"YOU'RE GOING TO SWEDEN TOO?!?!" -Bobby Ryan - Jeff Gross
The first edition of Outside the Pond - covering the locked out Ducks in Europe - features Cam Fowler and Bobby Ryan's respective debuts in Sweden's second tier league, Nick Bonino tearing it up on an Italian vacation and much, much more...
As you may have noticed, on the heels of Bobby Ryan and Cam Fowler signing in Sweden's HockeyAllsvenskan, Outside the Nest has been split up into two separate posts. Future of the Franchise Fridays will keep you up to date on prospects and Outside the Pond is fully dedicated to our overseas Ducks.
Bobby Ryan (Mora IK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden)
Our media-friendly and sometimes controversial left winger is the most recent Duck to sign overseas. Ryan, who on October 4th said that NHLers should be staying home to fight the lockout battle, signed with Mora IK of Sweden's second-tier pro league, 67 days into the lockout.
Mora currently sits sixth in the Allsvenskan. Los Angeles Kings center Anze Kopitar, who has 24 points in 21 games for MIK, is likely to be Ryan's running mate on the team's top line. Bobby played his first game on Wednesday, finishing with two goals and a plus-2 rating in a 5-1 blowout of Tingsryds AIF.
Luca Sbisa (HC Lugano, National League A, Switzerland)
One of the first Ducks to sign overseas (only seven days into the lockout), defenseman Luca Sbisa has put together a solid campaign so far in his home country of Switzerland.
Sbisa has helped Lugano to a seventh place standing, alongside Boston Bruins center Patrice Bergeron as well as former NHLers Glen Metropolit and Brett McLean. Sbisa is shouldering a big load as a first pairing defenseman, ranking ninth on the team with ten points, and second among defensemen with five goals. He has also been trigger-happy, with 60 shots through 20 games.
Cam Fowler (Södertälje SK, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden)
Through five games, Fowler has two assists and is paired with Philadelphia Flyers' defenseman Nicklas Grossman.
Nick Bonino (HC Neumarkt-Egna, Serie A2, Italy)
Center Nick Bonino signed with little-known HC Neumarkt-Enga on October 18th. Bonino, seemed to show increased abilities under Ducks' head coach Bruce Boudreau, a welcome change to Randy Carlyle's youth-averse system.
Since then, it appears that Bonino's proficiency for scoring has increased immensely (although it is a second-tier league in Italy). Bonino leads the Serie A2 in scoring, with 36 points, 16 goals and 20 assists, in 12 games played. As a result, Neumarkt is in sole possession of first place.
[Ed. Note: After watching Bobby's goals in Sweden, I can't even imagine what the goaltending is like in the Italian second tier]
Matt Beleskey (Coventry Blaze, Elite Ice Hockey League, Great Britain)
I thought Matt Beleskey really started to find his groove last season. In an effort to continue his progression, the left winger chose a league off-the-beaten-path signing with the Coventry Blaze in Britain on October 9th.
Coventry is third from last in the league, but Beleskey has shown healthy production with 16 points in 15 games played and 31 penalty minutes.
Viktor Fasth (Tingsryds AIF, HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden)
Viktor Fasth was one of the Elitserien's best goaltenders last season, drawing comparisons to Henrik Lundquist. After being heavily courted by a number of different teams, he signed with the Ducks this summer. Of course, due to the lockout, his debut has been postponed. Fasth didn't wait long to return to Sweden, signing with Tingsryds AIF only five days into the lockout.
His contract was originally a temporary pact of only five games, but the team and Fasth's reps extended it to 12 games. His sterling numbers with the club (1.68 GAA, .942 SV%) have not fully translated into wins however, as he's posted a record of only 4-7-1.
Fasth is rehabbing a few injuries at this point, predominantly his hip and groin, but could manage to play some more games with the Tingsryds if the lockout continues. His numbers place him first on the Allsvenskan site among goaltenders with the caveat of a small sample size.
Sweden: Bobby's Mora squad faces 12th place Almtuna IS on Friday, while Fowler's Södertälje club faces tenth place IF Troja/Ljungby. The two Ducks face-off head-to-head when Cam and Södertälje visit Mora on Tuesday.
Switzerland: Sbisa and Lugano have a tough week ahead, as they take on former Duck Ryan Shannon and fourth place ZSC on Friday at home. Then they hit the road to take on Logan Couture and first place Geneve-Servette, and finish the week back at home to eighth place EHC Biel, a team that boasts Tyler Seguin and Patrick Kane. Rough.
Italy: Bonino has a relatively casual weekend, just like all the other ringers in beer leagues around the world, as his Neumarkt squad plays two games, first against SV Kaltern on Friday, and then against HC Eppan on Sunday.
Great Britain: Beleskey registered zeros across the board in the Blaze's 5-2 victory over the Edinburgh Capitals. Coventry plays two games this weekend, first on the road against Dundee (third overall), and then returning home the next day to face Braehead (fifth overall).
Hellooooo Bobby Ryan. Welcome to Mora!