Four more National Hockey League prospects are planning on playing in Europe; two in Russia and two in Sweden. Also, an undrafted free agent gets a new contract after a successful first professional season. Finally, we take a look at the son of a two-time Stanley Cup champion.
Two Prospects Remain in Russia
Two potential future rivals in the NHL’s Metropolitan Division are going to faceoff in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season.
The rumors have been swirling around New York Rangers’ prospect Vitali Kravtsov for a few weeks now. On Sunday, HC Traktor officially announced that Kravtsov will be loaned to the KHL. The difference between Kravtsov and other prospects being loaned is that his is for the entire 2020-21 season, while most of the others are just until NHL training camps open in early December.
Kravtsov was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He played in 39 games for the Hartford Wolf Pack in the American Hockey League (AHL) this past season and scored six goals and 15 points. He would be able to return to North America, to either the Rangers or Wolf Pack, following the KHL season. Even of HC Traktor makes a deep playoff run, his season would end in late April.
The New Jersey Devils learned that defensive prospect Daniil Misyul will be waiting at least one more season before coming to North America. According to a recent report, Misyul has extended his KHL contract with Lokomotiv through the end of the 2022-23 season.
The 19-year-old defender was drafted by the Devils in the third round (70th overall) of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. He had two goals and three points in 35 games for Lokomotiv this past season. The Devils obviously knew Misyul would be a long-term project when they drafted him, so one more season in Russia’s top league should only help his development.
AIK Lands Two Youngsters
Allsvenskan is Sweden’s equivalent to the AHL and the first part of the 2020-21 season will be quite competitive with the recent influx of NHL prospects being loaned to the league. AIK Hockey, based in Solna, Sweden, was loaned two NHL draftees on Monday.
AIK officially announced that right wing Oliver Wahlstrom and defenseman Victor Söderström have been loaned to the team for the start of the 2020-21 season. Both players will return to the United States for the start of the NHL and AHL seasons.
Wahlstrom was drafted by the New York Islanders with the 11th overall pick of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft. He scored 10 goals and 22 points in 45 AHL games with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this past season. He also played in nine games with the Islanders but did not score any points.
Söderström was also selected 11th overall, by the Arizona Coyotes, a year after Wahlstrom. He is a mobile, two-way defenseman who has yet to play in North America. He spent the previous two seasons with Brynäs in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) where he scored nine goals and 23 points in 79 games. He had a goal and six points in the 2020 IIHF World Junior Championship, helping Sweden win the bronze medal.
Panthers Get Their Keeper
The Florida Panthers announced that they have re-signed defenseman Brady Keeper to a one-year, two-way contract. This means he can go between the NHL and AHL without having to clear waivers first.
The 24-year-old, right-handed blueliner originally signed with the Panthers as an undrafted free agent out of the University of Maine in 2019. He played one NHL game at the end of the 2018-19 season, becoming the first member of the Pimicikamak Cree Nation to skate in the league.
Keeper played 61 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds in the AHL this past season, scoring six goals and 18 points while racking up 108 penalty minutes. He appeared in one game of the Panthers’ Qualifying Round series against the Islanders.
Prospect of the Day – Mason Langenbrunner
We are going to stay on the blue line and take a look at a second-generation player. Langenbrunner, the son of two-time Stanley Cup winner Jamie, is a 6-foot-2, 165-pound, right-handed defenseman. NHL Central Scouting has him ranked 131st among North American skaters heading into October’s NHL Entry Draft. THW’s Larry Fisher has Langenbrunner at number 307 in his final draft rankings.
Related – 2020 NHL Draft Guide
Although he was born in Dallas while his father played for the Stars, Langenbrunner plays high school hockey in Minnesota, including his junior year at the powerhouse Eden Prairie High School.
He is regarded as one of the top defensemen in the state of Minnesota. He is an effective puck-mover who can contribute offensively. Langenbrunner had five goals and 19 points in 25 regular-season games this past season and added a pair of assists in six playoff contests. He is a good skater with fantastic vision, so he can get the puck up the ice quickly either by himself or with a quick outlet pass to a teammate.
While his offensive game has a big upside, Langenbrunner’s play without the puck needs some seasoning. Like most teenage defenders, he tends to be aggressive and gets himself out of position in his own end. His consistency will hopefully improve with more playing time as he advances in his career.
Our own Peter Barachchini feels that Langenbrunner has the potential to be a defenseman at the NHL level.
There’s no doubt that teams covet puck-moving defensemen. If Langenbrunner continues to progress with his development, then he could find himself on a team’s third pairing, with the potential of being a second pair defenseman. If things go well, Langenbrunner could be beneficial to a team’s power-play unit.
Langenbrunner is heading into his final season at Eden Prairie, so he will likely be a late-round pick. He will be a long-term project for anyone who drafts him, but he has the NHL pedigree that could be would waiting for. He has already committed to playing at Harvard University for the 2021-22 season, when, hopefully, the hockey world is back to normal.