While the NHL is in the midst of its most unusual autumn offseason, some European hockey leagues are up and running.
As a result, NHL clubs are taking advantage of the opportunity to get playing time for some of their prospects — loaning them to clubs in various leagues.
By the middle of this week, the total number of loaned players had risen to 163. The Philadelphia Flyers are near the top of the list with seven players out on loans.
UPDATE: Despite the challenges with increased infection rates, the number of NHL-contracted players loaned to European clubs increases. Now at 163.
Compiled by @AZadarski of @HabsEOTP & @TSN690 pic.twitter.com/IB3Ph8Bopj
— EuropeanHockeyClubs (@EHCAlliance) October 21, 2020
Here’s who they are, and what they’ve been up to so far this season:
On October 5, Sandstrom was loaned to Vasterviks IK of Sweden’s second-tier league, Allsvenskan. The 23-year-old netminder, who was drafted in the third round in 2015, is off to an 0-2-0 start, despite a dazzling .930 save percentage.
A native of Galve, Sweden, Sandstrom spent most of last season with the Reading Royals of the ECHL. He has appeared in two AHL games so far and has yet to make his NHL debut.
Another netminder chosen in the third round, this time in 2017, Ustimenko was loaned back to his hometown squad in Gomel, Belarus on October 2.
After coming up through the Russian hockey system, the 21-year-old made the jump to North America last season. He also spent most of the year in Reading and appeared in five AHL games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
Ustimenko has appeared in two games for Gomel, with a .910 save percentage so far.
A fifth-round selection in 2016, this defenseman was set to make the jump to North America from his native Sweden this fall, after signing a two-year entry-level contract with the Flyers in May.
Instead, Hogberg was loaned to Allsvenskan’s Vita Hasten HC on September 17. In six games, Vita Hasten is 3-3-0. Hogberg has two assists and six penalty minutes.
The Flyers’ first-round pick in 2016, this Russian center has followed a North American development path ever since he was drafted — first in the KHL and then with the Phantoms.
He was limited to just 14 AHL games in 2018-19. Last season, Rubtsov got his first crack at NHL ice time. He saw limited minutes in three games in November and one in January.
Now, he’s back in Mother Russia. After joining the Flyers for training camp this summer, he didn’t make the final roster to go to the bubble in Toronto and was subsequently loaned to HC Sochi on August 23.
So far, the 23-year-old has a goal and an assist in 11 KHL games so far. He has missed some time with a facial injury.
A fifth-round pick in 2015, Kase is a native of the Czech Republic and the younger brother of Ondrej Kase, now of the Boston Bruins.
Now 23, David is versatile. He plays all forward positions. He came over to North America after agreeing to terms on his entry-level contract in the summer of 2018 and played his first six NHL games last season.
His first NHL goal came on December 17, 2019 — against his brother on his former team, the Anaheim Ducks.
City of brotherly love? Playing against his brother Ondrej in Philadelphia Tuesday, David Kase scored his first NHL goal – with his parents in the building all the way from Czech Republic! pic.twitter.com/k3Vmn68hGT
— NHLPA (@NHLPA) December 18, 2019
On August 11, the Flyers lent David Kase back to Karlovy Vary HC of the Czech League. He has three assists in four games there so far.
Another player with NHL bloodlines, Linus Sandin is the older brother of Toronto Maple Leafs’ first-round draft pick Rasmus Sandin.
While Rasmus plays defense, Linus is a forward. And after he finished second in team scoring on HV71 Jonkoping in the top Swedish League last season, the Flyers inked him to a free-agent contract last April.
On August 7, the club agreed to loan him back to HV71 to start this season. He’s off to another productive start, with six points in his first eight games.
Another Belarusian, Sushko made the jump to Canadian major junior hockey before his 2017 draft year, when he was chosen in the fourth round by the Flyers.
The right winger turned pro last season, putting up 21 points in 53 games with the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.
The Flyers elected to loan him out on July 17, placing him with the KHL team in Belarus, Dyamo Minsk. He has one goal in nine games so far.