After the 98/99 season, the Troja/Ljungby right winger Mattias Weinhandl became a wanted player in Swedish hockey. Even though Troja/Ljungby failed once again to qualify to the Elite League, the hockey world opened it’s eyes for Mattias and no less than 11 out of 12 teams in the Elite League (all but Luleå) wanted his signature on a contract.
MoDo finally became the team lucky enough to sign this, then 18-year-old, player who is the latest talent from Troja, in southern Sweden. However, the likely thing happened and he got drafted by the New York Islanders, and Mattias became “one of eight MoDo talents drafted this year” to the whole world although he probably hasn´t even tried on his MoDo jersey just yet. Though this is an extreme case, it tells something about how MoDo sometimes buys their prospect success. Still, this is not MoDo’s fault – it’s just a media trend to try to connect as many players as possible to MoDo nowadays, because MoDo has a good name that sells.
Mattias got a good start in the 98/99 season with 18 goals, 15 assists and 18 PIM in 28 Div. 1 games. Troja/Ljugby then qualified to Allsvenskan among with seven other leading Div. 1 teams and the harder competition here made Mattias’s stats decrease a little, but they are still very impressive for an 18-year-old:
LEAGUE TEAM GP G A TP PIM +/-
Allsvenskan Troja/L 14 2 4 6 10 -3
Play-off (to qualify round) Troja/L 5 4 3 7 4 +6
Qualify-round(to Elite League) Troja/L 10 2 5 7 12 -1
With his 6’0″ and 180 lb frame, he is not a huge guy, but he is fast and is a very effective offensive weapon on his team. He’s got good all-round skills and, despite his size, he is effective even when the play is more crowded.
Most things point to a bright future for the, now 19-year-old, Troja guy and I hope it was the right decision for him to sign with MoDo. My concern is only that MoDo already has many players similar to Mattias, but with more experience, and this is why I’m afraid he won’t be as appreciated and get as many chances to develop as he would on a team with fewer player of this kind. I hope I’m wrong so we get to see him create some great scoring chances in MoDo next season as well as in New York for Islanders, hopefullyin a few years …