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European Report: Injuries arrive early this year

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The KHL is starting to settle down in the second week of the season, and Eemeli Räsänen plays his second game.

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

Yegor Korshkov

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

Lokomotiv officially listed Yegor Korshkov as injured this past week, and an unofficial Russian report says he’ll be out at least until the end of September. He was being examined in Germany, which seems to be a thing this club does which is to use foreign sports medicine facilities for their players.

Eemeli Räsänen

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

Jokerit are leading their division, flying high, with wins in every game but one that they lost in OT, so everything is happy on Eemeli Räsänen’s team.

With the team on a road trip into Russia, he played in his second game on Friday against Vityaz (Miro Aaltonen’s team), and Jokerit handily stomped the speedy team with even more speed. Räsänen played just over 10 minutes and had two shots on goal in a 4-1 win. The slow and steady move into pro hockey seems to be working so far.

I had thought he’d get in one game this week, but I guessed wrong on the opponent. The coach guessed right, so I guess we know why he’s the coach.

Coming up, they play three home games against three East Conference teams, one not very good, and two very strong, so it’s possible Räsänen plays in the very next game, which is today, against Traktor. We’ll see if I’m right this time.

Pontus Holmberg

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

Växjö is finished in CHL play until early October. Pontus Holmberg has one assist in the first four games there. SHL regular season play starts today, but Växjö doesn’t play until Thursday. We can expect to see Holmberg as a regular in the lineup, but not quite as high up as he was in the CHL games.

Semyon Kizimov

RW - 18 years old - shoots left - no pro experience, may play junior another year

The VHL website has come to life, so I can report that Semyon Kizimov is no longer injured, and he has played in three of a possible four games — two wins, one loss. He’s playing a very regular 15+ minutes and 18-20 shifts, which puts him in the third line to almost second line range on his team. He has no points so far, and isn’t shooting at the rate that says high-end player, but you shouldn’t ever take three games too seriously.

He is one of only 17 players under the age of 19 who have played at least one VHL game. If he stays on Lada and doesn’t move back to junior, this is equivalent to Timothy Liljegren playing in the AHL last year, so you need to take that into account.

Lada was just contracted out of the KHL, in part because of financial reasons, so they should be one of the better VHL teams, and in early standings they’re near the top.

I feel like you all need to see Kizimov’s amazing official headshot for the VHL:

Nikolai Chebykin

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

His team has played three games, but Nikolai Chebykin has not. I do not know why. Vladimir Bobylyov, who is on the same team, has played three games with fourth line minutes. Chebykin is a much better player, and you would expect him to be playing top line.

Vladislav Kara

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

Vladislav Kara got his second assist on Friday as Ak Bars came from behind in the “Green Derby” and won it after trailing 4-1. The game is an annual battle with the neighbouring club, Salavat Yulaev, who also where green jerseys.

Kara assisted on Rob Klinkhammer’s goal to make it 4-2 and start the comeback. Fourth line comebacks are always fun.

Kara has played in six games, at around 10 minutes per game, and he’s shooting at the rate that says depth player. He’s got time to learn, though, and to compare him to Kizimov, who is playing a similar role and similar minutes, Kara is doing it on the KHL defending champions, and Kizimov is doing it on a good VHL team.


I’m not spending much time on some of the more marginal prospects like Bobylyov this year. Once you walk away from an AHL contract with the Marlies, I figure you’re not really on the radar of the Leafs anymore. That holds true for Martins Dzierkals. He’s doing okay so far with Dinamo Riga, playing fourth line minutes. He has one assist.

Technically, Miro Aaltonen is still on the Leafs reserve list, and he has six points in six games playing as the 1C and top unit power play for Vityaz. Always a good thing to keep in mind when looking at young guys playing depth roles. If they were future stars, they’d be doing what Aaltonen can do. As it stands, some of them might be future somethings, but it’s hard to find stars here. When Korshkov actually gets some games in, we’ll have a better idea on him.

That’s all for now, next week, we might know where Rasmus Sandin is spending the season, and Holmberg should have made his SHL season debut.