Hey guys. "Road To North America" is a new weekly article written by the one and only Alex Nunn. Since Alex lives overseas he has the ability to watch the Rangers top prospects across the Atlantic. Alex will let us know everything we need to know about the prospects we can't see every day. Anyway, onto the article:
Thomas Spelling's decision to leave relegated SHL club Rögle wasn't a shock. Despite posting impressive numbers at junior level in Sweden last season, his chances with the big club were limited to bottom-six minutes in seven appearances. For a goalscorer it certainly wasn't the best environment for his development.
Spelling chose to sign a one-year deal with SønderjyskE of the Danish AL-Bank Ligaen. People have and will continue to question his decision to take a big step back in terms of the level of competition he faces, but it seems as though his options were limited.
A few weeks ago I had a chance to speak with Spelling briefly. He talked about the reasons behind his decision to return home and his goals for the season ahead.
"I chose to go home to Denmark as I could not get a good contract in Sweden after I had a bad year with Rögle. I'm trying to start over, have a good season and then I hope to get another contract in Sweden next year. I don't think there is anything I would have changed [about my time with Rögle], but it was all new to me and I don't feel that I got a real chance in the SHL."
"I don't think the coach liked me or my style of play. He said that he wasn't going to use me during the coming season so I made the decision to leave. The club agreed and I was allowed to find a new team."
Spelling, an offense-first player who "likes to score goals and make passes," stressed that his defensive game is something he aims to work on this season.
"I'm an offensive player. My skating and shot are my strong points, but I'm not as good in the defensive zone. Sometimes I think a little too much offensively."
Spelling opened the season with a late powerplay goal in SønderjyskE's 4-1 win over Frederikshavn in the AL-Bank Ligaen on Friday.
Following a brief loan spell with local Division One club IK Pantern, 2012 fourth-round pick Calle Andersson returned to the Malmö line-up for Saturday's big Scania derby against Rögle.
Andersson had been sidelined for nearly seven months with a broken wrist, subsequently missing all eight of Malmö's pre-season games and their first three league clashes. His return to first-team action couldn't have gone any better though.
Andersson tallied Malmö's second goal in a tight, 4-3 win as his club continued their strong start to the season. He joined the rush late in the first period, firing a low shot past goaltender Kevin Lindskoug after beating defenseman Jesper Jensen to the outside.
A two-way defenseman that can play both sides of the puck, Andersson's offensive game is an intriguing prospect and his goal was a fine example of what he can do when he joins the play. Strong on his skates and smart with his decisions, the 6'2" defenseman has upside to his puck-moving game that Malmö will hope blossoms this season both at even-strength and on the power play.
Like Spelling, Andersson has taken a step back from the SHL this season having iced briefly for Färjestad last year. The opportunity to return to Malmö, where Andersson played his junior hockey, will allow him to develop his all-round game logging consistent minutes against good opposition in Allsvenskan.
Before we delve into Pavel Buchnevich's early-season play in the KHL, I feel the need to clear something up for people that don't watch Russian hockey on a consistent basis ... Severstal Cherepovets really aren't very good.
Despite the numbers perhaps suggesting otherwise, Buchnevich's play so far this year has been pretty good. The 2013 third-round pick looks to make things happen and likes to shoot the puck. The thing that's really jumped out at me so far is just how well he retains the puck in tight spaces. He's not the most involved player physically, but he contributes in that department which is more than some others will do.
Buchnevich has made the most of his limited ice-time and now finds himself playing top-six minutes in the KHL at 18. He stands out and was particularly impressive against Dinamo Minsk last Monday, scoring twice on the powerplay as Severstal secured their first regulation win of the season.
Much to be excited about...
http://youtu.be/-KHTijlSAL4 - Buchnevich's two goals v Dinamo Minsk (Severstal's second and third)