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European prospect report: Week nine means back to business

Grundström scores some more goals, and an unexpected prospect shows up on a highlight video.

Prince George Cougars v Vancouver Giants
This photo might be a clue to who finally got another KHL point.
Photo by Ben Nelms/Getty Images

Tournament breaks are nearly over for everyone and the regular league schedules are back on. The Champions Hockey League finished the round of 16 last Tuesday and Wednesday, so the quarterfinal teams are set. Those games are played on December 6 and December 16. If you’re interested in seeing Carl Grundström play for Frölunda, the single game streaming price for a CHL game is very low.

The quarterfinal matchup pits Frölunda against fellow SHL team Linköping HC. The other quarterfinal on their side of the draw is Fribourg-Gotteron of the Swiss league and Vitkovice Ridera Ostrava from the Czech league. Linköping is currently not doing very well in the SHL and is out of playoff territory, while Frölunda is in second place. The way looks open for a return to the CHL finals for the defending champion, but you do have to actually win the games first.

Sweden

SHL

Carl Grundström

Grundström spent last weekend scoring, scoring, scoring for Sweden’s U20 squad. He followed it up with the second CHL match against Eisbären Berlin by scoring, scoring, scoring. Okay, he only had the first two goals in their 4-1 win, but he had a net-front guy assist on the third. Highlights are here, if you want to see them beating up on a much lower quality team.

After that adventure, it was back to the real world. In the interim, Frölunda had signed Sean Bergenheim, who had failed to stick with an NHL team this year. He is a winger, and the expected result of his addition to the team was the demotion of some of the teenagers currently playing top roles.

For the first two games with Bergenheim in the lineup, it was Kristian Vesalainen, the 2017 draft-eligible winger who was dropped off the top line all the way to the status of extra while Grundström kept his spot on the second line.

Frölunda split the decisions, losing a close one to Djurgården and then winning seemingly easily over the much better and league leading Karlskrona. Grundström played his usual minutes in both games, had two SOG in each and no points.

He currently sits outside the top 50 in the SHL in points, but is 18th in goals—the classic profile of a net-front opportunistic scorer.

Allsvenskan

Jesper Lindgren

MODO played two games this past week, and Lindgren, just back from the U20 tournament, played behind the third line in the first one in a 2-0 win over Tingsryds AIF, a much better team. Lindgren had no points in that one.

They followed up with another win against a competitor in the struggling team category and pulled off a shootout win. Lindgren did not dress for that game. There is no indication of injury that I can find.

Pierre Engvall

Mora IK played twice this week, and in the first game Engvall had one assist. He has some ups and downs in points, as do all players, but he is a constant producer at just below league leader level when you step back and look at him from a distance. In the Saturday game, they got another win without Engvall getting any points.

After 18 games played of 52, Mora are only three points out of first place, sitting in fourth. It isn’t impossible to believe they might be fighting for promotion at the end of the season.

Russia

KHL

Vladimir Bobylyov

We have a highlight! Bobylyov, 47 in white with a fairly routine pass, but it was a point.

This came in Spartak’s second game in the week where he played fourth line minutes after sitting out the first game. Even better, they won the game.

In their third game of the week he had six shifts, one SOG and was in the box on a roughing call when the other team scored the winning goal. It was a coincidental minor so it wasn’t a power play, but when you’re on the bubble, as he obviously is, that’s not always a good thing.

Yegor Korshkov

Lokomotiv played two games this week, splitting the decisions. Their first game back from the break, where several of their players took part in various tournaments, they were flat, dull, boring and got beat very easily by Severstal, a much lower-ranked team.

Their second game was a rollicking, rock and roll matchup against Moscow CSKA, and felt exactly like a playoff game. They took advantage of every mistake last year’s Gagarin Cup finalist made, and got a win. The game started off with Moscow popping a goal into their own net to make it 1-1, and it was all Lokomotiv after that.

Korshkov was pointless in both games, and linemate Pavel Kraskovsky, co-author of a lot of Korshkov’s highlights, left the ice not putting weight on his leg. Hopefully for him and the team, the problem wasn’t as serious as it looked.

Lokomotiv is comfortably in a playoff spot just shy of halfway through the regular season. Korshkov is in the top 90 in points for forwards, tied with Pavel Datsyuk. Of course, Datsyuk has played 10 fewer games.

MHL

Nikolai Chebykin

After the tournament break, where Chebykin played an uneventful fourth line role in the U20 event, he showed up back in the junior league, the MHL, in a 3-2 overtime loss. He had one assist in that game.

Whether that means a permanent trip back down to junior hockey is unknown.