Flyers European Update (10/28/01)

By Bill Meltzer

Updates on Flyers prospects playing in Europe.

Finland

Antero Niittymäki: Defending champion TPS Turku is off to their worst start in years. One of the bright spots, however, has been the early-season resurgence of goaltender Antero Niittymäki, who encountered a sophomore slump last season after a Rookie of the Year season in 1999-2000. Niittymäki has been splitting starts roughly in half with veteran Fredrik Norrena. In 8 starts to date, “Antsu” has a miniscule 1.69 goals against average and a .948 save percentage. However, those numbers have only been good enough for 4 wins (against 3 losses and a tie). Likewise, Norrena has played well (2.09 GAA, .926 save percentage) but has also suffered from lack of goal support, as his 2-5-2 record attests.

Marko Kauppinen : Defenseman Marko Kauppinen struggled terribly out of the gates for TPS, but has come on nicely over the last three weeks. In 17 games to date, he has 3 goals and 5 points. A few weeks ago, Kauppinen had a team-worst minus-five rating, but he now is the plus side of the ledger, with a plus-3.

Jussi Timonen : Playing for KalPa in Division One, Kimmo Timonen’s younger brother is playing his first season at the senior level. He has three points (all assists) in 12 games.

Sweden

David Printz: Hulking defenseman David Printz was set to play college hockey for Northern Michigan this season, but opted instead to accept an offer to play for AIK in Elitserien. Printz, who was originally trained in the AIK junior development program, has dressed in 14 of the 16 games AIK has played this season. In fairly limited ice-time, he has not registered a point and has a minus-4 rating. He does, however, have 31 penalty minutes. With the way games are called in Sweden (where hits that would be perfectly legal in North America are called penalties) and the wider surface, there is going to be some readjustment to Swedish hockey needed by the rookie; not to mention the challenge of stepping up to playing against a higher quality of talent than he has ever faced.

David Nyström : Nyström was expected to play a prominent role for SAIK in Northern Allsvenskan this season. He still may, but so far, he’s been a disappointment. To date, he has two points (one goal) in 12 games played.

Czech Republic

Roman Malek : Malek is still recovering from a broken jaw. In the meantime, Lukas Hronek is filling in as the starting goaltender for Slavia Prague. Malek has played in four games, with a 2.43 GAA and .916 save percentage.

Pavel Kasparik: Kasparik has been very streaky in the early going of the Czech Extraleague season. He’s gotten hot for several games at a time and then disappeared for several games. The overall results, though, have been good. He already has 9 goals (setting a new season-best total in his young career) and 11 points in 19 games.

Radovan Somik: Somik hasn’t been scoring much lately for Zlin, but he has continued to contribute in the assist department. He has 12 points (4 goals) in 15 games.

Milan Kopecky: Kopecky, playing for Beroun in Division One, recently scored his first goal of the season; his lone point in 10 games.

Russia

Alexander Drozdetsky : Alexander Drozdetsky plays regularly for CSKA Moscow and has shown further development from where he left off last season (when he was stuck playing on a terrible SKA St. Petersburg club). Drozdetsky recently tallied his 5th goal of the season; a pretty good total for a young player at this stage of the season.

Konstantin Rudenko: Having finally established himself as a regular in the RSL last season, Rudenko has not played this season due to a shoulder injury. He was recently in Philadelphia to be examined by the Flyers medical staff and reportedly may need surgery to correct the problem.

Germany

Dennis Seidenberg : Seidenberg has been shaping up nicely as a prospect. He has 8 points (2 goals) in 18 games for Mannheim but more importantly has been strong defensively (despite a deceptive -2 rating).