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European prospect report: Week two

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The Leafs prospects were all in action this week. One moved up to face harder challenges while one moved down the depth chart.

Jesper Lindgren when he was drafted.  Will he ever wear a Leafs' jersey for real?
Jesper Lindgren when he was drafted. Will he ever wear a Leafs' jersey for real?
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images



Carl Grundström

Frölunda did not get off to a roaring start in their regular season this week after dropping their opening game last weekend. In that game, you may remember, Grundström played 14 minutes.

They played their second game on Friday, not an ideal situation to have such a long layoff, and they were embarrassed 7-2 by Brynäs. Grundström played 10 minutes and registered two hits and nothing else.

Saturday in the second of a back-to-back home and home (a schedule common in the small country of Sweden), they played a much better game and beat Brynäs 3-1. Grundström, however, only played seven and a half minutes and registered one shot on goal.

The SHL is a big step up from the lower level teams they were playing in the opening round of the Champions Hockey League. Grundström is struggling to be effective and so is his whole team. They've lost a host of top players in all positions, they have suspect goaltending when their starter isn't in net, and their defence is poor.

This is the source of an opportunity for Grundström, but so far it is top 2017 draft prospect Kristian Vesalainen who is playing on the top line at 17 and making waves, not Grundström.

And it's been three games, so we won't read much into any of this.


Jesper Lindgren

MODO played two games this week and lost them both. Lindgren had an assist on one goal, and while he's playing bottom pairing minutes on a team running seven defenders a lot of the time, he has four points in four games.

Pierre Engvall

Mora IK also played two games this week and lost them both. Engvall had an assist on the only goal in the first game, and a hat trick four goals in the second game, a 7-5 loss. (Highlights of the game here.) While his team has won only one of four games, Engvall is leading the Allsvenskan in points right now. Much more meaningful than that, however, is that he's shooting at a high rate.

And it's been four games on a terrible team, so we won't read much into any of this until an SHL team comes knocking and wants to take him on loan.



Vladimir Bobylyov

Spartak only played one game this week with one more on tap later today. That game was a 6-3 blowout given up to Lokomotiv, and more on it in a bit, but Bobylyov played fourth line minutes and didn't do much.

Yegor Korshkov

In the above mentioned tilt against Spartak, Korshkov had a hat trick of assists and his line, the third usually, continues to be offensively exciting.

In their second win in a row against Sochi, he picked up a secondary assist on the game winning goal. Some secondary assists are just a touch of the puck, but some are like this:

That's Korshkov, #96, doing the work to keep the play alive, and #99 Polunin who eventually tips it to Kravskovsky for the goal. This line would be the top line on any AHL team right now. They'd all make quite a few NHL teams as depth players. They all will get better.


Nikolai Chebykin

Chebykin played a game for his junior team last Monday and got an assist in a loss, giving him six goals and one assist in seven games played.

The previous Friday he'd played one game for the VHL team, and then he was called up again last Friday and played another. He had a goal in each game, and played about 13 minutes per game.

The MHL is the Russian junior league, and there is an upper age limit on it. The VHL is more like a second division or feeder league to the KHL and has some limits on veteran players. Chebykin, whose Russian rights are owned by Dynamo Moscow, the former team of Leo Komarov, is playing within that club's system on all of these teams.

The goal for his development is obviously to see if he's KHL-ready, but he seems to have aged out of junior already at 19. This is two games in the VHL, and anything can happen, but the VHL team is playing well in the league so far, so this is an excellent opportunity for him if they keep him up with the senior club.