In just over two and half months’ time the puck will drop in the Champions Hockey League for a fifth season with 32 clubs from 13 countries battling in out for European glory.
In the first of a new weekly series on Chasing The Puck, we’ll be previewing two top players who’ll be icing in this year’s competition.
RYAN LASCH, Frölunda (Swe)
Last season was the first since the inception of the Champions Hockey League that Swedish powerhouses Frölunda failed to make the final and they’ll be looking to star player Ryan Lasch to lead them back to success after the team suffered a disappointing 2017/18 season by their high standards.
Lasch was awared MVP of the 2014/15 CHL season and the former Toronto Marlie is coming off the best of his three seasons playing in the SHL, where his 55 (15 G, 40 A) point tally was the second highest in the league. In the Champions Hockey League, Lasch was even more effective and put up over 2 points per game, totaling 4 G 11 A in only 7 games.
At just 5’7”, Lasch is somewhat lacking in height but cuts a diminutive figure with great hands and a quick release, who will also draw his team penalties. Lasch will probably be the best playmaker playing in the Champions Hockey League this year
VIKTOR FASTH, Växjö Lakers (Swe)
Experienced goaltender Viktor Fasth will be looking to go one better with Växjö this season after finishing as runners-up in last season’s Champions Hockey League.
During that run, Fasth posted 92.36 SV% and 1.84 GAA in 6 Champions Hockey League games.
Fasth, who has NHL experience with Anaheim and Edmonton despite being undrafted, enjoyed an excellent SHL season with a sterling six shut-outs in 33 regular games. Fasth posted a 2.01 GAA with a .918 SV% record in the SHL as he backstopped the Lakers to the Swedish championship.
Fasth is a hybrid-style goaltender who reads the game well with strong reflexes. Växjö will be counting on Fasth’s experience and game winning goaltending as they target their first Champions Hockey League trophy.