There was plenty of great hockey action over the weekend, in Europe, involving plenty of National Hockey League prospects performing well. The San Jose Sharks recently gave a qualifying offer to a young Swedish forward and it looks to be a very smart move. Despite have a young star goaltender at the NHL level, the Anaheim Ducks have another stud in the pipeline. Finally, the Vancouver Canucks are hoping they have found a gem in the last round of the most recent draft.
Dahlen On Fire in Sweden
It has been a bit of a bumpy road for the Sharks’ prospect Jonathan Dahlen. He was originally drafted by the Ottawa Senators in the second round (42nd overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. In 2017, his rights were traded to the Vancouver Canucks in the deal that brought Alexandre Burrows to Ottawa. The Sharks acquired Dahlen at the 2019 trade deadline for center Linus Karlsson.
After a disappointing 2018-19 season in the American Hockey League (AHL), the Sharks loaned Dahlen to Timra IK of HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden’s equivalent to the AHL. He scored 36 goals and 77 points, in 51 games, on his way to being named the league’s most valuable player for the second time in his career.
Dahlen is back with Timra for the start of this season and he as six goals and 12 points in just five games. Earlier in the month, the Sharks signed Dahlen to a qualifying offer, so he is still in their long term plans. They are hoping he can get the bad taste out of his mouth from his first trip to North America and give it another shot.
Dostal Stopping it All
The Ducks are set in net for the foreseeable future with John Gibson between the pipes. However, they seem to have another really good netminder coming up through the system.
Lukas Dostal was drafted by the Ducks in the third round (85th overall) of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old goalie is currently playing for Ilves in Finland’s top professional league, Liiga, and he had a lighthearted moment over the weekend.
Dostal dodged an opponent who lost his edge and went crashing into the cage. He then made it a little difficult for him to get back into the play.
While that moment is good for a little laugh, anyone who has played against Dostal over the last two seasons has had much to smile about. In 43 Liiga games during the 2019-20 season, he posted a .928 save percentage (SV%) and 1.78 goals-against average (GAA). He is proving those numbers were no fluke with a .951 SV% and 1.51 GAA through his first four starts of this season.
Persson Playing Well After Draft
The Canucks wrapped up the 2020 NHL Entry Draft by selecting Swedish defenseman Viktor Persson in the seventh round (191st overall). The six-foot-two, 192-pound had five goals and 18 points in 26 games for Brynäs IF in J20 Nationell, Sweden’s top junior league.
Persson was drafted by the Kamloops Blazers in the 2020 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft this past June. In early July, he had signed with the Blazers to play the 2020-21 season in the Western Hockey League (WHL). Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, those plans changed and Persson is back playing in Sweden.
If he was disappointed by not being about to start on time in North America, he sure isn’t showing it. Over the weekend, Persson scored his fourth goal of the season. He now has six points and a plus-eight rating through the first 11 games with Brynäs IF.
With all seventh-round picks, it is a longshot for Persson to make it to the NHL. However, he has the foundation as far as the modern defenseman goes. He has good size to go along with smooth skating and great vision on the ice. With so many NHL teams looking for defensemen who can chip in the offensive end, he has a chance to be a diamond in the rough with the right progression and development.
Until the NHL gets back to work, hopefully in December, Europe is the best place for hockey. We will keep you updated on all your favorite teams’ prospects as their seasons continue.