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- With a $5 M cap hit, Sergei Gonchar is one of the most expensive d-men in franchise history. The only ones higher are P.K. Subban ($9 M), Andrei Markov ($5.75 M), Mathieu Schneider ($5.75 M), and Roman Hamrlik ($5.5 M).
Last week, we took a closer look at the Habs' prospects that were playing in the CHL to see how they were playing early in the season. This week, the focus shifts overseas. Montreal presently has half a dozen prospects playing in various leagues in three different countries. Like the CHL group, there are some players off to strong starts while others will be hoping to pick up their play.
Note: Stats are as of games played through October 30.
F Daniel Pribyl, Sparta Praha, Extraliga: There was a fair bit of confusion early on this year when it came to Pribyl's situation. Early reports suggested that Pribyl, like quite a few junior aged players playing in top European leagues, was in a situation where due to the lockout, he wasn't getting to play. Later on it was revealed that he had a lower body injury that caused him to miss the beginning of the season. Pribyl was cleared to play a couple of weeks ago and has played regular minutes since then while providing good offensive production. He already has eclipsed his scoring totals from last season in the top division (two points in 17 games).
Season Stats: 5 GP, 1 goal, 3 assists, 4 points, 2 PIMS, +3 rating
F Andreas Engqvist, Atlant, KHL: Instead of playing for the Bulldogs this year, Engqvist opted to go overseas; the move has been a positive one for him so far. He is playing as Atlant's number one centre and sits second in team points (behind former NHL'er Nikolai Zherdev) and leads the club in faceoffs taken and won. Opting to go this route was risky (he could be playing important minutes with several future Habs in Hamilton) but it should force him to work on his weaknesses (especially skating) which is a good thing. So far, so good; I wouldn't write him off from the 2013-14 NHL roster discussion anytime soon.
Season Stats: 19 GP, 3 goals, 10 assists, 13 points, 12 PIMS, +1 rating, 40 shots, 17:00 ATOI, 176/356 faceoffs (49.4%)
F Maxim Trunev, Lokomotiv, KHL: Trunev got off to a decent start after transferring from his old club (Severstal). Over the past month though, he has done very little aside from skate around on the ice in a 3rd/4th line role or sit as a healthy scratch. Last week, he voiced some frustration about his ice time (that he doesn't understand why he isn't playing more) which doesn't help his cause, both for his team and for his chances of the Habs wanting to bring him over. I'm doubtful that Trunev intends to come to North America but the way he's going, he won't even have to think about it as his performance doesn't warrant much of a look from Montreal.
Season Stats: 14 GP, 2 goals, 1 assist, 3 points, 20 PIMS, -3 rating, 21 shots, 10:23 ATOI
F Sebastian Collberg, Frolunda, Elitserien: The good news is that Collberg managed to hold onto a roster spot even with Frolunda making some acquisitions to bolster their attack. The bad news is, he was far too often used as the 12th or 13th forward and could go periods between shifts, if he made it onto the ice at all even. Collberg managed to pick up a couple of points despite this and was often used on a defensive line which was beneficial for his all-around game. He recently was loaned to Orebro of the Allsvenskan which is one level below the Swedish Elite League but still above the junior level. It's early, but he already has picked up a couple of goals there in three games.
Season Stats: 16 GP, 0 goals, 2 assists, 2 points, 2 PIMS, +2 rating, 6:07 ATOI
D Magnus Nygren, Farjestad, Elitserien: After being drafted as an overager, Nygren's 2011-12 season left a lot to be desired. His offensive production was similar to the year before (in more than twice as many games) while his -10 rating was dead last on the team. This year has been much better for the 22 year old though. He is averaging over half a point per game and playing regular minutes despite having the reputation of being strictly a powerplay specialist. He has to be signed by June or the Habs lose his rights; if he can keep this up, he will make a very good case for a contract.
Season Stats: 18 GP, 4 goals, 6 assists, 10 points, 10 PIMS, +2 rating, 8 hits, 21:52 ATOI
F Erik Nystrom, MODO Jr., SuperElit: This winger picked up where he left off last season in Sweden's junior division. He plays in all situations in a top six role and already has a sizable lead for the team lead in assists. One small concern is that he isn't scoring all that frequently but considering his assist total, it's not a big deal right now. Nystrom has played with MODO at the Elitserien level, a team now captained by former Hab Niklas Sundstrom, in the past and likely will be one of the first players recalled in the event of an injury.
Season Stats: 14 GP, 2 goal, 12 assists, 14 points, 8 PIMS, +2 rating
- Habs' CHL Prospects Update posted by B. La Rose