I saw Oscar Moller and Bud Holloway play for the SHL's top-ranked Skellefteå in Stockholm the other night. While Skellefteå displayed their clear superiority over their hosts, the cellar-dwelling AIK with a 6-2 win, I have to say I was rather impressed with them, especially Moller.
Moller had two goals and an assist, and was consistently using his speed to blow by AIK's defenders. He was also adept at finding open space in the offensive zone, and was the benefactor of some great playmaking from linemate and fellow NHL refugee-returned-home Joakim Lindstrom. Lindstrom set up Moller's second goal with a beautiful pass as Moller lurked into the slot and fired a quick shot over the goaltender's shoulder. Moller could have easily had a hat trick, as he had at least 4 or 5 quality scoring chances. He also did well to keep defenders off-balance, as he worked the left point on Skellefteå's top powerplay unit. Lindstrom and Moller are one and two in scoring for Skellefteå this season, and Lindstrom is currently second in the SHL in points with 61. And yet neither of them played more than 17 minutes, as they play on the team's second line, behind a first line anchored by Swedish Olympian Jimmie Ericsson. The trio of Moller, Lindstrom and the awesomely-named Melker Karlsson do, however, seem to get the bulk of Skellefteå's powerplay ice time.
Moller also racked up four more points, including a hat trick in Skellefteå's next game against Leksand. He now sits third in the SHL's goalscoring race, posting 26-18-44 in 45 games, which is good enough for sixth in points, with just three games left on the regular season schedule.
Holloway, meanwhile, wasn't as noticeable as Moller against AIK, as he was playing on Skellefteå's third line and played 14 minutes. His line was effective at even strength, and cashed in on a couple of good chances; both of which Holloway drew primary assists on. The first assist was a great display of vision, as Holloway found a loose puck behind the goal line, and immediately threw in out front onto a teammate's stick. The second was a well-placed pass which was admittedly poorly-defended. He also showed off some slick moves with the puck, as he twice toe-dragged in his defensive zone to buy himself some more time on the breakout (although I don't think many NHL coaches, especially Darryl Sutter, would appreciate that tactic).
Highlights of the game can be found here, while a box score is here. Moller's goals are the second and third scored by Skellefteå (in white), while Holloway's assists come on the first and fourth Skellefteå goals.
As I watched the game I began to wonder; are they still Kings property if they ever decide to come back across the pond? And if they are, how long does LA retain their NHL rights if they continue to play in Europe? Even if they don't come back and wear silver and black, they should have some kind of minimal value, shouldn't they?
I looked under "Prospects" on the Kings' website and they are both still listed there so I'm assuming the Kings are currently holding their NHL rights, but I'm not very familiar with the rules in this situation. If anyone has any knowledge on the subject, it would be great if you could share it!