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European Report: Pontus Holmberg gets his first goal

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Everyone else is keeping pace with their performance so far.

Växjö fans, showing their love of the blue and orange.
BILDBYRÅN STR

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

Jokerit only had two games this week on the road, and Eemeli Räsänen played in the first one in Riga, Latvia, but sat out the second one in Bratislava.

The Dinamo Riga game was a close one, taken by Riga in OT, and Räsänen played very little, with only 6:50 in minutes and eight shifts. To me, he’s looked a little less sure of himself as the games have started to come one after the other, and a step back and a regroup won’t hurt at all.

Next week is a three-game homestand with a mixed bag of teams coming to visit, so Räsänen’s minutes might be very dependant on game conditions. Jokerit is leading their division, and I assume they’d like to keep it that way.

Speaking of Riga, Martins Dzierkals has been playing low fourth line minutes, has a few assists, a lot more penalties, something that dogged him in the ECHL, and seems to have a roster spot locked down for now.

Jesper Lindgren

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

Jesper Lindgren turned a third pairing start in his first Liiga game into a lot of minutes. He’s been listed as the second pair ever since, and has played over 20 minutes a game.

What weighed against Lindgren last year, was his really bad Corsi results on a bad Corsi team. So even relative to his teammates, his five-on-five play was not good. So far this year, the team is doing very well in six total games played, and Lindgren is very low on the list. He’s over 50 per cent, but, relative to his team, that’s bad. It’s early days, but if this doesn’t improve, then Lindgren is a power play and offensive threat and not much else.

Pontus Holmberg

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

Heading into Thursday’s game, Växjö had managed to score only one goal in their first two games of the regular season. They needed a breakout win and they got it against Brynäs. They took the game 4-1 with Pontus Holmberg still playing on the kid line with Dominik Bokk and Jonas Röndbjerg as the third line.

The lines are still being rolled fairly evenly, so the third line is kind of a co-second line. In this game, Holmberg got his first goal on a setup from Bokk, and the line as a whole is starting to shoot at a better pace.

On Saturday, the Holmberg line played a little less in a tough loss and failed to get any points. As the season rolls on, we’ll see if these guys can keep this spot in the lineup.

Semyon Kizimov

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

Semyon Kizimov is still ticking along for Lada in the VHL, playing 18-20 shifts per game and third line minutes. He’s still looking for his first point, and I’m still waiting to see if he’ll start shooting more.

Nikolai Chebykin

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

Still hasn’t played this season.

Vladislav Kara

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

Vladislav Kara continues to play every game for Ak Bars in the KHL. His ice time is fluctuating a lot game to game, but is trending up, with 16, 17 and 19 shifts in his last three games. That looks like he’s locked down the fourth line spot, and like that fourth line is sometimes used more like a third line.

Much like Kizimov, two players who are doing the same job, just one level apart in league, he’s not shooting much or getting a lot of points. But if he’s succeeding, and he sure seems to be, at being a big (ish)-bodied depth player who can skate with a fast team, that is no bad thing to be in the Leafs prospect pool.


Vladimir Bobylyov reappeared on his VHL roster after vanishing, but so far he has one assist in seven games, so I’m not sure he’s going to stick with this team.

By this time next week, we’ll know for sure if we’re adding Rasmus Sandin to this weekly look at European prospects, but until then, that’s all the news.