Welcome to the first in a series of monthly check-ins on notable prospect performances in the SHL. Many argue that the SHL is the third best league in the world behind the NHL and AHL.
Giving this idea some credence is the relative smooth transition we’ve seen recently of players coming over to the NHL and making immediate impacts. Recent examples include John Klingberg, Carl Soderberg and Mattias Janmark, just to name a few. Astute poolies who keep an eye on the goings-on in Sweden can find some hidden gems to add to their roster, often at a fairly low cost.
Pegged as a first-round talent in his draft year, the combination of a disappointing season and concerns over his skating caused him to slide all the way to the fifth round where the Flyers snatched him up with the 138th overall pick. It’s beginning to look like an absolute steal. He’s one of my favourite under the radar prospects, placing him 45th in my prospect rankings in this year’s Fantasy Prospect Report (Buy the latest Fantasy Prospects Report here). Since being drafted, all Lindblom has done is produce. In 14 career WJC games, Lindblom has registered 15 points, and was the leading U-20 scorer in the league in 2015-16. At the end of last year he was signed to a PTO and skated in eight games, producing seven points. He’s kept things rolling to begin 2016-17 and is tied for the Brynas team lead in scoring, and 12th league-wide, with eight points in as many games.
The Buffalo second rounder is starting to find things a bit easier in his third SHL season. In just eight games so far Asplund has registered five points, tied for third on the team, and is well on his way to surpassing last year’s total of 12. He’s earned a larger role in his third year with Farjestad to the tune of an extra two and a half minutes per game over his 2015-16 average, currently sitting at just over 16 minutes per game.
A top prospect for the upcoming 2017 draft, Vesalainen is off to an excellent start in his second SHL season. Through 10 games skating with Frolunda, he has found the back of the net once and dished out four helpers, making him the third highest scoring forward on the team. All the more impressive considering that he sees the second lowest TOI among all forwards at just under 12 minutes per game. At 6’3”, the Finn has the size that all teams crave in a winger and is equally capable of ripping home a goal or setting up a teammate with a beautiful pass. He should hear his name called very early on June 23rd.
In other news:
After signing a two-year deal with Florida, and subsequently being cut from training camp earlier this month, Linus Hultstrom has been loaned back to Djurgardens. It’s a bit of a strange move given that playing in the AHL could have helped Hultstrom get used to North American hockey, but Panthers management felt it was more important for the Swede to play big minutes. This isn’t necessarily the last we’ve seen of Hultstrom.
#FlaPanthers have loaned Linus Hultstrom back to the SHL to get him the most ice time possible…word is he can be recalled…— Cats On The Prowl (@Cats0ntheprowl) October 12, 2016
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