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European report: Last stop before Paris

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The very last few games before the World Championships kept some prospects busy.

Sweden v Russia - Bronze Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior Championship
He signed a contract, he gets another picture this week.
Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

There’s not much going on with the Maple Leafs’ European prospects these days. The World Championships begins this coming week, and we’ll have news from there. But it seems like a good time to send the European Report on vacation. It can play golf for a few months.

But before then, there is some news to wrap up.

Carl Grundström

Carl Grundström is not playing—his stint with the national team was just to fill in before the NHLers came over. But he is signing his name. Now that he’s a fully fledged member of the Leafs organization, the decision will be where he plays next year.

He is being talked up already as possibly staying in Toronto next season, but it’s hard to tell if that’s just the same old thing you get every year where every prospect gets talked up or not. He can play in the SHL as well, and that may be how it goes.

Expect to see him at rookie camps this summer.

Yegor Korshkov

Yegor Korshkov is still at it. He was assigned to the Russian B team, who are taking part in a tournament for U25 players. The Russians are trampling all comers with a team of Korshkov’s entire Lokomitiv line plus Kirill Kaprizov who has been stacking up points.

When the B team is done their play here, they should be finished for the summer. Korshkov might appear in Toronto this summer, but the KHL gets going earlier than any other league, so it’s tough to do.

Jesper Lindgren and Pierre Engvall

Both Jesper Lindgren and Pierre Engvall are still with the Marlies on ATOs. It seems unlikely they will play much, with the Marlies moving into the second round now against the Syracuse Crunch, who bear more than a passing resemblance to the Tampa Bay Lightning of the latter half of the season. This is going to be a tough series.

Nikolai Chebykin

He seems to be officially finished his season and we’ll catch up with him next fall.

Persons of Interest

Kristian Vesalainen signed with his Finnish club for next year after an amazing performance at the U18 tournament. He’s dropped in the draft rankings and opinions are mixed on him, but he’s still got it against players his own age.

Lias Andersson won the SHL championship with HV71, a great accomplishment for a pre-draft age player. He routinely played in excess of 15 minutes per game. All that’s left for him now is the official confirmation on his switch to Frölunda for next season.

Vladimir Tkachyov has been taking Vadim Shipachyov’s spot as 1C on the Russian senior team as they get ready for the World Championships. It’s likely he’ll end up the third or fourth line centre, but it does seem as though he’s made the team. His contract expires tonight at midnight. Will he sign with an NHL team? Or is the lure of the Olympics too strong?

One thing to consider: his team, Ak Bars renewed the contracts of a lot of players this week, but he wasn’t one of them.

Calle Rosén has been the subject of so many rumours, he should feel like Ilya Kovalchuk right now! If he sticks with the Swedish team, we will likely have to wait until late may for a resolution to the signing soap opera.

You can see Tkachyov (#70 for Russia) and Rosén (#9 for Sweden) in this highlight video: