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European Prospect Review: Artturi Lehkonen hoists the Champions Hockey League trophy

In this week's report: Artturi Lehkonen becomes a European Champion, three prospects get ready to compete on the international stage, and an interview with Lukas Vejdemo.

Martin Rose/Getty Images

All week 26

Joonas Nättinen, JYP

JYP has gotten a few convincing and important wins over the last few weeks, and Nättinen keeps adding points to his totals. With the national team selection and games against Sweden this weekend, there is no rest for him. But I am sure he doesn't mind.


Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården Hockey

Vejdemo went without any points in two games, averaging 14 minutes per contest.

Vejdem week 26 managed to publish an interview with Vejdemo. Here is the translated version:

It is usually said that you can't combine college and university studies with a career as a hockey player in Sweden. Djurgården's junior forward Lukas Vejdemo is proof that this isn't true.

Just a couple of months after graduating high school, he enrolled in a part-time course in economics at Kristianstad College. Vejdemo, who has always had it easy in school, felt that he needed something fulfilling to use his free time with.

"It was my own initiative, but I had the support of my dad who thinks it is important to have school to fall back on. You never know what can happen in hockey with injuries and other things that can cause your career to end. Therefore this felt like a great opportunity to me."

For the stereotypical young SHL player of a similar age to Lukas Vejdemo, studies are not often on the schedule. If you do finish high school, the free time after having signed an A-team contract will mostly be FIFA tournaments (on the PlayStation) and coffee at some local place.

"I can still have a coffee break and video games anyway," Vejdemo says with a laugh.

"I usually study about an hour a day, but sometimes even less. My aim is to do at least an hour a day."

Many others that think that school is important choose to go through colleges in USA. Did Vejdemo have plans for that?

"If I had not gotten a senior contract from Djurgården I would probably have gone over to the States, just because it would have given me the opportunity to combine school with hockey at a high level. I didn't really think that I would get a senior contract, so there were some advanced plans for that contingency. But when Djurgården gave me that contract, I felt that it was a little bit too good of an opportunity to turn down.

"When you have been in the stands at Hovet all your life and watched every game, it was a dream come true to put the Djurgården jersey on."

Having had the opportunity to study while still active probably prolonged [Djurgården General Manager Joakim] Eriksson's career, according to himself, and that's perhaps due to the fact that he could focus on things other than hockey. Does Vejdemo feel something similar?

"Yes, it is really good to study in that way because sometimes you are tired of hockey and you just want to let that go and have something different to focus on, so this is perfect in that way.

"Some players say they can't focus on hockey if they have school on the side, but for me it is the opposite feeling, because I feel extra motivated and hyped up when I can discard hockey for school some days. It helps me clear my mind.

"I definitely think that more people should do that. It is not as hard as many people seem to think. You get more energy from it, and that is good for your game. It is also really good to feel that you have something else to fall back on. That is a great feeling."

Magnus Nygren, Färjestad BK

Nygren had a goal in two games played: a patented howitzer from the blue line. With one win and one loss, Färjestad is still in a secure playoff position, but it seems that the team isn't firing on all cylinders just yet. 
Nygren will play for Team Sweden versus Team Finland in this weekend's international games.

Nygren week 26

Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda HC

Frolunda team photo with trophy Photo credit: Martin Rose/Getty Images

Lehkonen's Frölunda are Champions of Europe after winning the Champions Hockey League with a 2-1 win against Kärpät. He led all players with a game-high five shots on goal in Tuesday's final. (Lehkonen is third from the left in the second row from the top in the photo.)

It was important for Frölunda to win this trophy as their play in the SHL has been a bit off lately. There are some concerns that it is down to playing in the CHL, but it also seems that with a big lead over the third-place team, and a big gap to Skellefteå at the top, coach Rönnberg has pushed for a more intense training regimen in order to build up for the playoffs.

Lehkonen will now meet up with the Finnish national team to take on Sweden this weekend.

Lehkonen week 26

Martin Réway, Fribourg-Gottéron

No games as Réway still seems to be suffering from the hit to his head, out with a suspected concussion. He has not been nominated to the Slovak team, but very likely would have if he were healthy.

Reway week 23