This week’s top performers for the 2020 NHL draft include two Swedish teammates for the HV71 J20 SuperElit club that both earned a call up to the Swedish Hockey League team. The third star is a skilled Finnish forward who recorded two multi-point games to lead his team to victories.
1. Zion Nybeck
For HV71 forward Zion Nybeck this is a week he`ll always remember. He capped off a phenomal week by scoring his first professional goal in the Swedish Hockey League. The goal came late in the contest, providing the insurance marker in a 5-3 victory versus IK Oskarshamn.
Earlier in the week he helped his HV71 J20 club to three impressive wins. Nybeck scored the shootout winning goal to go along with an assist in the first match of the week. He followed that performance by adding a goal and an assist in his next encounter.
His final effort, before being called up to the SHL club, showed why he is the points leader with 33 points in 16 games, in the SuperElit Top Ten segment of the Swedish schedule. Nybeck provided a hat-trick and an assist in a 9-5 thrashing of Frolunda HC.
2. Kasper Simontaival
Tappara u20 forward Kasper Simontaival sparked his team to a come-from-behind 5-4 overtime victory versus Hameenlinna to get the week started. With his team trailing 3-1 in the middle frame, Simontaival earned the primary assist on a late second-period marker to draw Tappara to within a goal. He scored the first of his three goals early in the third period to tie the game 3-3. After Hameenlinna had grabbed the lead once again, Simontaival tied the game to force the overtime session, where he notched the winning tally.
Tappara dropped their next match 5-2 at the hands of Pelicans Lahti. Simontaival did not register a point in the game. However, he bounce back in the final encounter of the week, adding three assists in a 7-1 decision over KalPa.
Simontaival is expected to be a second-round selection at the 2020 NHL draft.
3. Emil Andrae
HV71 defender Emil Andrae will one day join a long list of skilled Swedish defencemen to skate for a National Hockey League team. The smooth-skating blueliner enjoyed an extraordinary week in which he accumulated seven points at the junior level, as well as joining the SHL club for an additional game.
Andrae provided evidence of his ability to run a powerplay in the first match of the week, where he tallied three assists, all of which came with the man-advantage. HV71 were 5-4 winners in a shootout versus Djurgardens, with Andrae also providing one of the shootout goals. A day later, he registered two more helpers, one of which was on the powerplay, in a 6-5 victory over Orebro.
Following that game, he received the call to join the HV71 SHL club for a midweek game, where his only statistic was a two-minute slashing penalty. He returned to the junior club for their final encounter of the week, a 6-5 overtime decision over Lulea. Andrae scored the overtime winning goal to go along with an earlier assist.
The poise that he displays, along with his gifted skating ability, allow Andrae to transition the puck exceptionally well. His defensive zone exits are highly efficient, as is his capacity for entrances into the offensive zone. Both of these abilities are essential for modern-day defencemen.
The top prospect for the 2020 NHL draft turned in another remarkable performance this week, amassing five points in a 7-3 triumph over the Victoriaville Tigres. Alexis Lafreniére tallied his 33rd, 34th and 35th goals of the season to go along with two assists. The Rimouski Océanic forward leads the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League in scoring with 109 points in 50 games.
In the Ontario Hockey League, North Bay Battalion forward Brandon Coe added six goals and an assist in four contests.
Rick Warman is a Vancouver Canucks and prospects contributor for Overtime Heroics. Follow him @statman1956 on Twitter
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