With the top European leagues on a break for the week, the Champions Hockey League played their round of 16 games, and several tournaments were held for various levels of National teams.
Age 20 or so is a transitional time for a hockey player. Depending on your birth date and your development curve, you might be a junior, a professional men’s player, a member of a men’s national team or the junior team, or sometimes a strange combination of all of those things.
For professional players at high levels, stepping back to junior hockey is easier, usually, than stepping up to the national men’s team.
Grundström stepped out first to Germany, where he and Frölunda played Eisbären Berlin in the first of their round of 16 matches. This round is a two-game home-and-home series, where if the teams split the wins in regulation, point differential determines the winner.
Frölunda took the opener 6-1, so they’re in very good shape heading into Tuesday’s return game. Grundström played in the match, had four shots on goal and no points. Some days, it just goes like that.
He returned to Gothenburg with his team, but he got to work, while most of the rest had time off. He suited up for the Swedish junior team in the Four Nations Cup, and he had quite a time.
Sweden went undefeated in the tournament, beating the Czech Republic and Finland in overtime, and thumping Russia 6-3 on the last day to take the tournament win. Grundström had two goals and one assist in that game.
He scored five goals and had two assists in the three games or the tournament, including the game winner in overtime against the Czechs. His linemates each had seven points as well, but he was the one scoring the goals. Expect to see those three reunited for the WJC in a few weeks.
Grundström’s linemates, Lias Andersson (ranked #12 by Future Considerations) and Elias Pettersson (ranked #14) are draft eligible for 2017, so they are very worth keeping our eyes on. Grundström turns 19 on December 1 this year.
Lindgren played in the Four Nations Cup as well, drawing into the first two games, but not the third against Russia. He had no points in the event.
Engvall played only one game this week since his multi-point game last Sunday. It was a 2-1 overtime win, and Engvall went pointless.
Engvall still sits in seventh in points in the league. The aforementioned Pettersson is second, and is of course, only 17 to Engvall’s 20.
Bobylyov had been on the long list for the Four Nations Cup, but he didn’t play. His KHL team was on a break, so he had the week off.
Korshkov was on the Russian men’s national team at the Karjala Cup in Finland this weekend. He played fourth line minutes and was intermittently his usual offensively exciting self. He failed to register a point in his three games, but Russia swept the tournament with three wins, so his first foray into senior team play went well enough. Stepping up when you’ve just turned 20 is a lot harder than stepping back out of pro hockey to junior.
Chebykin was on the Russian roster at the Four Nations Cup in Sweden. He played all three games on the fourth line, and didn’t get any points. The Russians did not score well in this tournament, but he is clearly not at the level of players like Korshkov linemate Alexander Polunin, one of the stars of the team.
Chebykin was on the long list for the CIBC CHL Canada-Russia series but hasn’t made the cut.