Sunday, October 17

Giants hoping the smart Swede will continue the trend of the senior goal team

The WHL club brought in Golden Knights prospect Jesper Vikman from Las Vegas to continue what David Tendeck and Trent Miner started at the Vancouver network.

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Vancouver Giants goalkeeper Jesper Vikman routinely appears as an old soul.

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General manager Barclay Parneta says Vikman spoke about how he wanted to be a leader, how he wanted to help younger players, in the first conversation they had about the 19-year-old Swede who arrived at the Giants’ training camp a few weeks ago. .

Giants forward Zack Ostapchuk contends that Vikman “drives himself like a pro, “before adding that” he’s always in the gym, always doing more and trying to improve. ”

Ask the Vegas Golden Knights prospect about his favorite netminders who grew up in Stockholm, and the conversation quickly turns into one about philosophies of playing the position.

He seems mature and tight, and especially for someone who plays thousands of miles from home.

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“I didn’t have a boy. I saw a lot of Finnish goalkeepers, ”said Vikman. “I have always been a fan of the Finnish style of play. I think the Finnish style is more athletic. You want to catch discs and use your hands as much as you can. There are many blockades in Sweden. I tried to get away from it, but I have it in my game if I need to use it. “

The Giants have had an elite mindset the last four seasons, first from David Tendeck, who is now in the Arizona Coyotes system, and then from Trent Miner, who is a Colorado Avalanche farmer.

In an attempt to keep that going, the Giants used the No. 8 pick in the June CHL Import Draft on Vikman, a 6-foot-3, 176-pound player who was selected in the fifth round by the Golden Knights in the 2020 NHL Draft.

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Vikman threw a 16-save shutout in Vancouver’s 5-0 opening night win on October 2, then was left alone with his own devices longer than he should have been in a 32-save performance at the Vancouver’s 6-4 victory over the team. Prince George Cougars on Saturday.

Giants goalkeeper Jesper Vikman has a water break during last Friday's game at Langley Events Center.
Giants goalkeeper Jesper Vikman has a water break during last Friday’s game at Langley Events Center. Photo by Rob Wilton

It has presence. He regularly seems unflappable. He played professional hockey in Sweden last season, with limited seasons at Sweden’s second-tier Allsvenskan and third-tier HockeyEttan. He has played internationally for Sweden and should be in his team’s mix for the World Youth Championships this December.

“We saw it in him immediately. He was selected by Las Vegas for a reason, ”said Justin Sourdif, the center who is the captain of Vancouver. “He has the makeup to be a good goalkeeper.

“He is already a professional, with the way he handles himself on the track, how he prepares and how focused he is in each practice. Treat every day like a pro. “

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As for leading, Vikman added: “It’s not something I try to focus on, but I know I have a lot of experience playing on the international stage and in professional hockey. I want to set a good example on and off the ice. Hopefully, it will spread through the group as well. “

Vikman says the smaller court and the different style of play in North America, he says there’s a greater focus on early check, leading to more turnovers, are things he’s getting used to.

He has yet to sign a contract with Vegas. According to the website capfriendly.com , the Golden Knight has five currently signed goalkeepers, including the NHL duo of Robin Lehner and Laurent Brossoit. Two of the five have no past contracts this season.

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NEXT GAME

Saturday

Kamloops Blazers vs. Vancouver Giants

7 pm, Langley Event Center, Radio: AM650


The Golden Knights are an organization that knows the WHL well. That includes general manager Kelly McCrimmon, who had been the owner, general manager, and coach of the Brandon Wheat Kings, and AHL Henderson Silver Knights assistant coach Jamie Heward, who was the associate coach to Vancouver chief bench Michael Dyck. , before signing with the Golden Knights franchise. .

“Vegas wants me to come here with a good mindset and develop myself,” Vikman said. “They want me to play a lot and try to win games.”

Will Gurski, who turns 19 next week, is Vikman’s backup with Vancouver. The Giants traded Gurski from Winnipeg Ice last month in exchange for a 2021 ninth-round pick. The Giants traded 18-year-old goalkeeper Drew Sim on Wednesday, sending him to Regina Pats for a 2024 conditional fourth round. Sim he had split tasks with Miner at the BC Division center in Kamloops and Kelowna last spring. Sim was 5-2-0-0 with 3.20 goals against average and a .828 save percentage in center.

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