This week was a mixed bag for the prospects with a break in European professional league action for international play.
Joonas Nättinen, JYP
Nättinen will be well rested when Liiga action resumes, as he hasn't played in over a week.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården
Vejdemo was with the U20s that placed second in the 4 Nations tournament between the Czech Republic, Russia, Sweden, and host Finland. I have not been able to find time-on-ice data for the tournament, though Vejdemo was usually on the fourth line, and went -2 in the tournament.
He seems to have been doing okay, with presumably tough deployments, but he was a regular in the faceoff circle and seems to have done relatively well in that department.
Magnus Nygren, Färjestad BK
Nygren was part of the Swedish team that successfully defended its Karjala Cup victory from last year. The tournament's website design made checking statistics difficult, but it seems the only worthy stat was that Nygren took two penalties, and had an even goal differential over the tournament.
Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda HC
I should start by apologizing here, as I tweeted out a Lehkonen goal (as the Frölunda account had, as well), but at the intermission the goal was given to Robin Figren instead.
Artturi wasn’t part of the Finnish National team in the Karjala Cup tournament, and his only games are the two Champions Hockey League games against Litvinov.
The first game was a sleep walk from the whole Frölunda team, who rested a few players as well, and ended in a 2-1 loss. Frölunda really came to play in the home leg and crushed Litvinov 6-0, with Lehkonen having a few chances and a couple of skilful plays. He was close to getting the 2-0 goal, but set up the 4-0 goal instead.
Lehkonen was back to playing a good game on the wing where he and Figren were centered by Arizona Coyotes' prospect Anton Karlsson.
Martin Réway, Sparta Prague
Sparta crashed out of this year's Champions Hockey League tournament without Réway. He was raring to get back into game action, showing up well ahead of the meeting time in Bratislava for the Slovakian national team. The three games in the Deutschland Cup were a bit hit and miss from the Slovakian side, but Réway had a good tournament. He was given increased responsibilities by new national coach Zdeno Cíger.
After a 1-0 loss in the first match against a young USA team, Réway commented on his performance:
Of course, we regret we didn't win. We wanted to play a good game throughout the 60 minutes, but one mistake decided the whole game. We were not shooting well and their goalkeeper gave an excellent performance. The opponent was strong on the puck, played very simply, and we had lots of possession. With the Americans it is always a difficult game, but they were playable. I myself had a good opportunity if I had scored, maybe it would have been a different game. I joined after a long game pause, for two thirds, I was fine, I felt tired, but suddenly my legs stiffened and I got on the cramps. It is nothing to worry about but it was nothing pleasant.
This is the chance he mentioned:
In the second game (a 4-2 loss to Germany) Réway had a consolation goal with Sovakia down 4-1 at the time, where he drove down the right wing and took a well-aimed shot to beat the goalie blocker side from far off the faceoff circle.
In Sunday's game against the Swiss, Réway had a stand-out performance, being selected as the Slovak Man of the Match without actually registering a point in the 4-0 win. The winner of that award was chosen by the team, which makes it more special.
Réway was doing a lot of good things, repeatedly causing the Swiss defenders headaches and having them take bad penalties. He had moved to a line with Stastny and Skalicky and there was no denying the chemistry the trio had. Réway was repeatedly sent to the face off circle — something I haven't seen much in Sparta — and he was quite successful, finishing 16-6 at the end of the tournament.
Cíger had this to say after the tournament, when asked if there was any player's performance he wanted to mention:
I want to praise Réway, I had no problems with him, he lets his hockey skills speak for themselves. It's a pleasure to watch him, and he can always create something and he is an ambitious player.
Réway's stats so far this season are impressive to say the least. Once more it is a shame that Slovakia isn't up there with the other top-four teams for tournament spots, but Réway really impressed me with his play this weekend.