While the higher levels of North American hockey have yet to begin the 2020-2021 season, several of the top European hockey leagues have been playing for a few months already. Hoping to find some extra ice time for their prospects, the Blackhawks have loaned six players to teams across the pond.
With the reported start date As the NHL season draws closer, several of those loans have expired or are about to do so. Here’s an update on how those relays went:
Matej Chalupa (Mountfield HK, Czech Republic)
A free agent signature by the Blackhawks in March, Chalupa had played with Mountfield HK in the highest level of hockey in Chalupa’s homeland. In six games, the 22-year-old striker notched a pair of assists. According to this tweet (with help from Google Translate), the loan ended on November 24, with Chalupa returning to the United States shortly thereafter.
Brandon Hagel (HC Thurgau, Switzerland)
Hagel was named the Blackhawks AHL MVP last season after leading the IceHogs with 19 goals. He turned that success into an NHL debut on March 11 against the San Jose Sharks, which remains the last hockey game played at the United Center.
Hagel is thriving in Europe, with 15 points (eight goals, seven assists) in 14 games while playing for HC Thurgau in the Swiss second division. This article from Athletic caught up with Hagel as he pondered his first stint in European hockey. Hagel’s best outing was a five-point performance (three goals, two assists) on November 17.
Hagel was reminded of his loan last week, giving Hagel time to get home and get ready for the Blackhawks’ next training camp.
Philipp Kurashev (HC Lugano, Switzerland)
Kurashev remains one of the most intriguing offensive prospects in the Blackhawks’ organization after his first full professional season in 19-20. This season, in 12 games with HC Lugano in the Swiss hockey premier division, Kurashev has no goals but he has not obtained eight assists.
It’s been a few weeks since Kurashev – Chicago’s fourth-round pick (120th overall) in 2018 NHL Draft) – however walked on ice. Several Lugano players tested positive for coronavirus on November 30 and the team has not played in a game since.
Tim Soderlund (Almtuna, Sweden)
Soderlund made his North American debut last season, skating in 29 games for the IceHogs while scoring a goal with two assists. Returning to his native Sweden on loan this season playing for Almtuna in the Second Division, Soderlund – whom the Blackhawks selected in the fourth round (112th overall) in 2017 – has a team record of nine goals and his 15 points are the second highest. mark on the team.
Scott Powers of Athletic recently spoke to Soderlund about his stay in Sweden.
Pius Suter (GCK Lions / ZSC Lions, Switzerland)
Suter was Switzerland’s NHL MVP last season after scoring 53 points (30 goals, 23 assists), making immediate comparisons to Blackhawks forward Dominik Kubalik, who was the same league MVP before join Chicago for the 19-20 season.
Suter’s 20-21 hockey season began with the GCK Lions in the second tier of Swiss hockey, where Suter led the team with five points (two goals, three assists) in six games. Suter was then reassigned to the ZSC Lions in the Premier League, the same team Suter played for in his MVP season. In four games with this team, Suter had one goal and three assists while playing for the same team as former Blackhawks center Marcus Kruger.
Michal Teply (BK Mlada Boleslav / Litomerice, Czech Republic)
Teply’s time in Europe is probably over after be named on the traveling list for the Czech Republic Junior Worlds team. This tournament will be played in Edmonton and Teply will likely stay in North America thereafter to prepare for the next season in the AHL.
Teply, a fourth-round selection (105th overall) in the 2019 NHL Draft, started his European stint with a game for Mlada Boleslav in the top Czech division without scoring a point. He was reassigned to Litomerice in the second division and had three assists in three games.