In a mixed week of league play in their home countries, and knockout competition in the Champions Hockey League, the prospects had their ups and downs.
Lukas Vejdemo started it all with the first goal of his SHL career. Artturi Lehkonen is playing centre again, as Frölunda's regular #1 is in Dallas for camp. Martin Reway showed class on Friday but was held back on Sunday as his ice time plummeted, only to comeback with two assists against Zurich Lions in CHL. Magnus Nygren had one assist in his return to the SHL, and followed that up with a slap shot goal in the next game. Finally Joonas Nättinen leads his northern team with great play.
The weekly update includes both league and CHL games, the reason Lehkonen has two games is that Inglostadt and Frölunda play their 1st leg match Tuesday.
Joonas Nättinen, JYP Jyväskylä
Nättinen is playing very well for JYP, leading his team on the first line. While not dominating play, he really looks like a leader on the ice in many ways, playing smart and really showing off how he could have been used better in a non-functioning MoDo team last year.
Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården IF
Vejdemo got off to a great start in the, scoring his first SHL goal to make it 2-1 against Linköping, he continued to play well during the game, as an active 3rd line player for a Djurgården.
His team has out preformed preseason expectations. An overtime loss to Linköping was followed up with a home win against Skellefteå, last year's powerhouse Swedish team. Vejdemo is playing well on the third line, where he averages approximately 13 minutes a game. The TV broadcast labelled him "Linus" instead of Lukas, but I am sure this will change with the more Vejdemo plays, and consequently makes a name for himself in the SHL.
Magnus Nygren, Färjestad
Färjestad's captain has lead his team with determination, having an assist in his first game, and following that up with a goal and assist during his first home game. It's obvious that Nygren relishes to be back home and playing hockey again.
Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda
Lehkonen has played down the middle in the first two Swedish Hockey League games, which is a logical step after his successful defensive season last year.
It does, however, seem that he ends up behind the play, covering for his linemates. If Janmark comes back from the Dallas Stars training camp, I expect Lehkonen to end up on the wing again, and get back to the offensive style he displayed in preseason action.
What's obvious is that against a lower level competition in CHL (Sheffield, for example) he works quite well as a centre offensively, but against defensively oriented teams, he tends to struggle. He was on the penalty kill when Frölunda scored shorthanded against Luleå, and is being used in every situation, which can only benefit his play in the long run.
Martin Reway, Sparta Prague
Reway was back to his usual self in the first game of the week, setting up his linemates the power play.
Unfortunately he had a really weird second game on Sunday, where he was on the ice for the opening goal against Sparta, and finished the game with six minutes in terms of time on ice.
Looking at past results, he averaged 13 minutes a game, and I didn't notice any potential injury. This leads me to believe he was benched, but I can't say if it's warranted from the highlights I have seen. As this was the first loss for Sparta in the Czech league, and they were trailing from the start, I would have expected them to use their most potent offensive weapon to get back into the game.
Reway played again on Tuesday in CHL and set up the first goal from Sparta with a beautiful assist, notching another nice assist on the 2-0 goal. It is interesting to see that Reway gets 5-on-5 points in CHL, whereas he still hasn't scored a point during even play in the Czech Extraliga.