12Ilya Nikolayev
Photo Credit: courtesy MHL

FlamesNation prospect update: the start of a strange season

As the National Hockey League completes its playoff year, the 2020-21 season has begun in fits and starts in Europe. As such, it’s finally time for the first prospect update of the new season.

It’s going to be a bit weird this season, gang, and this update reflects that.

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All about Nikolayev

Two things stand out about Ilya Nikolayev’s junior club, Loko Yaroslavl. They’ve been the busiest team in the MHL, playing 10 games at this point when some other clubs in their conference have played just four. But they’re also really good so far. They’re 9-1-0 and have found different ways to win, including a few blowout wins.

Nikolayev has had a really strong start to the season. He has four goals and 11 points through 10 games, good for second in the league – only teammate Ruslan Abrosimov has more points. 10 of Nikolayev’s points were at even strength (and eight of them were primary points). He’s 19 and playing in a U-20 league, but he’s (so far) one of the better players in the league. It could be a good step forward for him offensively.

Other Europeans

The SHL has begun their season, but Johannes Kinnvall will be out of HV71’s lineup for another couple weeks with a minor shoulder injury.

In Allsvenskan, the secondary Swedish league, Eetu Tuulola (Vastervik IK) and Lucas Feuk (AIK IF) start their regular seasons on Oct. 2 and Filip Sveningsson (MODO) begins on Oct. 3.

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The Slovak league is also expected to begin play next week, but the league website (or the team sites) don’t have a schedule listed. Part of that may be because the league and its players are apparently negotiating about compensation.

North America

The QMJHL is the only major league about to get going, with their regular season beginning next Friday. Jakob Pelletier, now captain of the Val-d’Or Foreur, begins his season with a pair of games against Gatineau on Friday and Saturday.

(For clarity, the season begins next weekend, Fri., Oct. 2.)

Everybody else is idle, waiting for their leagues to put together plans for starting their seasons.