The AHL All Star Classic pitted the league’s top stars against the professionals from the Swedish Elite League – Färjestad BK. The result turned out to be far more shocking than I was expecting. The AHL All Stars absolutely skated circles around Färjestad BK and won by a hefty 7-2 scoreline. Yeeeeeek!
Åberg, a second round draft pick of the Nashville Predators in the 2012 NHL Draft, didn’t have the sharpest of nights. Good news? He wasn’t alone in that respect for Färjestad BK. In truth, he made plenty of good looking plays – particularly working in and out of the neutral zone. Where all his good work seemed to fall flat was that he appeared to want to pass the puck more than shoot it. He was creating some space for himself – but then looking for a teammate. When he would pick out his teammate it seemed to take them by surprise. I was expecting to see more of this from a hodgepodge of AHL talent than a team that played together for a half-season so far.
It might have been a very small sample size – but it was my real first chance to view what Åberg is capable of. What I was left with from this game was the feeling of a player that does very much with very little. Still, that could be extremely harsh considering the circumstances of a game like this. He appears to move, skate, and stickhandle well enough. Should he find himself in Milwaukee in the near future… I’m hoping to see a mix of Miikka Salomaki and the next guy we’ll talk about.
If you didn’t get to watch last night’s AHL All Star Classic, but have watched Sissons play before, good news! You didn’t miss anything. Perhaps what is most impressive of his night might just be that. Regardless of the stage – he played just like he always does: smart, contained, aggressive while on the puck if he has the room to go for it, and defended well around the net. He never looked like anything more or anything less than what we’ve all seen before – and I count that as a plus!
Sissons highlight of the night included earning a plus while being on the ice for the AHL’s third goal of the game scored by Ben Street. Annoyingly, he didn’t get a point from the play – but probably deserved a primary assist as much as Jason Jaffray did. Sissons movements off of the puck created the goal. He was set up on the right faceoff area while the puck was behind the net – moved forward to goal – which sucked in Magnus Nygren from his left wing spot before being drawn back – then, with Nygren abandoning him, he was surrounded by Linus Froberg and Tomas Hyka. Him getting Nygren’s attention, all by skating in on the slot, allowed Street to be all alone on the left wing for a one-timed shot. I talk about it time and time again with Sissons. He just finds the perfect soft spots on the ice to create. In this case, his movement drew in three members of Färjestad BK and freed Street up for a shot. No assist for Sissons – but he did much to set the play up.
The rigorous travel will continue for Sissons now. He flew out to St. John’s late Sunday night after the Admirals played against the Chicago Wolves. Now, he basically has one day off – probably used to travel back – before the team plays on Friday against the Iowa Wild. Busy? Yes. Rewarding? Absolutely.
Catch the AHL All Star Classic? Surprised to see the AHL All Stars rock Färjestad BK like they did? What do you think about Colton Sissons and Pontus Åberg? Where do you see their careers going and could they end up playing together in the near future?