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Blackhawks Europe prospect update for 12/19: That’s Captain Stjernborg to you

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Hockey: IIHF U20 World Championship - Third Place Game
Victor Stjernborg battles with Team Czechia defensemen Ales Cech.
Perry Nelson-USA TODAY Sports

Checking in on the Chicago Blackhawks prospects currently playing in Europe.

Finland

Antti Saarela, Lukko (Liiga)

Stats: 7 points (3 G, 4 A) in 22 games played

Two assists in the seven games since we last checked in on Saarela as he works his way back from the leg injury he suffered in October. Saarela continues to get solid minutes for Lukko — who is currently the best team in all of Liiga. He recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of scoring the fastest hat trick in league history.

Riku Tohila, on loan to KuePA HT

Stats: 2 A in 2 GP since promotion

Tohila is on loan to KuePA as they compete for the Suomen Cup/Finnish Cup, where it’s currently undefeated and leading their group. Tohila is one of the youngest players in the entire tournament and recently notched his first professional point.

Russia

Ilya Safonov, Ak Bars Kazan (KHL)

Stats: 20 points (11 G, 9 A) in 37 games played

Picked up four assists in his last five KHL games. He’s also currently on loan, playing for Team Russia in the Channel One Cup, where he has a goal and two assists in the first two games of the tournament.

Sweden

Victor Stjernborg, Växjö Lakers HC (SHL)

Stats: 4 points (0 G, 4 A) in 26 games played

Stjernborg (hurts my brain to type it) is also currently on loan, serving as captain for Team Sweden in the WJC. The Swedes are not only one of the top contenders at the tournament, but also worth paying attention to because 2023 draft eligible super prospect Leo Carlsson is on the roster and seems like a lock to be picked somewhere in the top five next summer.

Czech

Michael Krutil, HC Sparta Praha (Czechia) / HC Banik Sokolov (Czechia 2)

Stats: 0 points in 18 games played, minus-5 overall

Rough stretch for Krutil continues through Czechia 2. It doesn’t bode well that he hasn’t seemed to make any significant adjustments to his game, even after dropping two levels.