Prospects News & Rumors: NHL Loans, Sobolev, Berdin & More

The New Jersey Devils & Washington Capitals loaned a pair of Swedish prospects to HockeyAllsvenskan. A Winnipeg Jets goaltending prospect has his KHL rights traded and the Windsor Spitfires signed one of their CHL Import Draft selections.

Devils, Capitals Loan Prospects To Europe

The New Jersey Devils have loaned Swedish prospect Fabian Zetterlund to HC Vita Hästen who play in the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden. The 21-year-old was drafted 63rd overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. This past season was Zetterlund’s first professional season in North America. He played 46 games for the Binghamton Devils in the American Hockey League (AHL), amassing 8 goals and 11 assists for 19 points.

Fabian Zetterlund at the New Jersey Devils 2017 Development Camp. (Photo Credit: New Jersey Devils/Patrick Dodson)

A return to Sweden should be good for his development as he looks to take a step forward during the 2020-21 season. Zetterlund will have his eyes focused on making his NHL debut this season with the Devils. He is expected to return to the team when training camp opens in December.

The Washington Capitals also loaned out their own Swedish prospect to the HockeyAllsvenskan. Axel Jonsson-Fjallby will spend the beginning of the 2020-21 season with Vastervik IK. Originally drafted 147th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, he spent his first full season in North America last season playing 61 games for the Hershey Bears in the AHL.

The Stockholm-native posted 12 goals and 11 assists for 23 points during 2019-20. He is also expected to return to the team when training camp opens in December.

Jets’ Berdin Swaps KHL Teams

Winnipeg Jets prospect and the Manitoba Moose’ starting netminder looks to be heading to the KHL for the 2020-21 season. HC Sochi have traded Berdin’s KHL rights to SKA Saint Petersburg for the upcoming season. In return Sochi received the rights to Swedish forward Oskar Steen. SKA also announced that a contract is likely to be signed shortly and that Berdin would remain with the team for the entire 2020-21 season instead of returning to Manitoba.

Originally drafted 157th overall in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Berdin managed an impressive season as the starting netminder for the Moose in 2019-20. He played in 42 games for the club, posting a 2.89 goals against average and a .910 save percentage. It was his second season with the Moose, after splitting time between the AHL and ECHL during the 2018-19 season.

Spitfires Sign Russian Import Selection

The Windsor Spitfires announced that they have signed one of their 2020 Import Draft selections to an Ontario Hockey League standard player agreement. Daniil Sobolev was drafted 40th overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft. The Russian-born defenseman spent the 2019-20 season playing in Russia’s Junior Hockey League (MHL) for MHK Spartak Moskva where he amassed 2 goals and 6 points in 48 games played.

Spitfires general manager Bill Bowler had this to say on the signing in a press release by the team.

“We were excited when we drafted Daniil and now are ecstatic to announce his signing. He will be an immediate fan favourite with his two way play. He is an NHL prospect and with that type of ability, is an addition that bolsters our roster immediately”

Sobolev will join up with the team with hope that the start of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season can take place in December.

Prospect of the Day – Daniil Gushchin

Keeping the trend of Russian prospects heading to the OHL, we take a look at Niagara IceDogs import selection Daniil Gushchin. NHL Central Scouting has Gushchin ranked 41st among North American skaters. In his final rankings, THW’s Larry Fisher ranked him 56th among all players.

Gushchin spent the 2019-20 season playing in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Muskegon Lumberjacks. It was his second season in the USHL and he was able to amass 22 goals and 47 points in 42 games played; he led the entire team in scoring. He was selected fourth overall in the 2020 CHL Import Draft by the Niagara IceDogs and has committed to the team for the 2020-21 season.

Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide

It’s no surprise the the first thing you notice about Gushchin is his speed. Players at his size, 5-foot-8, generally aren’t ranked as high as he is without game-breaking speed and the ability to make skilled plays without slowing down. He has an exceptional shot, which coupled with a high hockey IQ makes him a threat to score whenever he’s on the ice. He was the go-to option on offense for Muskegon all season.

Daniil Gushchin Team Russia
Daniil Gushchin from Team Russia (Russia Hockey/FHR.RU)

THW’s own Matthew Zator had this to say about Gushchin’s offensive abilities.

Gushchin has displayed the ability to use his speed to move in and out of scoring areas very quickly and get into a position to bury the puck into the net. He plays the game at a very high pace using his hockey IQ, elite wrist shot, and quick hands to score goals in a variety of ways.. He sees the ice well and because his shot is often accurate, he can fool defenders and the goaltender with a fake shot and pass to a teammate for a scoring chance or goal.

Gushchin’s skill-set would normally have him locked in as a first-round talent. However, due to his size he will likely slide come draft day in October. He’ll have to work on his defensive game and develop some consistency on both ends of the ice. He’ll likely be an effective middle-six player in the NHL and could be a nice depth piece for a team’s power play.


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