Mooseheads Go Big at Import Draft

Nikolaj Ehlers plays for HC Biel of the Swiss League

Nikolaj Ehlers plays for HC Biel of the Swiss League

It has been forever, since I have updated this blog and I hope to rememdy that situation. I thought why not start the new era of this blog, with the new era of the Halifax Mooseheads.

Coming off the Memorial Cup Championship, the team could have a dramatic face lift next year. There’s a good chance they will have lost the entire first line. Gone for sure are imports Marty Frk and Konrad Albeltshauser, as they graduate to the pro ranks. A victim of their own talent, #1 overall pick in the NHL draft Nathan MacKinnon and #3 overall Jonathan Drouin could be playing in the NHL next season as well. That leaves big hole in the offence.

To fill the two vacant import slot and try to add some more offecne at the same time, GM Cam Russell selected Nikolaj Ehlers and Timo Meier with the #6 and #12 overall picks in the CHL Import Draft respectively.

So who are these guys?

Well, I don’t know a lot about them, as my opportunities to get to the rinks in Swtizerland are few and far between. Ehlers is Danish (Mmmmmm…danish) to begin with, but he plays in Switzerland. He began last season off with the Biel Junior squad where he posted a very encouraging stat line of 30 G, 23 A in 40 games before jumping to the pro level team where he registered 1 G and 4 A over an 18 game run.

Some had questioned his willingness to come to North America prior to the draft, but according to Chronicle Herald reporter Willy Palov, GM Cam Russell is confident both players will be in training camp this summer. This is despite Ehlers signing a pro contract with HC Biel this past April. CHL rules now restrict teams from buying out contracts, so I am not sure if there is some other factors involved.

But the team seems to have done their homework on Ehlers at least.

If I only know a little about Ehlers, I know even less about Timo Meier. I can glean some positives from Meier’s stats though. Despite only being 16, he played with the Swiss U-18 team throughout the year, with two games played in the actual World Championship Tournament in Sochi where he failed to make the scoresheet. Over the rest of the year with the team he had four goals and an assist in six games. In the same Swiss junior league as Ehlers, Meier had 16 G, 22 A in 39 games.

Through message boards and other online resources I have heard very positive things about Ehlers and the reviews have been pretty good for Meier as well. It will be interesting to see how these two talents can perform. Hopefully we’ll keep expectations in check, because while the Mooseheads are losing imports and team leaders Frk and Abeltshauser and possibly MacKinnon and Drouin, these kids are not them, but could develop into quality players in their own right.


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