Just a little taste of Swedish preseason action:
Lightning prospect Johan Harju had a pair of goals today in Lulea's 3-2 victory over Skelleftea. Former Lightning captain Mikael Renberg had a goal in the match for SAIK.
Preseason games are finally underway throughout Europe with most teams participating in preseason tournaments and individual preseason games.
Last Tuesday, Andreas Holmqvist made his debut for his new club Frolunda on the team's first pairing in a 3-2 win over Djurgardens. Holmqvist assisted on the game's opening goal by Niklas Andersson. Frolunda is one of several teams from Sweden and Finland vying for the Nordic Trophy.
Johan Harju's club Lulea got underway last Friday in a 4-4 tie against Brynas. No box score was available from the game. Lulea dropped a 3-2 match to Sodertalje the following day. Again, no box score was available.
So, although details aren't readily available from overseas, it is clear that hockey season has indeed arrived.
Despite an attempt by the Lightning to sign 2007 sixth round pick Johan Harju and bring him North America this summer, Bolt Prospects has learned that the forward has elected to stay in the Swedish Elite League for another year.
Harju, an overage draftee at 21 years of age, was thought to be a strong possibility for the Lightning's AHL affiliate in Norfolk. Harju had 12 goals, 10 assists and 22 points in 55 games for Lulea of the SEL last season. Lightning General Manager Jay Feaster said the forward was extended a contract offer, but Harju wants to stay in Sweden for at least one more year.
Remind me next year to order Red Line three weeks before draft day instead of two...
Anyway, looking through Red Line's draft guide there are a lot of positives for the Lightning coming out of this draft. Here's how they had the picks the Lightning took rated and, where given, the short blurb about each:
#30 Dana Tyrell: "Love his speed, smarts, and competitiveness."
#54 Luca Cunti: "It's a team game, Luca. It's not all about you."
#62 Alexander Killorn: "Blazing fast playmaker. Stock rising like gas prices."
#100 Mitch Fadden: "Dynamic scorer should've been taken last year."
#160 Matt Marshall: "Bull in a china shop, but has no hands or finesse."
#207 Torrie Jung
#290 Michael Ward
NR Johan Harju
NR Justin Courtnall