två IK Oskarshamnsstjärnor ansluter till HV71

Oscar Fisker Mølgaard, 19, has signed a three-year, two-way, entry-level contract with the Seattle Kraken worth an average of $950,000 US per season, the NHL club announced on Friday.Hockeyexpertens råd till HV71 efter damlagets kritik: ”Gör det enda rätta”  - P4 Jönköping | Sveriges Radio

“We are excited for Oscar to officially join our organization,” Kraken GM Ron Francis said on the team’s website. “He has already demonstrated the ability to play at a high level in the Swedish Hockey League and at the World Championships and we look forward to his continued development.”

As with many entry-level deals for young Europeans who are probably not quite ready to step into the NHL, signing the contract does not mean he’ll be going to North America immediately. While playing for the AHL’s Coachella Valley Firebirds next season is certainly a possibility, Mølgaard seems to be developing at a good pace in Sweden with HV71, and that might be the ideal place for him to continue in 2024-25.

While Mølgaard’s 2023-24 stats aren’t eye-popping – 21 points in 50 games – he started producing a lot more as the season progressed, especially after team president Johan Lindbom took over behind the bench mid-season. After Christmas and a spell with the Danish national junior team at the Division I Group A World Junior Championship, Mølgaard went on a bit of a tear, collecting 15 points in 19 games.

“It started off pretty slow and we got a new coach after 12 games, but the new coach gave me the opportunity to play on the second line, on the power play and to kill penalties too,” Mølgaard said during the World Championship in Prague. “So I was playing a lot and you get some pretty valuable experience playing in those situations. It turned out to be a pretty good year and hopefully, I can keep it going next year.”

Besides guidance with HV71, Mølgaard also has a good relationship with Danish hockey legend Frans Nielsen, who conveniently works for the Kraken as a scout and development coach.

“I talk to him once or twice a week and he sends me clips. I really appreciate that,” Mølgaard said about Nielsen. “The way he played, the way he battled, he was so smart with the puck. He was my idol growing up so I try to do the same things he did and I just listen to everything he’s got to say.”

“That’s obviously a great mentor for him,” said Danish national team veteran Patrick Russell. “A center, a guy who’s been through a lot. He needs to listen to what (Nielsen) has to say and keep going.”

Staying at least one more year in Europe also means regular international breaks with the Danish national team, and opportunities to play with and learn from Russell, Oliver Lauridsen and other veteran players there.

“They’ve told me that the mental thing is the hardest part,” said Mølgaard. “You can always get better at the hockey stuff but you’ve got to be strong in your head, and that’s what I’m trying to work on the most. To keep going when things aren’t going my way and work hard every day.”

“He always tries to learn, tries to work harder, and is always in the gym with us, so I try to talk to him a lot,” said Russell. “He always wants to hear what the older players have to say. He’s a smart kid and he’ll have a great career.”

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