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European Report: the depth guys bring the excitement this week

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Another top prospect is injured, but one other player makes his debut.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This week, there’s one player going on IR and one coming off. The action is all carried by those late-round picks we usually don’t expect much from, but a couple of them are very, very interesting players.

Yegor Korshkov

RW - 22 years old - shoots left - fourth full KHL season

Still Injured.

Eemeli Räsänen

D - 19 years old - shoots right - first year in the KHL

Injured in his last game last week and is listed as week to week.

Jesper Lindgren

D - 21 years old - shoots right - second season in the Liiga

HPK, who haven’t been sure where to put Jesper Lindgren in his first few games, dropped him back to the seventh defender on Friday’s game, a shootout win. He played the least minutes, but still had three shots on goal.

On Saturday, he was listed as one of the third pair, and he had a great bounce back game with an assist on the game winning goal as HPK beat KalPa 5-1. He ended up with something more like second pairing minutes again. Always nice to come back strong from a down game.

Pontus Holmberg

LW - 19 years old - shoots left - first SHL season

The kid line that Växjö are running as their third line that is centred by Pontus Holmberg is really working well so far. What the team lacks overall is the ability to score goals; however, they keep outshooting their opponents.

On Tuesday, Växjö were limited to one goal in a loss to Skellefteå. The coach rolled out a top six and a bottom six, with each pair having an even share of ice time. With a little less opportunity, Holmberg’s line didn’t shoot much. The 2-1 score they finished with is starting to look like a typical Växjö result.

On Thursday, they faced Frölunda and outshot them modestly and squeaked out a 1-0 win, with Holmberg getting the primary assist on the power play goal. He played about the same co-third-line minutes as in the previous game, but his line were shooting more.

The SHL takes a little break early next week for the Champions Hockey League, which means you can watch Pontus Holmberg play. On Tuesday, October 9 at 12:30 Toronto time, you should be able to see the game, free and not geoblocked on the CHL site. They play again on October 16, so pencil that in too.

As of now, Holmberg’s two points is good enough for fifth highest scorer on his team, so, yeah, they really need to score more goals.

Semyon Kizimov

RW - 18 years old - shoots left - first season in the VHL

Lada, Semyon Kizimov’s team in the VHL, are rolling at the top of the standings. In last week’s action, he started out with low minutes in a win, and then surged right up to second line minutes in two more wins. He notched an assist in each of those games for his first points this season.

Sure, he has the benefit of a better team than most other VHL players, but at his age, to even be on the team is as impressive as Timothy Liljegren in the AHL. This was a great week for him.

Nikolai Chebykin

Winger - 21 years old - shoots left - third VHL season

Someone didn’t like missing the start of the season. Nikolai Chebykin, who hasn’t played yet before last week, came out hot and scored two goals in his first two games in the VHL. They started him out slow with just 15 shifts in his first game, and he was at 19 by the second, with top-line play, and a goal per game pace.

He’s got a new headshot this year, and he looks like an old man already:

Chebykin is like those guys in the AHL who look so, so close to NHL play. But the jump is hard to make, both to the KHL and the NHL. He is just 21, however, and the door is still open for him to crack the bottom of the KHL lineup and do what Vladislav Kara is already doing.

Vladislav Kara

Winger/C - 20 years old - shoots left - third pro season, first in the KHL

Vladislav Kara is holding pace, playing fourth-line minutes as Ak Bars have started to come out of the cup-winner’s coma. They’re winning a lot, but in close games, and Kara hasn’t added to his two assists yet. He seems to have his roster spot locked down for now, though.


Both of Par Lindholm’s linemates from last season are sitting at one point per game played after seven games in the SHL, so they are going on fine without him.

Meanwhile, Martins Dzierkals has gradually got more and more ice time for Dinamo Riga, but all that’s gone up are the goals against. They seem to be using him in a third-line checking role, while their top line is the big scoring line for them, and the only line putting up points.

Miro Aaltonen still leads his team in points.

That’s all for this week. By next week, maybe we’ll know where Rasmus Sandin will spend the year.