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Photo Credit: J 1982/Wikimedia commons

How NHL loans to European clubs impact Flames prospects

We’ve got good news and bad news for you, hockey fans. The bad news is nobody’s sure when North American hockey will commence for the 2020-21 season. The good news is that seasons are starting to kick off in scenic Europe, particularly in the various Russian leagues.

But with Europe starting, NHL clubs are loaning players to European clubs to get them some games. How could these loans impact the Calgary Flames prospects already playing there?

Let’s start in Russia!

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Ilya Nikolayev – Loko Yaroslavl (MHL)

Nikolayev is starting the season with Lokomotiv Yaroslavl’s junior outfit, conveniently located in the same city. Nobody’s been loaned to Loko, so it seems like Nikolayev won’t be losing any time there. However, Toronto loaned forward Yegor Korshkov to the KHL team, so there’s one less spot up top for him to move into potentially. (Yaroslavl’s minor pro outfit, the VHL’s Buran Voronezh, has a ton of bodies right now so look for Nikolayev to stay in junior for the next while.)

Five players were drafted from Nikolayev’s club in the 2019 NHL Draft. Nikolayev and Coyotes prospect Alexander Daryin are the only ones remaining in the MHL from that group. It’s a big year for Nikolayev to make a statement with his scoring.

Lucas Feuk – AIK (Allsvenskan)

Feuk is signed through 2020-21 with AIK. The team isn’t terribly stacked on the pro side, with only Dallas pick Samuel Sjolund among the team’s domestic roster. But the Islanders loaned forward Oliver Wahlstrom and the Coyotes loaned defender Victor Soderstrom. Both additions should give Feuk some higher profile players to play with without impacting his playing time – if AIK was a deeper team, it might be worth worrying, but they’re shallow enough that he’ll get time if he earns it.

Filip Sveningsson – MODO Hockey (Allsvenskan)

Sveningsson is on a one year deal with MODO, at which point the Flames have to decide to sign him or cut him loose. MODO’s a good landing spot for him, and the team’s been bolstered with the short-term additions of Pittsburgh’s Jesper Lindgren and Florida’s Alexei Heponiemi. MODO is an interesting mix of youth and experience – former Flames farmhand Mikkel Aagaard is there, as is long-time fringe NHLer Frank Corrado. They’re not flush with up-and-coming NHL talent, aside from prospective 2020 NHL Draft first rounder William Wallinder on the blueline. Sveningsson will be in the mix for key playing time, and playing with Heponiemi in particular could really help his stat line pop – he was linemates with Glenn Gawdin the season Swift Current dominated the WHL and was a huge offensive driver for the Broncos.

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Johannes Kinnvall – HV71 (SHL)

Signed to an NHL deal, Kinnvall is playing this season in Sweden on a loan agreement. He’s joined by Flyers prospect Linus Sandin and Rangers prospect Lias Andersson, who’s still waiting for a trade. HV71 is a veteran-laden club, but keep an eye out for Tampa goaltending prospect Hugo Alnefelt and likely 2020 first round pick Zion Nybeck. Kinnvall is likely HV71’s top defender, so he’ll get oodles of playing time no matter who else is around.