SUNRISE, FL – Florida Panthers Assistant General Manager Chuck Fletcher announced today that the club has agreed in principle with its top two European prospects, Swedish left wing Kristian Huselius and Finnish left wing Niklas Hagman. Both players led their teams in goals last season and have represented their countries in numerous world tournaments.
Huselius, the Panthers’ second choice (47th overall) in the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, led the entire Swedish League last season in goals (32), assists (35), points (67), power play goals (10), shorthanded goals (5), and game-winning goals (9) in 49 games. It marked the first time a player swept all six categories in Swedish League history and it is believed to be a first in any major European league. Playing for Vastra Frolunda, the 22-year-old (11/10/78) tied for the team lead in plus/minus (+15) and added a team-leading nine points (4-5-9) in five playoff games. Born in Stockholm, Sweden, Huselius stands 6’ 1” and weighs 195 pounds. Huselius also participated in the World Championships in Germany this past year helping Sweden to a 3-2 bronze medal victory over the United States. He finished tied for seventh on his team in scoring with two goals and three assists in nine tournament games.
“Kristian is a gifted offensive player who adeptly combines excellent puck handling skills with tremendous speed,” stated Fletcher. “After an initial adjustment period to NHL-style hockey, we expect him to be a quality offensive player for our organization for years to come.”
Hagman, the Panthers’ thir Read more»
This must be getting frustrating for Ottawa 67’s Coach Brian Kilrea. For the second year in a row, his first line center going into training camp, a draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs, looks like he won’t be playing in the OHL this year. Last year, a heart murmur detected in Luca Cereda wiped him out for the entire schedule after heart surgery. Up until that time, he was a serious pre-season candidate to be the OHL’s Player of the Year. Enter Vadim Sozinov. After a slow start to his initial campaign with the 67’s, he became an integral part of Kilrea’s attack and the coach had gone so far as to predict a breakout year from the second year junior. He may well have that breakout year, but it looks like it won’t be in Ottawa, rather in Novokuznetsk of the Russian Elite League. Make no mistake, if the Khazakh forward makes the big squad in Russia, he’ll be playing in a league that is just a step below the NHL and above anything he’d find in the OHL or on ‘The Rock’. But he also might end up playing for their junior team as well. In any case, with this decision, Brian Kilrea has got to be wondering how long he’s going to have Jaroslav Sklenar in the Black, White, and Red, who, you guessed it, was another Leaf pick that he chose in the import draft.
With the placing of Glenn Healy on waivers and the signing of Swedish goaltender Mikael Tellqvist to a 3 year deal it looks like one of the SEL’s most dominant players in the last two sea Read more»
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