SHL Hockey - the best players of 2017/8 - part 2

SHL Hockey - the best players of 2017/8 - part 2

16 May 2018Adrian J»

The top 6 teams in the SHL all have their fair share of talented stars. Here's my pick of the best in this series of articles to keep your hockey heart warm in the summer months!


1. Växjö Lakers

There are so many good things to say about this team. But perhaps two overlooked factors to their success are second keeper, Viktor Andrén who let in just one goal in four games against the some of the league's top scoring forwards in the final series. Of course, Hallam's philosophy has been develop a squad with a breadth of talent. So it should not be a surprise that this include the second man at the back. 24 year old Andrén had already started nearly half the matches this season and had played more games than his counterpart, Viktor Fasth, in the high pressure CHL matches.

This season was also the making of back, Daniel Rahimi as he made the transition from bruiser to creator with a staggering Plus/Minus of 23, second in the whole league behind, who else, but Pettersson.

2. Djurgården IF

Not just keeper, Reideborn but the whole team seemed to play above themselves this year. Whilst the undrafted netminder kept scores low at the back the rest of the team smashed in goals from every line.

Here we can make special mention of brothers Jonathan and Marcus Davidsson. Younger brother, Marcus, picked up a silver medal with Sweden at the Junior World Championships, whilst Jonathan won the bragging rights in Djurgården's internal competition scoring 10 more points than his brother.

Both were drafted in 2017, 19 year old Marcus with Buffalo Sabres and 21 year old Jonathan with Columbus Blue Jackets. With the increased interest from North America in young Swedish players it remains to be seen how long the Stockholm club will be able to cling onto the talented duo.

3. Frölunda Indians

The Indians were absent from the Champions Hockey League final for the first time in four years and then went out of the national competition in the playoff quarterfinals. A disappointing season for manager, Roger Rönnberg, whilst at the same time the entire world has been staring expectantly every time defenseman Dahlin sneezed within a mile of an ice hockey rink.

Finishing in the top six and gaining an automatic playoff spot was not a given at Christmas. So credit must go to the scouting agent who found Jan Mursak floating around the KHL with nothing to do. Arguably the signing of the season, the 30 year old, Slovenian Olympic team captain, promptly managed to score an incredible 20 points in just 15 games, including 10 goals in the regular season to go straight in at number four in the table for average Points Per Game in the history of the league. A new entry this year at number five was none other than Växjö's Pettersson.

4. Färjestad BK

It was a better than expected regular season, but therefore a disappointing post season for the club from Karlstad as they went out in the quarterfinals.

24 year old defenseman Mikael Wikstrand was ever-present at the back, coming in fourth in players with the most ice time. He was, on average, on the ice a whole 28 seconds more than Finnish back partner, Jesse Virtanen. But despite all that exposure, the Swede created a Plus/ Minus of 18, whilst only collecting 7 penalties during the whole season. The 2012 Ottawa Senators drafted Swede also proved himself on the Olympic stage by scoring his first and second goal in national colours at Senior level. Pretty impressive considering he only scored five goals in the regular season.

5. Skellefteå AIK

The dynamic trio of Joakim Lindström, Oscar Möller and Pär Lindholm collected 139 points together in the regular season, with all three in the top 10 of Total Points. Their dominance upfront, in combination with an outstanding Playoff performance of keeper Joni Ortio, took the team to their seventh final in eight years. Impressive stuff from the club from Västerbotten.

The attacking trio themselves were rewarded with an Olympic Games together although they were not able to produce the same fireworks in Korea as they did in Sweden.

Lindholm is the only of the three who has not won a championship with Skellefteå. Even though he has not been drafted, the talent shines through, and as he is only 26 years old the centre has time on his side to add a Swedish championship onto his palmarès and, maybe, even a year in North America too.

6. Malmö Redhawks

A season where they consolidated their status in the top half of the table, but the team can only be thinking now, of what could have been. The loss of captain, Erik Forssell, for the majority of the season due his daughter's severe illness deprived them of a leader and reliable points getter. He has scored an average of a point every other game in an 11 year career in the SHL. When the Lakers pinched their top striker, American forward, Andy Miele and had the luxury to turn this points machine into a fourth line agitator the difference between the clubs was underlined even before the Lakers victory over the Redhawks in the semifinals.

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