Rangers Prospect Recap: Virta, Ragnarsson, and More
Jacob Ragnarsson and his team Almtuna IS have not been able to avoid finishing in the bottom-two this season. With just seconds left in their game against AIK, Almtuna had a 4-3 lead which would have put them above Tinsgryd and be safe. AIK equalized and sent the game into overtime, and with that, it meant they would finish 13th. Had they won in regulation, they would have gotten three points instead of two and would’ve finished 12th. Almtuna now faces a promotion-relegation playoff with a team from Hockeyettan, the third level in Sweden.
Calle Själin’s team Leksands qualified for the Slutspelsserien (playoffs to determine who wins promotion to SHL). Teams 3–8 from the regular season will play a single round-robin tournament. Leksands finished third in the regular season, and they will start with games on Tuesday (Västerås) and Thursday (Karlskoga).
Nils Lundkvist is still recovering from an ankle injury. I met him on Saturday, and he was walking with some discomfort but told me he expects to be back on the ice in two weeks. His team, Luleå, won all three of their games this past week, defeating HV71 and Linköping (home and away). Luleå also set an SHL record for wins in a row in away games with 11. This week, they lost to Färjestad in a game that would decide who finished atop the league in the regular season, which comes with a 1 million SEK bonus. Luleå is now likely to finish in second place.
The other Rangers prospect currently in the SHL, Patrik Virta, added an assist which was his 10th point (5G, 5A) in 14 games for Örebro. With a win this week over Mora, and Brynäs losing to Linköping, Virta’s team is now in a playoff spot for the first time this season. With just one game to go in their season as they head to Malmö, and Brynäs in Göteborg against Frölunda, they have a good chance of finishing in 12th place and being the last team to qualify for the preliminary rounds of the playoffs.