI) have more ice-time than Salo, both 31-year-old blueliners are veterans of the European hockey scene while Salo is only 22 and has only made the leap to Sweden near the end of the 2019-20 season.
Salo is an absolute workhorse for an Orebro side that is having a strong start to the SHL season with 16 points. Putting them fifth in the league. The highest they’ve ever finished in the SHL is sixth, and that was in 2014-15.
Alexander Ljungkrantz (Brynas J20)
Season stats: 11GP, 7G, 3A, 10pts
It was a big week for the Islanders third-round pick. He put up a hat-trick in a 6-4 win against Mora. That puts his season total at ten points through eleven games. With 27 points in 42 games last season, he’s on pace to crush his previous production.
It’s important to know that Brynas preaches defensive play as part of their playing philosophy. Production is important, but being a responsible hockey player is equally important. Sound familiar?
William Dufour (Voltigeur)
Season stats: 2GP, 3A, 3pts
Dufour had a good start to the season, unfortunately, with the second wave of COVID-19 in Québec the QMJHL season was put on hold until October 28.
Anatoly Golyshev (Avtomobilist)
Season stats: 15GP, 6G, 4A, 10pts
His production has dried up a bit but Avtomobilist (coached by former NHL coach Bill Peters) sit one point out of first place in the KHL’s Eastern Division and two points out of first place in the league. The 25-year-old plays big minutes and is trusted to bring some offense and grit to the team. Getting to play with Pavel Datsyuk doesn’t hurt either.