Friday, December 09, 2011

Muskegon adds Panthers pick Bengtsson

Add another NHL draft pick to the Muskegon Lumberjacks’ blueline.

The Lumberjacks are pleased to announce defenseman Rasmus Bengtsson has been loaned to them by the Rogle BK hockey club in Sweden. The Florida Panthers selected the 6-foot-2, 196-pound prospect in the second round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

Bengtsson, the 59th overall selection from this past June, joins fellow left-shooting defenseman Nick Seeler, who went in the fifth round to his hometown Minnesota Wild, on the Muskegon blueline.

“We are very excited to add a player of Rasmus’ caliber,” said Lumberjacks head coach-GM Kevin Patrick. “Rogle BK’s reputation for developing elite players is well-earned and we appreciate their cooperation in giving him this opportunity.”

Rogle BK is part of the HockeyAllsvenskan, one of the top Swedish leagues, where the 18-year-old Bengtsson played 18 games this season and 45 last winter, accumulating 12 points while competing against much more mature players.

“Rasmus is a great talent, and in consensus with our coaches, we welcome this move,” said Rogle BK CEO Peter Hedlund. “It’s about finding an individual development plan for each player and in the USHL he will play many games against America’s best juniors.”

In addition to being held in high regard by the Panthers and Rogle BK, Bengtsson participated in this August’s World Junior Championship evaluation camp in Lake Placid, N.Y., as part of Team Sweden.

“Rasmus will have a chance to further develop his talents here in Muskegon and he will certainly bolster our blueline, especially on the offensive end,” Patrick said.

The website calls Bengtsson “very solid on the blueline and with the potential to become a good power-play quarterback. [He] passes the puck well and has good on-ice vision.”

The native of Landskrona, Sweden, has skated for his home nation in international junior competitions in each of the last three seasons. Bengtsson is slated to join the Lumberjacks in the near future.

In other personnel news, two forwards left the Canadian junior ranks for the shore of Lake Michigan this week as Dean Pawlaczyk and Rudy Sulmonte have joined the Jacks. Pawlaczyk, from Madison Heights, most recently skated with the OHL’s Saginaw Spirit, while Sulmonte left the QMJHL’s Moncton Wildcats to take on the USHL.

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