TORONTO — Simply because Pierre Engvall’s out of the American Hockey League, it doesn’t imply he’s performed creating his sport.
Engvall scored his second objective in as many video games on Saturday night time, the eventual winner within the Toronto Maple Leafs’ Three-Zero shutout of the visiting New York Islanders. The objective was arrange by a stunning play by Engvall’s linemate Kasperi Kapanen, sliding the puck between a defender’s legs earlier than backhanding a go to Engvall within the slot.
Though it was simply his 21st sport within the NHL, Engvall nonetheless had the presence of thoughts to hesitate barely and get Islanders goalie Semyon Varlamov to commit earlier than wrisitng the puck into the online.
Pierre Engvall, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
“On the objective I simply tried to carry on to it for a second to get the goalie shifting and I feel I discovered the spot there. It was very nice to see it go in,” mentioned Engvall. “Clearly, Kapi… I don’t know what to say about that play but it surely was actually good.”
Engvall’s Path to NHL
Engvall was drafted by Toronto within the seventh spherical of the 2014 NHL Draft however continued enjoying in his native Sweden earlier than making one post-season look for the AHL’s Toronto Marlies within the 2017 Calder Cup playoffs.
He then spent a lot of the 2017-18 Swedish League season with HV71 Jonkoping earlier than returning to Toronto for 9 regular-season video games and profitable the 2018 Calder Cup with the Marlies.
In 2018-19, he spent your entire AHL marketing campaign underneath the tutelage of Toronto head coach Sheldon Keefe, who can also be now with the Maple Leafs after beginning this season with the Marlies.
By Engvall’s time within the AHL and now his rookie season within the NHL, Keefe has put an emphasis on the younger Swede’s defensive play. Keefe sees numerous potential in Engvall and needs to ensure he has a well-rounded sport.
“Huge man, very sturdy, skates and strikes very effectively, has a very good ability set, there’s a lot to work with there,” mentioned Keefe after Saturday’s sport. “You recognize sufficient about him earlier than he even arrives to the Marlies, varied camps and reviews you get from when he’s enjoying in Sweden, when a man with that bodily package deal arrives you’re fairly enthusiastic about him.
“I feel the expertise of enjoying within the Calder Cup actually gave him an important sense of how he can use his ability set to be very arduous to play towards.”
Paired with Kapanen & Spezza
Now that Engvall has a way of what it takes to be defensively dependable, Keefe has paired him with Kapanen and veteran centre Jason Spezza to assist him hone his offensive abilities on the NHL stage.
Kasperi Kapanen, Toronto Maple Leafs (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
“Spezza is a large a part of (our success). He is aware of what to say to us to get us going. He’s serving to us with our positioning,” mentioned Engvall. “Clearly, Kapi’s a quick skater and I’m a very good skater too in order that helps lots.
“(Spezza) is only a actually optimistic man. When you’ve got a nasty shift, he tells you ‘strive to do that, strive to do that,’ after which we determine it out nearly each time.”
That veteran affect is clearly already having an impression on Engvall, who has three targets in his previous 4 video games and 5 targets in the final eight, the lion’s share of his six targets on the season.
This report by The Canadian Press was first printed Jan. 5, 2020.
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John Chidley-Hill, The Canadian Press