Forward Lucas Elvenes wasn’t a huge scorer in Sweden.
Playing last season for Rogle BK Angelholm, Elvenes had three goals and 17 assists in 42 games. Nothing in those numbers suggested the 20-year-old would produce right away for the Wolves, who lost their top scorers from the 2018-19 Western Conference champions and figured to need some offensive punch.
Though the Wolves have struggled to score, Elvenes has contributed plenty.
“We’re really happy with the development so far,” Wolves coach Rocky Thompson said.
Playing on a line with Gage Quinney and Tye McGinn, Elvenes has kept the Wolves offense afloat. Entering Saturday’s game, Elvenes has been a part of 11 goals (three goals and eight assists).
Not counting shootouts, the Wolves had 16 as a team over their first seven games. Wednesday’s 3-2 win was over Texas was the first time they scored more than two in open play since their Oct. 5 opener.
“He’s been that much a part of our offense,” Thompson said. “Exactly what we were hoping and we wanted to give him an opportunity early to see if that could happen and it’s happening for him. It’s good.”
OK, but why didn’t he put up points last season in Sweden? And where does the jump in production come from?
To answer the first question, Elvenes said he got off to a bad start and it took him time to get into a rhythm.
As for the second question, Thompson and Elvenes were both quick to credit how Quinney’s intelligent game and the grittiness of McGinn have contributed. Then there’s the North American playing surface, which is smaller than what Elvenes competed on in Sweden.
Elvenes agreed his offensive game fits better in North America than it did in Europe. He also likes how his linemates are showing him how to navigate the rink.
“I always thought the smaller ice was better for me,” Elvenes said. “It fits me better and (Quinney and McGinn) have played a lot on the smaller ice and they know exactly and can teach me everything they can. It helps me a lot too.”
Taken by Vegas in the fifth round of the 2017 draft, Elvenes opened eyes during the Golden Knights’ training camp earlier this year. That confidence has carried over and isn’t exactly hurting him now.
“It helps a lot,” Elvenes said. “I think playing against NHL players helps a lot when you come down here and you know what’s going on. A lot of the guys who (were) up there, we’re going to play against them here, so I think that (was) a good lesson to be there.”
Just beginning his North American career, Elvenes isn’t a finished product. He said he needs to get stronger and add some physicality to his game. There will be hiccups and maybe some stretches without points, but Elvenes is off to a good start.
“It’s got to be a continued process,” Thompson said. “There’s still areas of his game that, when he’s doing them right it even gives him more opportunity. It’s a great start, which is good.”