Andreas Holmqvist, Andreas Falk and Daniel Tjärnqvist - Swedish Trio in Cologne [DEL]
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02-25-2013, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Bergisch Gladbach
Another update from the Swedish colony in German hockey.
Andreas Holmqvist: 46 GP, 11 goals - 35 assists - 46 points (28 PPP), -6 [7th in scoring, 1st for D]
Daniel Tjärnqvist: 45 GP, 5 goals - 19 assists - 24 points, -10
Andreas Falk: 46 GP, 3 goals - 27 assists - 30 points, -3
With just four regular season games remaining, the Haie are five points clear of Mannheim to lead the league, and have already secured home ice throughout the semifinal, should they get there. They have generally looked strong against good competition, while seldomly blowing teams away. They have established themselves as a strong contender this year, but the league is tight, and the playoffs should be incredibly hard-fought.
Our Swedes play a huge part in that. When some of you told me that on his good days, Holmqvist was one of the best puckmovers in the SEL, I was quite optimistic, but he handily beat those expectations offensively. He's the best offensive defender in the league in years. His point-per-game pace from the blueline puts him top-10 in the league in scoring. The second-best offensive output for defenseman is lightyears away at 29 points, which is just one more than Holmqvist's pure powerplay numbers. The team's powerplay has been alright, and it would likely be a mess if it wasn't for him. His vision and slappers are a treat, and the team has gotten better at expecting his slap passes into the slot looking for redirections. There's obviously defensively questionable decision-making at times, but it's an instance where the good actually outweighs the bad quite easily.
Tjärnqvist has been Holmers partner almost all year. He's mainly trying to not be anything fancy, cover up when it's needed, and is efficient at that more often than not. Isn't quite as stable defensively as some hoped, but still has been fine, and isn't afraid to pinch in offensively when the right situation comes up.
Falk has been centering the nominal 1st line all year, but that's on a team that distributes the ice time more evenly than maybe any other team in the league among its top-9. He has been a perfect addition in many ways: he wins more faceoffs than he loses, plays as responsibly defensively as advertised, and plays with a lot of grit and gets under his opponents' skin. He didn't suddenly become an outstanding playmaker, but he did find decent chemistry with the offensive weapons on his line (most steadily Chris Minard). He also happened to be incredibly snake-bitten in terms of goalscoring, and I think two of his three goals might have come off crazy bounces to boot.
He strikes me as the type of guy that will find another gear in the postseason, so I'm looking forward to that.
All of these guys have also re-signed with the team for the next year, which is pretty great to see, given the dramatic leap forward the club has enjoyed since they arrived.
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