July 27, 2009

P.J. Axelsson also to Frölunda

Left winger Per-Johan Axelsson, 11 seasons with the Boston Bruins, has signed a 4-year contract with Frölunda in the SEL. He will join the same team as Joel Lundqvist and also the club where he started his senior career.

- Frölunda is the club in my heart. I have always wanted to come back here. Now it suited well in and I'm looking forward to experience nice things again with the team. Saw that Joel Lundqvist was talking about winning the Swedish Championship. That sounded good.

I thought Pebben (as he is called over here) would continue his NHL career. I guess the chance of him returning to Frölunda increased a lot though, when the team, where he played his whole NHL career, decided not to give him an offer.

July 23, 2009

Joel Lundqvist's back in Frölunda

Not much going on at the moment, so I have been enjoying the summer. Here are some news though.

Since May, there has been articles now and then about forward Joel Lundqvist and where he will play next season. Lundqvist played for the Dallas Stars last season and had a rough season with injury problems that made him miss half of the season. Dallas ended up not re-signing him, so he became an UFA this summer.

Most have pointed towards Lundqvist going to his old SEL team Frölunda, unless something interesting would come up at the other side of the pond, and now it's official. According to Lundqvist's agent, Lars Cederström, he will play for Frölunda and if the contract wasn't signed yesterday, it will be within the next few days. The contract is on six years with a clause (NHL-out clause I'm guessing) after each season according to the agent.

Frölunda now got 16 forwards under contract and players like Washington's first round pick in the 2008 NHL Draft, Anton Gustafsson, and Atlanta's 34 overall pick in 2009, Carl Klingberg, could be two of the first ones to be loaned out to the affiliated team Borås in HockeyAllsvenskan.

July 13, 2009

Engqvist stays one more year in SEL

The two-way center Andreas Engqvist participated in the development camp of the Montreal Canadiens last week and Montreal obviously liked what they saw as he now has signed a 3-year contract.

Peter Wallén, the agent of Engqvist, commented about the signing at Expressen.

- They have been after Andreas for a while now. We had discussions with a lot of clubs too, but in the end we thought this was the best alternative, says agent Peter Wallén.

- Andreas is very happy and satisfied. Montreal is an NHL team with a rich history.

It is already decided though that Engqvist will be loaned out and play another year in the SEL with Djurgården.

- He was injured half last season and we all thought it was good that he gets to play a full season in the SEL before he comes over, says Wallén.


July 09, 2009

Homer keeps on going

The Detroit warrior Tomas Holmström will be starting his 13th NHL season since he joined the league as a 23-year-old, but he says in an interview with Aftonbladet that he isn't seeing the end just yet.

- To continue until I'm 40 years old would be nice. I'm just 36 years so far and it's still damn fun to play hockey. Maybe I can try to beat Chris Chelios record, he is 47 years old, Holmström says.

Eleven more years? You got to be kidding me?
- (Laugh). I think it's incredibly fun to play. Sure, I'm going towards the end of my career, but this is a lifestyle and I want to keep on going for a couple of more years.

It's in the NHL that Holmström wants to spend those years and he doubts he will return to Sweden to finish his career. He enjoying being with the Red Wings incredibly much and the same goes for his life outside the club.

- Our kids are born and have grown up in Detroit, and we will probably stay here after my retirement. Right now I'm applying for a Green Card and to play in Luleå and Sweden is something I doubt I will do.

Holmström was part of the Swedish gold medal winning team in the 2006 Olympics. The upcoming Olympics in Vancouver are closing in very fast and that is something Holmström is really looking forward to.

While he loves talking about the Olympics, it becomes obvious that the 2009 Stanley Cup final is something he doesn't like talking about when Aftonbladet ask if he has recovered from it.

- No, absolutely not. I almost feel like hanging up now when you start talking about it. That's how hard it is.


- I know how fun it is to win and we had the chance to do it at home ice... It still hurts. And that it will do for a good while yet.


July 06, 2009

Wallin confirms Leafs rumor *Updated*

Rickard Wallin confirms in Aftonbladet and Expressen today that it is indeed the Toronto Maple Leafs, as the blog wrote yesterday, that wants him. He avoids saying everthing is a done deal just yet though, while Johans blogg repeats once again today that it is.

The news came as a shock for Färjestad and its fans yesterday, but Wallin says the following to Aftonbladet.

- I'm 29 years old, so it's my last chance. I would probably regret it, if I didn't take the chance, he says.

Wallin's agent, Craig Oster, says to Expressen that talks with Toronto have been going for a couple of weeks.

- Toronto believes he can help the club and they think he has had a good season and a good World Championship. We started talking with them a couple of weeks ago, says Wallin's agent Craig Oster.

UPDATE JULY 10: It's now confirmed that Toronto has signed Rickard Wallin.

July 05, 2009

Rickard Wallin to Toronto?

According to the reliable blog, Johans Blogg, Swedish center Rickard Wallin is returning to the NHL. This time to the Toronto Maple Leafs though instead of the Minnesota Wild.

Earlier this year, Wallin signed a 4-year extension with Färjestad in the SEL. As you might remember though, he was one of the players in Hockey in Swedish's list of SEL players with an NHL-out clause. A clause which he supposedly has used now.

Wallin had a SEL career-high of 45 points in 55 games this season, which placed him 10th in points in the league. He later went on to win his third Swedish Championship title and then play in his third straight World Championship.

This will be his second attempt at making it in the NHL. So far Wallin got 19 NHL games with the Minnesota Wild under his belt and he produced 6 goals and 4 assists in those games.

July 04, 2009

Darren Haydar to Colorado *Updated*

MODO Hockey in the SEL has been showing interest, but now it's apprently official that Canadian Right Winger Darren Haydar will continue his career in the NHL/AHL.

Haydar's agent has confirmed to Johans Blogg that the Canadian right winger has signed a contract with the Colorado Avalanche.

Darren has had a successful AHL career so far with for example a league MVP award and a Calder Cup under his belt, but is still working on cracking an NHL roster and become a regular in the big league.

Not the biggest of news, but now you got it in English for the first time.

UPDATE JULY 6: The signing is now official.

July 03, 2009

Who will report to the CHL?

In case you missed it, the CHL Import Draft took place on June 30. A record 12 Swedish players were selected in the Draft with Gabriel Landeskog leading the way as the 3rd pick overall.

Swedish players aren't known to make the jump to the Canadian juniors, but will this year be different? To try and answer this, I have taken the time to find information about as many players as possible of the Swedish players selected. I also did the same thing with the two Danish players selected, who played in Sweden last season.

From the early looks of it, it seems like a lot of these players will report to their respective teams. One thing is for sure though, last year's list seems incredibly small and weak compare to this year's. So enjoy!

3. Gabriel Landeskog, RW, Djurgården (J20/SEL) —> Plymouth (OHL)
According to Hockeymagasinet.com, it is relatively certain that Landeskog will make the jump and play for Plymouth. Gabriel has avoided the signing of a contract with Djurgården's senior team all summer so far and the site says it has been a dream of his to play in the Canadian juniors.

9. Robin Lehner, G, Frölunda (J20) —> Sault Ste. Marie (OHL)
Hockey in Swengligh wrote before about how Lehner was interested in moving to the CHL. Apparently the Ottawa prospect made his decision during the NHL Draft and will indeed make the jump.

23. Alexander Urbom, D, Djurgården (J20/SEL) —> Brandon (WHL)
The Devils prospect Urbom has been rumored to sign with a team in HockeyAllsvenskan for next season. EP Blog had a talk with his agent, Peter Werner, who said that it was expected that one CHL team would take a chance on Urbom. Nothing is done though and the agent was going to have a chat with Alex about it. So HockeyAllsvenskan or WHL for Urbom.

26. Fredrik Cedergren, RW, HV71 (J20) —> Prince Albert (WHL)
Bama's Blogg has reported earlier about Cedergren looking to play college hockey in the USA next season. That blog speculates now that it is likely Fredrik will report, because of the earlier reports already saying he is on the way to North America.

41. John Persson, RW, Mora (J18/J20) —> Red Deer (WHL)
The info Red Deer Rebels head coach/vice-president of hockey operations Jesse Wallin has gotten is that Persson will be coming over for sure. You can read Wallin's quote here.

45. Patrik Andersson, D, Brynäs (J20) —> Kitchener (OHL)
There has been rumors about Andersson going to Borås in HockeyAllsvenskan. Kitchener traded for this pick on Draft day though, which makes you wonder if they maybe know he will come over. That's just me speculating though.

57. Hampus Gustafsson, LW, Malmö (J20/SWE-2) —> Saskatoon (WHL)
It was expected that Gustafsson would get drafted. In an interview with Johans Blogg, he confirms that he will go over and try to make the team.

61. Victor Hertzberg, RW, Frölunda (J20) —> Cape Breton (QMJHL)
General Manager and Head Coach of Cape Breton, Mario Durocher, says he has been in contact with Hertzberg almost every day in the last week and that Victor is excited to be coming over.

62. Kalle Ekelund, D, Nybro (SWE-2) —> London (OHL)
Ekelund says in an interview with Barometern that the goal is to play with London next season and he is very excited about being drafted by them.

64. Jacob Berglund, LW, Malmö (J20/SWE-2) —> Portland (WHL)
Jacke confirms his plans of reporting to Portland in the newspaper Kvällsposten, which came as no surprise. Check out this YouTube clip of him, that I uploaded last fall.

71. Sebastian Svendsen, C/W, Frölunda (J20) — > Vancouver (WHL)
Svendsen was the first Dane picked in the Draft. He says to the Danish site, Hockeymagasinet, that he was surprised by Vancouver drafting him as it wasn't a team he had talked with. Svendsen is planning on making the jump, but he is under contract with Frölunda and a few details must be worked out first.

74. Oskar Orrpars, D, Djurgården (J18) —> Lewiston (QMJHL)
Orrpars has come over and played a lot for Lewiston GM Roger Shannon's V-Reds development program in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Shannon says he was able to convince Oskar to come over to North America and play full-time.

75. Ted Brithén, C, Rögle (J20/SEL) —> Sarnia (OHL)
Brithén confirms through Rögle's homepage that he will play for Sarnia next season. He sees it as a step in his developement to take a spot on Rögle's senior team within a couple of years.

76. Rasmus Damgaard, D, Malmö (J20) —> Medicine Hat (WHL)
Willie Desjardin, the GM and head coach of the Tigers, says there is a 50-50 chance Danish defenseman Damgaard will stay and play back in Europe this season. Rasmus got a newly signed 1-year contract with Hvidovre in the Danish top league, which is probably what is causing the problems.


July 02, 2009

Sweden's roster to Ivan Hlinka Memorial

Sweden roster for the 2009 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, which also is known as the U18 Junior World Cup, was announced today. The tournament will take place in August 11-15.

Players to keep an extra eye on are Adam Larsson, Gabriel Landeskog and Victor Öhman, who all look like possible top picks (Öhman in 2010 NHL Draft, the others in 2011).

All these three players have already tried out senior hockey and both Larsson and Öhman will next season be part of their respective organization's senior team. Landeskog, on the other hand, looks to be heading to the Plymouth Whalers of the OHL.

SEL: Swedish Elite League (top league in Sweden)
SWE-2: HockeyAllsvenskan (division under SEL)
SWE-3: Division 1 (division under SWE-2)
U18 and U20: The U18/U20 leagues in Sweden

Johan Gustafsson, Skåre (SWE-3) - 2010 NHL Draft
Stefan Steen, Leksand (U18) - 2011

Johan Alm, Skellefteå (U20) - 2010
Adam Larsson, Skellefteå (U20/SEL) - 2011
Victor Berglind, Brynäs (U20) - 2011
Karl Johansson, Brynäs (U18) - 2011
Daniel Gunnarsson, Leksand (U20) - 2010
Patrik Nemeth, AIK (U20) - 2010
Jonathan Nielsen, Linköping (U18) - 2011

Gabriel Landeskog, Djurgården (U20/SEL) - 2011
Fredric Weigel, Djurgården (U18) - 2010
Johan Larsson, Brynäs (U20) - 2010
Ludvig Rensfeldt, Brynäs (U18) - 2010
Sebastian Ottosson, Linköping (U18) - 2010
Adam Pettersson, Skellefteå (U20) - 2010
Joakim Nordström, AIK (U18) - 2010
Rickard Rakell, AIK (U18) - 2011
Victor Öhman, Malmö (U20/SWE-2) - 2010
Johan Sundström, Frölunda (U18) - 2011
Victor Rask, Leksand (U18) - 2011
Erik Thorell, Färjestad (U18) - 2010


Available SEL players?

It's July and the NHL Free Agency Frenzy has started again.

As there still is no transfer agreement between Sweden and the NHL, players with SEL contracts have to have an NHL-out clause to be able to sign with an NHL team.

I found a list that consisted of players with an NHL-out clause, but it only listed some of the SEL teams. I ending up using it as a base to assemble a list with players with a SEL contract, but who are available to sign with any NHL team (at least now in July).

The list is probably still missing a lot of names as it's hard to get info about these things, but I will update it if I find out about any other players.

Lars Jonsson, D (Brynäs) - 53GP, 9G, 12A, 21P
Riku Hahl, C (Frölunda) - 52GP, 7G, 24A, 31P
Johan Holmqvist, G (Frölunda) - 49GP, 2.15GAA, .917SVS%, 2SO
Per Ledin, LW/RW (HV71) - 58GP, 11G, 12A, 23P (AHL)
Mikko Lehtonen, D (Frölunda) - 41GP, 15G, 15A, 30P
Janne Niskala, D (Frölunda) - 35GP, 9G, 10A, 19P
Rickard Wallin, C/LW (Färjestad) - 55GP, 18G, 27A, 45P

Also, for the fun of it, here are the current three SEL Free Agents that had most points last season plus a joker:

Fredrik Bremberg, LW (Djurgården) - 53GP, 17G, 40A, 57P
Mika Pyörälä, LW/C (Timrå) - 55GP, 21G, 22A, 43P
Niklas Anger, RW/LW (Djurgården) - 51GP, 23G, 19A, 42P
Peter Forsberg, C (MODO) - 3GP, 1G, 2A, 3GP

The all-time leading scorer in the SEL, Bremberg (did you know that?), and the guy with the funny lastname, Anger, will probably not attract interested from the NHL and might head out in Europe (KHL?). Pyörälä might be looking to try and make it onto an NHL roster through camp/AHL.

Forsberg? Well who knows about his future? Probably not even him.