Summer is officially over, and while pro camps in North America are just around the corner, pre-season overseas is well underway.
The first stop on the European pre-season tour was the Nordic Trophy, billed as ‘Europe’s most prestigious ice-hockey pre-season tournament’. An intriguing commodity at the 2009 Draft table, Atlanta 2nd round selection Carl Klingberg got his season started right, netting five goals in seven games for the Frölunda Indians.
Although Edmonton received the devastating news that 2009 fourth round pick Toni Rajala will miss both Finnish and WHL camp with an ankle injury, another trio of European talent has so far delivered. Linus Omark continued his domination of the international game with a goal and an assist in the opening game of the Czech Hockey Games, the first stop on the Euro Tour.
In Finland, bruising winger Teemu Hartikainen is proving to everyone that his historical rookie season in the SM-Liiga was not a fluke. Already a near-PPG player in pre-season action, Hartikainen has continued his scoring ways at the U20 4 Nations Tournament. Hosted by Finland this year and featuring entries from Sweden, Russia and the Czech Republic, Hartikainen and Team Finland opened the tourney in style on home ice with a 4-2 win over the Czechs. For his part, the 6’2 forward scored the game-winner and added an assist.
Over in Sweden, Magnus Paajarvi-Svensson has more important things to worry about than a tournament for junior-aged players. Participating in the SCA Cup, a warm-up tourney for Elitserien clubs, Paajarvi debuted on the top line for Timra. Playing alongside journeyman center Daniel Corso, Paajarvi exploded for two goals in a 4-1 victory over Brynas. While his second was an absolute gift from Corso, Paajarvi showed off his immense gifts on the 1-1 goal. Cutting down the wing, Paajarvi drove wide and effortlessly ripped off a wicked snapshot that surprised the goalie with its velocity. Paajarvi had two other great chances, being robbed of the hat-trick on two separate occasions by a glove and a toe.
In Russia, Alexander Avtsyn saw his KHL career begin yesterday with Dynamo Moscow. Although he showed flashes of his enormous potential- including a couple great drives to the net with speed and authority- the 2009 fourth rounder was mostly harmless when pressured byCSKA’s defense. Avtsyn showed that there is still