Christmas, holiday festivities, vacations, and, most importantly, spending time with loved ones: December has a lot to offer and is the perfect end to an action-packed year. For hockey fans that aren’t on vacation, the U20 World Juniors tournament is a perfect ending to the calendar year. The Wings have four prospects at World Juniors in Filip Zadina with the Czech Republic, Jared McIsaac and Joe Veleno with the Canadians, and Malte Setkov with Denmark. This and more make up the headlines for this month’s prospect report:
With 1 point in 4 games, Filip Zadina has had a hard time living up to last year’s tournament in which he had 7 goals and 8 points in 7 games. Zadina has made several very good plays on offense and defense though, so he hasn’t been completely invisible. The Czechs will need more from Zadina, Martin Necas of Carolina, and Martin Kaut of Colorado if they’re going to make some noise in the playoffs.
Joe Veleno is leading the way for Red Wings prospects with 2 points in 4 games for the Canadians. Veleno was publicly called out by Canada coach Tim Hunter after their December 27th game against Switzerland and he immediately responded with his 2nd point of the tournament, an assist, in Canada’s win against the Czech Republic. Jared McIsaac registered an assist in the 3 games in the December portion of the tournament and that’s where his total will stay for now due to a 1 game suspension he served during Canada’s New Year’s Eve loss to the Russians.
Malte Setkov has showcased his shot from the point and played as Denmark’s number 1 defenseman, but hasn’t registered a point as the goalless Denmark appears destined to face off against Kazakhstan in the relegation round.
The IIHF suspended defenseman Jared McIsaac for one game for his hit on Predators prospect and former Muskegon Lumberjack Jachym Kondelik in the Canadian’s game against the Czech Republic.
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 31, 2018
Here is the hit in question:
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisNHL) December 30, 2018
Goalies Continue To Impress
Joren van Pottelberghe has taken to EHC Kloten of the Swiss League, Switzerland’s 2nd highest pro league, as well as many Wings fans had hoped he would. In the month of December, van Pottelberghe was 8-0 and recorded a stat line of 1.75 GAA, .938 sv% and 1 shutout.
Filip Larsson continued his strong start to the season picking up 2 wins for Denver and posting a 1.00 GAA and .963 sv% after playing one game in November and missing most of the season prior due to injury. It’s good to see Larsson challenging sophomore Devin Cooley who’s been stellar himself in net for Denver.
Swedish goalie prospect Jesper Eliasson started out his month by winning 3 games and posting a 1.33 GAA and .949 sv% in the SuperElit. He actually ended his month in Vancouver with the Swedish U20 team as insurance due to Ducks prospect goalie Olle Eriksson Ek’s two-game suspension for his actions in the medal ceremony at last year’s tournament. Eliasson was assigned to IK Oskarshamn in the Allsvenskan, Sweden’s 2nd highest pro league after his SuperElit season with the Vaxjo Lakers J20 squad went on break to cover for Sweden’s third goalie at the World Juniors tournament, Adam Ahman. He didn’t even get to see game action before his recall to Vancouver but he should get some nice sky miles out of it.
The caption says it all, Evgeny Svechnikov, who’s out for the season after a successful ACL surgery, got to skate for the first time since his surgery on the last day of 2018. That’s a positive end to the year for Evgeny, who we all hope has a big 2019.
- OHLInsiders on Twitter brought up the possibility of Kaden Fulcher returning to the OHL to take advantage of the remainder of what would be his over-age season, but as of the posting of this article, that hasn’t happened. Fulcher has split the net with veteran Pat Nagle and has played in 13 games to Nagle’s 17 and there’s no apparent reason why the Wings would sign off on such a move.
- Axel Holmstrom is starting to heat up in Grand Rapids while Dominic Turgeon cools off. Holmstrom has 8 points in 14 games in the month of December. Turgeon has 3 points in 14 games in December.
- On December 29th, Filip Larsson registered 20 saves in a 4-1 win over UMass-Lowell. The player to break his shutout? Red Wings prospect defenseman Seth Barton.
Prospect of the Month
Joren van Pottelberghe
After an eventful start to his season, Joren van Pottelberghe has settled in nicely with EHC Kloten of the NLB and going 8-0 with a 1.75 GAA and .938 sv% including 1 shutout. His GAA and sv% are the best in the NLB and that’s exactly what Red Wings fans were hoping would happen given the level of competition compared to the NLA, where his former team HC Davos plays. Joren van Pottelberghe appears poised to finish the regular season strong and lead EHC Kloten deep into the playoffs and he has a good shot at starting every remaining game his team has.
|OTTO KIVENMAKI||JR. A SM-LIIGA||6||3||7||10|
|JOREN VAN POTTELBERGHE||NLB||8||1.75||.938||8-0|