Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Phil Davies on 09/07/10 at 11:50 AM ET
Help me welcome Phil Davies to the stable of KK bloggers. Phil will be covering the international hockey scene for us.
Make sure to click his name in the byline to find out his background. As with all the KK bloggers, Phil will have his own blog sometime this month. - Paul
Although there are a number of European Players expected to make an impact in the NHL this year, I will be focusing on players, who, previous to their success in the 2010 Olympics and/or the 2010 World Championships, were flying under the radar as elite level prospects. However, for every Henrik Zetterberg, who first impressed North American hockey fans with his stellar play in the 2002 Olympics, there is a Fabian Brunnstrom, who has yet to pan out for the Dallas Stars.
This 2004 draft pick of the Ottawa Senators, has an outside chance of securing a roster spot at some point this year. Although Wick is a smallish forward, who will probably spend the majority of his time with the Binghampton Senators, he does have a good set of hands, as evidenced by his five points in five games at the 2010 Olympics. However, Wick will need to play a more physical game if he hopes to land in the NHL long term.
Mats Zuccarello Aasen
Another smallish forward with good hands, Aesen logged plenty of minutes for Norway at the 2010 Olympic Games, while compiling 3 points in four games. Although undrafted, Aasen was able to land a contract with the New York Rangers, on the heels of his impressive international play and by leading the Swedish Elitserien League in scoring with 64 points in 55 games last year. The Rangers could use some scoring help, but Aasen will first need to bulk up his 170 lb frame.
This power forward caught the eye of Toronto Maple Leafs GM; Brian Burke, with his hulking size, strong forecheck and capable hands, which were on display at both the 2010 Olympics and the 2010 Worlds. Muller already plays an aggressive North America style under German National Team Coach Uwe Krupp, who favours a strong forechecking game over Germany’s previous trapping style. However, despite the lack of depth up front for the Leafs, Muller will most likely play the majority of the upcoming season with the Toronto Marlies, in order to gain more experience.
Despite being drafted in 2001 by the Phoenix Coyotes, this longtime rearguard for the Swiss National Team, has yet to play in a single NHL game. However, his luck may soon change, as the Dallas Stars signed him to an entry level deal on the first day of free agency this year. Although Blindenbacher will most likely start the season with the Texas Stars, his strong skating and playmaking skills, may earn him a promotion, due to Dallas’ lack of offensively gifted defencemen
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About Kukla's Korner Hockey
Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
From breaking news to in-depth stories around the league, KK Hockey is updated with fresh stories all day long and will bring you the latest news as quickly as possible.
Email Paul anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org