Over the past decade a handful of Norwegian born players have been on NHL and other major international hockey league radar screens. Espen Knutsen is returning to the NHL after a few seasons in Djurgarden in Sweden. Knutsen shined for Columbus in 2001-02 and started 2002-03 strong before falling victim to various injuries sustained in the world`s toughest league. Knutsen, originally drafted by the Hartford Whalers, played sparingly for the Anaheim Mighty Ducks before returning to Scandinavia. With Knutsen’s return to the NHL there have been several prospects don the red-blue-white of the Norwegian national jersey. Here are some news and notes on those prospects.
Second round pick Marius Holtet impressed his parent club the Dallas Stars as he played well in a recent gathering of the Stars top 23 prospects and current NHLers. Holtet spent 10 days of on and off ice training and Dallas Stars management promised that they will keep a close eye on Holtet as he skates with Farjestad of the Swedish Elite League this coming season. After this coming season if all works out well it is possible that he may earn a shot at the NHL club. Holtet debuted for Norway in the April World Championships Group B also known as Division 1 now.
Undrafted Patrick Thoresen (19) of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Canadian Junior System, and one of the leagues most lethal scorers, will attend a hockey camp in Boston later this summer to show his abilities in front of NHL scouts. Thoresen recorded 33 goals and 108 points for his club and is hungry for a shot at the NHL game.
Morten Ask earlier of VIF Hockey in Oslo recorded a strong season in Laredo of the CHL recorded 51 points in 47 games. Ask was not taken in the 2003 Entry Draft but is eyeing a move up to the AHL for next season.
Anders Myrvold, a defender who has played for the Norqiques/Avalanche as well as the Islanders and Bruins and of late the Hartford Wolf Pack, is looking for a new contract in the NHL. Rumors in the local Norwegian Media have it that the Florida Panthers and possibly St. Louis Blues have expressed interest. Myrvold played in Germany last season and is looking to return only to the NHL.
Ole Tollefsen who plays for the Brandon Wheat Kings of the WHL also shined in a recent mini-camp. Tollefsen has impressed with his skating ability and strength. His game is improved greatly since his first season in the rugged WHL. Tollefsen, a 2002 draft pick of Columbus, may join countryman Espen Knutsen in Columbus in 2004.
Tore Vikingstad will return to Germany for another season. Vikingstad the property of the St. Louis Blues has a style that is better designed for the European leagues. Vikingstad who plays for Dusseldorf recorded 14 goals and 32 points last season for the German club.