Chicago Blackhawks forward prospect Tim Söderlund will begin competing in the Champions Hockey League this week. Niklas Nordgren could also play.
Söderlund, a 2017 fourth-round pick, will play for two-time CHL winners Frölunda of Sweden, while 2018 third-round selection Nordgren has the potential to suit up for Finland’s HIFK.
The CHL is an annual 32-team tournament that runs from today through Oct. 17. The tournament is comprised of teams from various European first-tier leagues, including 24 teams from the six founding leagues in Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Switzerland and Sweden. The Continental Cup champions and national champions from Belarus, Denmark, France, Great Britain, Norway, Poland and Slovakia also compete.
Finland: JYP (2018 CHL winner), *Kärpät, TPS, Tappara and HIFK
Sweden: *Växjö, Djuragârdens, Skellefteå and Malmö
Czech Republic: *Kometa Brno, HC Plzen, Mountfield HK, Ocelári Trinec
Switzerland: *ZSC Lions, SC Bern, EV Zug, HC Lugano
Germany: *Red Bull München, Eisbären Berlin, Nürnberg Ice Tigers
Italy: *HC Bolzano
Austria: *Vienna Capitals, Red Bull Salzburg
Belarus: Yunost Minsk (Continental Cup winner), *Neman Grodno
Slovakia: *HC ’05 Banská Bystrica
Norway: *Storhamar Ishockey
Great Britain: *Cardiff Devils
Denmark: Aalborg Pirates
France: *Dragons de Rouen
Poland: *GKS Tychy
Teams were drawn into eight groups of four teams for six round-robin games both home and away. The top two teams from each group qualify for the round of 16.
About Söderlund, Nordgren
It will be Söderlund’s first season with Frölunda after developing in Skellefteå’s system. In his first full SHL season, Söderlund tallied nine goals and 14 points in 43 games in 2017-18. He’ll play on Frölunda’s top line with Joel Lundqvist and Ryan Lasch in the same spot Victor Olofsson, who won the SHL scoring title last season, had. Söderlund was ranked No. 20 in Second City Hockey’s 2018 Top 25 Under 25 rankings.
Nordgren, who is only 18, will likely see his first full season of Liiga action. The 5-foot-9, 170-pound right winger tallied 13 goals and 42 points in 28 games in Finland’s top junior league last season and three assists in 15 Liiga games. He also posted eight goals with two assists to help Finland capture the under-18 World Junior Championship gold medal. Nordgren ranked No. 24 in SCH’s T25U25 series.
Frölunda is in Group A with ZSC Lions, Vienna Capitals and Aalborg Pirates.
Here’s Frölunda’s group stage schedule:
Aug. 30: at Vienna (1:30 p.m.)
Sept. 1: at ZSC Lions (12:45 p.m.)
Sept. 6: vs. ZSC Lions (11:30 a.m.)
Sept. 8: vs. Vienna (8 a.m.)
Oct. 9: vs. Aalborg (11:30 a.m.)
Oct. 16: at Aalborg (12:30 p.m.)
HIFK is in Group C with HC Bolzano, Skellefteå AIK and GKS Tychy.
Here’s HIFK’s group stage schedule:
Aug. 31: at GKS Tychy (10:30 a.m.)
Sept. 2: at HC Bolzano (11:30 a.m.)
Sept. 6: vs. HC Bolzano (11 a.m.)
Sept. 8: vs. GKS Tychy (11 a.m.)
Oct. 9: vs. Skellefteå AIK (11 a.m.)
Oct. 16: at Skellefteå AIK (11:30 a.m.)
*All times Central
How to watch
CHL games are available on NHL Network and TSN in the United States and Canada, respectively. If games are not broadcasted live on TV, they’ll be available via the CHL website/app.