Lightning European Report

By Pete Choquette

Czech Republic

 

D Marek PosmykGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 HC Zlin 458614137(-3)
2001-2002 HC Zlin (Playoffs)600010(-1)
2002-2003 HC Slavia Praha90222(+2)

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 5GP, 0G-1A-1P, 0PIM, (+2)
You would expect a team like Slavia with three ex-NHLers like Beranek, Kucera, and Posmyk to be higher than seventh on the table in the Czech League. Posmyk is having another solid, if unspectacular season, although his point production and penalty minutes are noticeably down to this point. He’s not doing anything to necessarily hurt his reputation, but he’s also not making much of a case to Lightning management that he’s ready for the NHL.

W Ivan RachunekGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 HC Zlin4891120141(-3)
2001-2002 HC Zlin (Playoffs)1134727(+1)
2002-2003 HC Zlin81340NA

Stock: Dropping Slightly
Since Last Update: 3GP, 0G-0A-0P, 0PIM, NA
Rachunek has missed four games with injuries and his club, Zlin, has plummeted down the table to thirteenth out of fourteen teams in the process. Before he got hurt, it was consistency that was lacking in Rachunek’s game as all of his points came in garbage time during two early season Zlin blowouts. Ivan’s brother, Ottawa holdout defenseman Karel Rachunek, is currently playing for Yaroslavl of the Russian Superleague with Lightning prospect Anton But.

Finland

C/W Karri AkkanenGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Ilves (Jr.A)50114E
2002-2003 Ilves (Jr.A)614557(+4)

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 3GP, 1G-3A-4P, 41PIM, NA
For Akkanen, staying out of the penalty box seems the only real challenge. A typical Kari Akkanen Ilves Jr. A game consists of an assist or two in the first period followed by a string of penalties which lead Akkanen to spend the rest of the contest lounging in the sin bin. Akkanen is currently serving a suspension for an incident in his last game (10/9 vs. Assat A) when he was tossed from the game in the second period. It’s clear Akkanen plays an aggressive North American style of game, but much like fellow Lightning prospect Evgeni Artukhin, who had trouble finding a Superleague team in Russia because of his zeal for the physical game, Akkanen may find it difficult to break into the SM-Liiga if he doesn’t settle down.

LW Erikki RajamakiGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 HPK561271975(+9)
2001-2002 HPK (Playoffs)81232(+1)
2002-2003 HPK1121324(-4)

Stock: Dropping Slightly
Since Last Update: 8GP, 2G-1A-3P, 14PIM, (-3)
Rajamaki currently plays a physical checking role on HPK’s third line. Moreso than his teammate Eero Somervuori, Rajamaki has been hurt by the loss of veteran teammates like former Lightning center Vladimir Vujtek from the HPK lineup of a season ago, as HPK in many ways has been reduced from an offensive juggernaut to a one-line team. Hopefully, things are turning around for Rajamaki now though, because after not pointing in his first nine contests he posted a 2G 1A effort on 10/15, a 9-3 HPK blowout of JYP in which he earned third star of the game honors.

RW Eero SomervuoriGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 HPK5625234834(+25)
2001-2002 HPK (Playoffs)82246(+6)
2002 Finland (Ceska Cup)31010(-1)
2002-2003 HPK1163914(+3)

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 8GP, 3G-3A-6P, 12PIM, (+2)
Somervuori has been adversely effected by the suspension of his center, Thrashers prospect Tommi Santala, who missed five games for a high sticking incident. This, coupled with the fact HPK has been reduced to a one-line team by the loss of talented foreign players like Vujtek and Zdenik Zedved, helps to explain why Somervuori and HPK have slowed after a quick start. It has becoming increasingly evident that the youthful HPK’s playoff hopes will ride on Somervuori, who played on the first line for the national team in the early September Ceska Poijstovna Cup tournament. When he scores, as he did by tallying 2G in a 4-3 win over Ilves on 10/3 in which he was named the game’s first star, HPK wins. To put it another way, there is something very Lightning-esque about HPK, and something Lecavalier-esque about Somervuori’s role on HPK. With a 1G 1A effort in the 10/17 5-3 win over SaiPa, Somervuori has helped HPK climb back within one point of the eighth spot in the SM-Liiga.

Germany

D Sascha GocGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Alb/Spr (AHL)463141742(-4)
2001-2002 NJ/TB (NHL)90000(-2)
2002-2003 Adler Mannheim1311210(+7)

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 6GP, 0G-1A-1P, 6PIM, NA
There may not be a more consistent defensive player in Europe right now for the Lightning than Sascha Goc. He is currently tied for the Mannheim lead with a strong (+7) rating and has the Adler flying high in second on the DEL table, two points behind Elsbaren Berlin. His offensive numbers aren’t overpowering, but his defensive prowess could land him back with the Lightning sooner rather than later.

Russia

LW Anton ButGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Yaroslavl4814112512NA
2001-2002 Yaroslavl (Playoffs)5011NANA
2002-2003 Yaroslavl1378158(+14)

Stock: Through the Roof
Since Last Update: 8GP, 1G-7A-8P, 2PIM, NA
Life is good for Anton But. He has scored a point in 11 of 13 contests thus far for Yaroslavl and was named the Lokomotiv’s Player of the Month for September. After seven games he was leading the Russian Superleague in both goals and points and remains a strong favorite to grab the Russian scoring title this season with Blackhawks first round pick Pavel Vorobiev on his line. The defending champs currently sit at second on the RSL table two points behind AK Bars Kazan and look like they have a strong chance of defending their crown. If But’s scoring pace keeps up, there will be a considerable amount of zeros to be found in But’s signing bonus and incentive package.

C/W Dimitry BezrukovGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Neftekhimik38561145NA
2002-2003 Spartak Moscow131564(-3)

Stock: Dropping Slightly
Since Last Update: 7GP, OG-3A-3P, 2PIM, (-2)
Bezrukov’s numbers seem respectable enough, but his ability to score consistently hasn’t been there to this part of the season. Bezrukov has been held without a point in 10 of 13 games as Spartak has fallen into a death spiral that finds them dead last on the RSL table. If Bezrukov and Spartak’s play don’t pick up, this team will be facing the grim spector of the relegation tournament.

C/W Alexei GloukhovGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Khimik (Upper League) 30000NA
2001-2002 Khimik (Playoffs)1000NANA
2002-2003 Khimik (Upper League)71012(-2)

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 4GP, 0G-0A-0P, 2PIM, (-1)
Gloukov isn’t seeing much ice time in his first full season at the Upper League level with Khimik. They currently sit in fifth in their division with 17 points. Another Lightning prospect, Pavel Sedov, has yet to play at the Upper League level this season for Khimik.

C/W Alex PolushinGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 CSKA (Upper League) 5024194312NA
2002-2003 CSKA (Superleague)13*0226*NA

Stock: Dropping
Since Last Update: 8GP*, 0G-1A-1P, 4PIM, NA
It’s a painful thing to watch a good prospect like Polushin struggle to adapt to the Superleague level for the first time. After being a integral part in CSKA’s promotion to the Superleague, as well as a stellar WJC tournament to help win Russia the gold medal, Polushin has had a difficult time adjusting to playing against men in Russia’s top league. Polushin has continued to play hard as coach Boris Mikhailov has shuffled Alex up and down the lineup to try and find a line combination that clicks, but to this point the right formula hasn’t been found. It seems as though the road to the NHL may take a little longer to traverse for Polushin, as he clearly needs more seasoning in the RSL.

* Statistics are difficult to get in a timely fashion from Russia, and we are doing our best to provide timely updates for each and every prospect. Players currently not listed are: Dimitry Kazionov (Lada-2, Upper League), Pavel Sedov (Khimik-3), Vitaly Smolianinov (Voronezh, Upper League), Ilya Solarev (Kurgan Mostovike, Upper League), and Vasily Koshechkin (Lada-2, Upper League).

Sweden

D Henrik BergforsGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Sodertajle (J-20)3744860(+16)
2002-2003 Orebro (Alsvenskan) 500025(-3)

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 3GP, 0G-0A-0P, 25PIM, (-1)
It can’t be emphasized enough just how bad a team the Orebro Pirates are. The team sits second to last on the Alsvenskan Sodra table and Bergfors’ plus/minus rating is sure to take a beating for it all season long. Bergfors proved just how much of a North American style he plays by dropping the gloves on 10/2 against Jonas Fin-Olsson of Vasteras. He is currently serving a suspension for the fight, and before that was playing on Orebro’s third and fourth pairings.

LW Johan HagglundGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Orebro (Alsvenskan) 36641050(-15)
2002-2003 Orebro (Alsvenskan)835818(+2)

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 5GP, 2G-5A-7P, 18PIM, (+3)
One of the few bright spots in the horrendous season Orebro has had to this point has been the play of Johan Hagglund, who is leading the club in scoring. After missing a couple of games with nagging injuries earlier in the season, Hagglund came roaring back into the lineup and on 10/4 notched 1G and 2A in a 6-4 win over Mora, which he followed up with another 1G 2A effort in a 5-4 OT loss to Halmstad on 10/6. After struggling a bit coming over from Modo’s J-20 club last season, Hagglund is putting himself back on the map in Swedish hockey and possibly in the Lightning’s prospect plans. Here’s hoping that he continues to play well and some SEL team notices him enough that he can transfer out of Orebro as quickly as possible.

D Andreas HolmqvistGPGAPPIM+/-
2001-2002 Hammarby (Alsvenskan) 4211132497(+15)
2002-2003 Linkoping (SEL)1113416(+5)

Stock: Rising
Since Last Update: 9GP, 0G-3A-3P, 16PIM, (+6)
Linkoping finds themselves at fifth on the SEL table as the man with the bionic wrist tendon continues to amaze Linkoping fans. Holmqvist earned a spot on the top pairing of the team in just a mere four games despite the fact he is a rookie to the league. Through nine games he was tied for second amongst all SEL rookies in scoring and is emerging as an early Rookie of the Year candidate in Sweden. The buzz around Holmqvist reached a crescendo on 10/13 when he had two assists in a 5-4 win over Leksands, and there is even some talk of the young defenseman earning a look with the national team at some point this year.

G Frederik NorrenaW-L-TGAASv%SO
2001-2002 TPS (SM-Liiga)14-11-51.98.9322
2001-2002 TPS (Playoffs)2-4-01.64.952NA
2002 Finland (Ceska Cup)1-1-00.99.9581
2002-2002 Frolunda (SEL)4-3-01.96.9230

Stock: Steady
Since Last Update: 3-2-0, 1.80GAA, .933Sv%, 0SO
In an unanticipated turn of events, Norrena has found himself splitting time in a tandem situation with Henrik Lundqvist for Vastra Frolunda. His numbers are certainly respectable, as he sits third in the SEL in Sv% and second in GAA, and it bears pointing out that one of Norrena’s losses was in a shootout. Still, Lundqvist has been slightly more successful in the win department, which is why Frolunda continues to alternate the two goaltenders. The Indians sit a solid third on the SEL table with 17 points, but at some point Norrena will have to put his stamp on this club if it is to carry away the SEL crown this year.

Note: All statistics as of 10-17-2002.