Artturi Lehkonen and Martin Reway are having incredibly encouraging starts to the season.
Lehkonen is showing what a full summer of training can do for an athlete, by almost scoring at a point per game rate in SHL. Reway leads the Czech Extraliga in scoring, and is currently in talks with Sparta Prague for a contract extension.
The other European prospects are having mixed success. Joonas Nättinen is out; injured. Lukas Vejdemo is quietly settling in to life in the SHL, and Magnus Nygren contniues to show off his most deadly tool - his shot.
Joonas Nättinen, JYP Jyväskylä
Nättinen is out with a lower-body injury and will be out for a few weeks more according to what I have been told.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården IF
Vejdemo still gets roughly 13-14 minutes of ice time a game, and I rarely see him turn over the puck. It does, however, seem like he sometimes plays it too safe, not that it's a major flaw. I see it more as he knows he is still earning his place in the lineup, and in a very typical fashion he plays classic Swedish hockey, safe and boring.
It's encouraging that the coach still trusts him, and if he continues to receive a decent amount of ice time he'll benefit from it in the long run.
Magnus Nygren, Färjestad
He has taken the next step, and become the powerplay quarterback we all expecteded him to be.
He is flat out dominant during the man-advantage. If the team marks him, others are left unmarked. If they don't mark him, Nygren's unleashes his lethal shot. He leads by example in many ways, and while Färjestad doesn't really need that kind of leader, as they are stacked all through the roster with great leaders, they sure are benefiting from it.
Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda
Lehkonen has played his heart and soul out. I can honestly say that this is the best hockey he's ever played for a prolonged period of time.
Wednesday's game against HV71 is the best single game I have seen him play. He might have scored two hat-tricks last season, but as a complete game this was just magnificent. The breakout season I expected last year is happening right before our eyes.
Last year Lehkonen had 16 points (8+8), whereas this year he is already up to nine in 11 games. It will be interesting to see if he can sustain his current scoring rate, although I probably wouldn't bet against it.
Martin Reway, Sparta Prague
15 points in 14 games is good enough for being alone on top of the Czech Extraliga scoring table. It also seems to be good enough for extension talk to begin with Sparta Prague.
It is well deserved, Reway has produced a lot more on 5-on-5 play so far this season compared to last. What might be a bit disappointing, and to be fair I am nitpicking here, is that he failed to score in the last three shootout attempts he has taken.
His ice time does seem to vary a lot, and I know the Sparta's coach and Reway don't always see eye to eye, but with the talent that Reway displays you have no choice but to give him some leeway.
As Ivan Hlinka said when talking about the talented forward: "I wasn't always a lamb either."