COVID-19 has thrown the hockey world into new and uncharted waters, with some leagues struggling to stay active and others opting instead to shutter until the virus is under better control.
For young players who are in the prime developmental years of their careers, things are especially tough. To put it simply, prospects need to play in order to keep developing on schedule. That’s why we’ve seen a recent migration of some players, both drafted and undrafted, heading from North America to Europe, where more hockey is currently being played.
The Dallas Stars managed to get in on that action recently, arranging to loan 2018 1st-rounder Ty Dellandrea to JYP in the Finnish Liiga until the start of NHL training camp. The organization’s Director of European Scouting is Finn Kari Takko, so he likely had a hand in setting up the transfer. Stars legend Jere Lehtinen, who is very active in the Finnish hockey community, might have made a phone call or two, as well.
Dellandrea has only played three games with JYP so far, picking up one assist as he adjusts to the bigger ice. The more important thing, though, is that he’s on the ice at all and playing a regular shift, logging an average of 15:33 up until this point.
If he can get up to a full sprint before training camp begins in Dallas that could play a big role in helping him make the NHL roster come the eventual start of the 2021 season.
Ty @tydellandrea veti tänään ensimmäiset piirrot jäähän JYPin paidassa.— JYP Jyväskylä (@JYPJyvaskyla) November 17, 2020
Keskiviikkona edessä ensimmäinen #Liiga-peli @Pallokerho ja eka kotipeli luvassa lauantaina.
JYP-Lukko LähiTapiola Areenalla lauantaina 21.11. klo 18.30 #JYPliiga #TyDellandrea #HPK #Lukko #Jyväskylä pic.twitter.com/pMgruwkfRA
Ty Dellandrean @tydellandrea fiilikset ensimmäisistä #Liiga-peleistä ja odotukset ensimmäisestä kotiottelusta.— JYP Jyväskylä (@JYPJyvaskyla) November 21, 2020
JYP-Lukko tänään LähiTapiola Areenalla poikkeuksellisesti klo 18.30. #JYPliiga #TyDellandrea #Lukko #pelipäivä #Jyväskylä pic.twitter.com/yMn2Bat8pn
North American Juniors
A pair of Stars first rounders, Thomas Harley and Mavrik Bourque, have been in Red Deer, Alberta, for the past week, taking part in Hockey Canada’s selection camp for the 2021 World Juniors. Harley was cut from last year’s final roster, but he’s been earning positive reviews in camp and is a strong favorite to make the team. Bourque, being on the younger side and not truly standing out in any of the scrimmage games yet, is a bit of a long shot to make the team. This year’s World Junior tournament is scheduled to begin on December 26th, though that could obviously change between now and then.
Andre Tourigny on who stood out positively tonight:— Lukas Weese (@Weesesports) November 22, 2020
- Quinton Byfield.
- Peyton Krebs.
- Jakob Pelletier.
- Kirby Dach.
- Connor McMichael.
- Gage Goncalves.
- Dawson Mercer.
- Thomas Harley.#WorldJuniors #HockeyTwitter
After being cut from last year's roster, @OHLSteelheads defenceman Thomas Harley has returned to @HockeyCanada's #WorldJuniors camp feeling more comfortable and ready to step up his offensive game following his stint in the #NHLPlayoffs with the @DallasStars pic.twitter.com/Cc2iWpjTUj— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) November 20, 2020
He has only started six games so far due to his team getting caught in the pandemic’s “red zone” in Quebec, but Rémi Poirier has been one of the best goalies in the QMJHL in those matches. He is 5-1 with a .930 save percentage, which is pretty impressive for a high-flying league like the Q, and he has been instrumental in helping his Gatineau Olympiques club to one of the best points percentages in the league up to this point, at .857. This Olympiques roster isn’t deep or star-studded, so it has primarily been Poirier’s play that has been keeping them rolling. For his efforts, he was named as the sole goaltender for the newest edition of the QMJHL’s Team of the Week.
Fredrik Karlström started his SHL season hot and hasn’t slowed down since, continuing to pick up points and make a positive difference for his team. He has 12 points in 16 games thus far, and his six goals are tied for the Växjö lead.
Stars prospect Fredrik Karlstrom with the nice primary assist here. He's been really good thus far into the SHL season https://t.co/8LRUwN5GMd— Derek Neumeier (@Derek_N_NHL) November 10, 2020
The prospect trio of Oskar Bäck, Jacob Peterson and Albin Eriksson all continue to get reps with Färjestad in the SHL. Bäck is currently averaging 14:27 of ice time, while Peterson is at 13:30 and Eriksson is at 7:13. Färjestad rolls their forward lines fairly evenly, with their highest forward only at 16:48 per game. Bäck is also currently the top scorer of the three (while being the best defensively to boot), with three goals and three helpers in 18 contests. You’d still like to see Eriksson getting more ice time, but the occasional flashes of brilliance don’t make up for the lack of consistency.