Ramblings: European Youngsters, Kostin, and Quinn Hughes

by Cam Robinson on September 26, 2019

 

While we anxiously await the conclusion of the NHL preseason, the rest of the world has been playing meaningful games for some time. There have been more than a few youngsters who have been witnessing early success as well. 

 

Nils Lundkvist

The Rangers first-rounder has been making statements all over the place early on this season. At the Champions Hockey League tournament, the 19-year-old currently sits tied for the team-lead in points with four in as many games. He also leads the team in shots on goal (11) while skating 20:13 per game on the top pairing and top power-play unit. 

 

Back in club play, things have been going equally well for the Lulea defender. While the shot generation is down, the smooth-skater has posted four assists in five contests while skating over 22 minutes a game. 

 

Lundkvist loves to activate into the rush – often providing his squad with numbers as a result. Here’s a look at his helper from September 26. Notice the puck control while his head remains up assessing the play. This kid’s head is always up. 

 

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The Rangers system is ABSOLUTELY stacked these days and the backend is no exception. However, on the right side, I won’t be the least bit surprised to see Lundkvist elevate above Adam Fox, and Anthony DeAngelo to become a quality second-pairing, offensive contributor. 

 

He may not have the cache of a Fox, or K’Andre Miller, but his talent is very real and should translate nicely. Esepcailly with the serious workload he’s experiencing in a top European men’s league. 

 

Expect Lunkvist to cross the pond and push for an NHL job next fall. 

 

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Alexander Holtz

The draft-eligible winger has been out to a quick start for Djurgardens. Two goals and three points in four games thus far lead all U23 skaters early on this year.  The cherry on top is that he’s been seeing some time in the top six despite being just 17-years-old. 

 

Holtz should be right near the top of the draft board for keeper drafts next Fall. He’s one of the most gifted finishers to come around the last five years, but he’s not one-dimensional. His hands, awareness and speed-driven game will facilitate points in all varieties. 

 

But man, this kid can absolutely rip it. 

 

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Tim Stützle

Stuützle has been dynamite for Adler Mannheim early on. He has two goals and four points in four CHL tournaments games and has been showcasing the silky hands and blazing speed with regularity during that event and in league play. 

 

Watch below as the 17-year-old receives the pass on his outside edge, then kicks it up to his blade in a smooth motion. Once he has control he outwaits his opponent before sliding a crisp little cross-crease pass for a primary assist on the power play. 

 

I love the nuances of a play like that. 

 

 

Another likely top-10 pick next June, Stützle is pushing hard to lock that in. He sits with five points in five DEL games thus far while featuring prominently on the team’s top line and top power-play unit. 

 

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In NHL preseason action, no youngster has improved their position in an organization more than Klim Kostin. His three goals and six points in four games are amongst the league leaders so far. But him doing so – while putting nearly three shots on net per contest, in just over 14 minutes of action a night is very impressive. Frankly, his appearing to have accelerated his development may have been a major factor in the team shipping Dominik Bokk to the Hurricanes in exchange for Justin Faulk. 

 

Bokk, by the way, has failed to record a point this season for Rogle of the SHL in five games this year. This despite seeing consistent top-six ice time alongside the team’s captain and Canucks’ prospect Nils Höglander. 

 

As for Kostin, his upside has always been tantalizing – especially in multicat leagues. He’s a big man with power and skill. He’s displayed dominance against his age-group, but the less than eye-popping AHL number as a teenager have soured some. 

 

Time to get back on the wagon. 

 

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Oh, by the way, Quinn Hughes sure appears to be locking up that top PP job in Vancouver. The rookie defender has skated 3:33 on the man-advantage through two preseason contests and looks deadly. His brand of shifty, puck-possession hockey is going to be very well received amongst Elias Pettersson and Brock Boeser.

 

Those three should propel Vancouver’s power play into the top half for 2019-20.

 

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Follow me on Twitter @Hockey_Robinson