With the unknown status of the NHL, fans of the Montreal Canadiens will have the chance to take a closer look at some of the teams current prospects, since there may not be much else in terms of hockey. Starting tomorrow the first of September, the European leagues will officially begin a new season, so here’s a preview of what fans can expect from the Hab’s Euro prospects.
Russian Super League (RSL)
Alexander Perezhogin- RW It’s still unknown if Alexander Perezhogin will end up back in the RSL, but he is listed on the official roster of his former team Omsk, who recently won the Russian Super League Championship. We’ll have to wait and see what happens with his future, but Omsk will open their season on the 1st of September against AK Bars.
Konstantin Korneev- D Korneev’s team AK Bars will open the season on the 1st, against the RSL champs Omsk. In three preseason games this year, Korneev was held pointless. It will be tough for the recently turned 20 year old to get quality ice time with the defensive depth of AK Bars, but he did dress in almost every single game last season, although with limited ice time.
Alexei Yemelin- D Yemelin may dress for some games in the RSL, or he could end up back in the Upper league, where he played last season as a 17 year old. He turned 18 right before the NHL draft this summer, and has already appeared in some preseason games. Lada is a team with a very young defensive group, with only one defensmen over 25 years of age from an early look at the possible roster.
Mikhail Grabovski- LW Grabovski will enter his second season in the RSL, after an impressive rookie season where he was sixth on the team in assists and seventh on the team in scoring, despite playing less games then all of those above him and being only 19 years old. Grabovski will wear #84 for Nizhnekamsk Neftekhimik, as they also open their season on the 1st of September. Grabovski is a teammate of Canadiens 7th round pick in 1998, Andrei Kruchinin, who is coming off his best season ever in the RSL.
Oskari Korpikari- D Korpikari will return to Karpat to try and regain his full time roster spot in the mens league, as he lost his spot with the team last year after a shoulder injury at the U-20 tournament. The recently turned 20 year old, has played in the mens league for parts of two seasons, which is an impressive amount of experience for his age. He played in 35 of the 56 games Karpat played last season, and hopefully this season will see even more time, he has appeared in preseason games for Karpat along with Habs ’97 pick Ikka Mikkola. Karpat opens their season on the 7th of September.
Christopher Heino-Lindberg- G Heino-Lindberg has been recalled back to his team Hammerby, after being loaned to Valentuna last season, the worst team in the league. Some nights Lindberg would face up to 60 shots, which had to be especially since the team couldn’t buy a win with only three wins the entire year. Now that Heino-Lindberg is back with Hammerby, who are one of the top teams in the tier-2 and a team that has the chance to move up to the SEL one day. Hammerby opens their season on the 19th of September.
Johan Eneqvist- C/LW Eneqvist will likely be a teammate of Heino-Lindberg, as he signed on with Hammerby last season and has played in preseason games this year but hasn’t signed with the team as of yet. He was one of the top scorers on the team throughout the year, so I’d expect him to be signed shortly, but we’ll have to wait and see where he ends up. Look for another solid season from Eneqvist, who hopefully is able to translate the offensive success he had back in ’00-’01 in the Swedish junior league where he put up almost a goal a game.
Tomas Linhart- D Linhart spent last season playing for three different teams in the Czech league and the National Junior team as well. The recently turned 20 year old spent most of the season playing in the junior league, but with nine points in twenty four games, he was able to get called up to the 1st league and Extraliga as well. Hopefully this season he plays more in the 1st league, which is similar to juniors and gets more then the six games he played in the Extraliga, the top league.