Huselius and Holmkvist odd men out in Färjestad
Two of the more talked about NHL-prospects from Sweden in recent years -Panthers draftee Kristian Huselius and 1997 Mighty Ducks first rounder Mikael Holmkvist have been squeezed out of the Färjestad line-up due to the return of two veterans who played significant parts in their back-to-back Swedish championship wins in 1997 and 1998. The two who returned are small winger Patrik Wallenberg, who had played in Finland, and Peter Nordström who returned to his old club after failing miserably when trying to make it in the NHL with the Boston Bruins.
Neither Holmkvist or Huselius played a significant part in Färjestad when they won the swedish league, but it was expected that they would step up this season and emerge as Elitserien-regulars at least. Huselius started very well, and scored at a good pace at the start of the season, but soon fell into a slump and since the only thing he can contribute to a team is offense he soon found himself on the bench when he wasn’t putting up the points anymore. Huselius dressed for 28 games with Färjestad and scored an unimpressive 4 goals and 4 assists and was a -5. Most of those goals and assists cam at the beginning of the season. Holmkvist on the other hand only dressed for 9 games, and failed to record a point. Not that strange really, since he mostly was on the bench during these nine games. Holmkvist also suffered an injury that made the Färjestad staffs decision to loan him to Division 1 club Hammarby for a month to get his game legs back an easier one. Holmkvist has scored 2 goals for the Stockholm-club so far. If Holmkvist goes back to Färjestad and fails to earn himself a regular spot again, it’s time for him to switch teams for next season. They are surely worried in Anaheim that their top pick two seasons ago only has played a handful of meaningful games in soon-to-be two full seasons.
Huselius was loaned to Frolunda, also in the Elitserien, for the remainder of the season, and he has recorded 2 assists, but no goals in four games played for them. It is at this point unclear whether he will return to Färjestad again after this season. He has one year remaining on his contract with them.
Whether Huselius and Holmkivst returns to Färjestad or not, it’s time that they both step up and make an impact offensively in the Elitserien. If they don’t, their status as legitimate NHL-prospects will fade fast. Huselius showed signs early in the season of at least being a top-notch offensive weapon in Europe, but Holmkvist hasn’t shown anyone very much this far. Of course, it’s hard to showcase your talents when you’re only playing 4-5 shift per game at the most.