Welcome to another edition of the SHL Report! Before taking a quick hit approach as to the latest and greatest in Swedish hockey prospects, if you do not follow the SHL closely it is important to mention that the 2019 SHL Playoff brackets are now underway! Concluding the 52-game regular season on March 14th, we had a tie for first overall in the league between Färjestad and Lulea – Färjestad winning the tie-breaker off regulation victories (which are worth three points in the SHL).
Without breaking it down too in depth, the SHL playoffs are a bit of a different system where a series of mini “finals” are played from the start to determine the last teams to make it into the playoffs on each respective side of the bracket. Based off regular season standings, the team with the seventh most points plays the tenth, while eight plays nine. Two games are played (not a best of three) to determine the victor. This year we had Växjö (#7) and HV71 (#8) advance to secure the final two spots in the playoff bracket and thus begin the traditional quarter, semi, and finals best of seven series.
In essence, it is a competitive take on the idea of “wild card” spots where the wild card race does not simply come down to end of season points and then it is over, but rather a quick mini-series is played to determine who advances. What this means is that the ninth and tenth place teams still have a chance following regular season play – definitely makes you wonder how this would alter the dynamic over in North America!
Beginning on Friday, March 22nd, the breakdown is as follows:
- Färjestad (#1) vs. HV71 (#8)
- Lulea (#2) vs. Växjö (#7)
- Frölunda (#3) vs. Malmo (#6)
- Djurgårdens (#4) vs. Skelleftea (#5)
Now for the individual players – for this month’s report I intend to make note of some prospects covered prior given that their season has concluded and for many, the next step for their individual careers will involve crossing the pond, be it to earn a roster spot, or to walk up to the stage on draft day, in addition to highlight some new blood in the SHL report! Without further ado…
SHL Report Debuts
Samuel Fagemo, W, Frölunda (2019 [2018*] Draft Eligible)
In the CHL, it is a fairly common occurrence, and by that I mean typically a few select situations a year where an undrafted player goes on to have such a strong D+1 season that they rocket up their following year’s ranking (see the WHL’s Prince Albert Raiders own Brett Leason this year). While I do not believe Fagemo has etched himself into first round territory, there is no denying the success he has had in the SHL for first place Frölunda. Finishing sixth in team scoring for the Indians with 25 points in 42 games played, Fagemo averaged just under 14 minutes of ice per game and put 109 shots on net. Had he suited up for the other 10 games, the right-handed winger would likely see himself in the top three of team points scoring, while based off his current rates, also have led the team in shots and goals. Quite the accomplishment for an undrafted 19-year-old on the SHL’s top squad.
Fagemo’s calling card is his shot and offensive instincts, but in watching him play you notice positives about his decision-making (especially in traffic), and his ability to get to pucks first. His skating is solid, albeit sometimes structurally jerky, although this does not prevent him from being an offensive catalyst. Given his success this year and with current PNHLe predictions place him dead centre between first and second line potential, expect Fagemo to be snagged up early on day two of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft – perhaps if there is a suited enamored by his play this season accompanied with the knowledge he may reflect a bit more of a “sure thing” – as much as that can even be