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European Prospect Review: Joonas Nattinen is leading his team to the playoffs

The Canadiens may not be participating in the NHL playoffs, but all of their European prospects are gearing up for theirs.

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Though he was the only prospect not to register a point, all eyes were focused on Martin Réway and his first game back from a concussion. The skilled forward returned earlier than expected, and, like many of the Euro players, will most likely suit up for the playoffs starting this week.


Joonas Nättinen, JYP

JYP is currently fourth in the standings and a big surprise to many Finns. Part of the turnaround has been thanks to the splendid work and leadership that Nättinen has provided, who has been steadily chipping in points in Liiga play. He added another two points to his total this week.


Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården Hockey

Another stable, secure performance from the youngest of the five European prospects. An assist was added to his points total, placing him tenth in Djurgården's internal scoring list; something I would not have predicted at the start of the season.

Vejdemo has been the surprise performer for me. The maturity he plays with, and the way he seems to just be able to adjust to a higher level and pace so easily, has been remarkable to witness.

Djurgården will make the playoffs, the question now is if they can surprise a higher seed in the first round.


Magnus Nygren, Färjestad

Nygren once again unleashed his shot for another power-play goal. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough, as Färjestad lost 3-2 to HV71.

Färjestad then took on top seed Skellefteå and managed to win in the shootout, showing what the team is capable of. It will be interesting to see how far Nygran and Färjestad can go in the post-season, as the club is just now starting to live up to its pre-season promise.


Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda

Lehkonen set up shop in his return (after resting one game due to fever), working with Andreas Johnson (a Toronto Maple Leafs prospect) to get assists on Johnson's two goals in the first game of the week against Malmö. In Saturday's game vs Modo, Lehkonen faltered a bit, and was minus-two, while it seemed the whole team had its sights squarely on the upcoming playoffs.

With injuries and rest days for veterans before the post-season starts, Lehkonen was tasked with playing centre in Frölunda's three games. He himself did not finish Tuesday's game vs Luleå because he he felt something flash up, and was held out of the remainder of the contest as a precaution.

With only two games to go in the regular season, Lehkonen leads his team with six game-winning goals, and is second in the SHL (one behind Färjestad's John Norman) in that category..


Martin Réway, Fribourg-Gottéron

Réway returned to the ice in time for the last few games before to playoffs. That return didn't go as well as hoped, as he only participated in the first of the weekend's two final regular season games, and was minus-three in that game with only one shot registered.

It was not clear if Réway was rested in order to get back in top form for the playoffs or if he felt the effects of the concussion. The NLA playoffs start this weekend and hopefully he'll be in the lineup when Fribourg-Gottéron faces Genève-Servette HC in the quarter-final.