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European Prospect Review: Artturi Lehkonen leads SHL playoffs in goals, second in points

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While other prospects prepare for the World Championship, Artturi Lehkonen is not ready to give up his league season just yet.

Frolunda HC

Joonas Nättinen, JYP

The season came to an abrupt end with two straight losses to HIFK in the Liiga Semi-finals. A 5-3 loss in Helsinki was followed up with a 4-0 loss at home. JYP will face Kärpät (with Sebastian Aho and Jesse Puljujärvi) in the bronze-medal game.

Nättinen finished the playoffs with two goals and an assist in 12 games.

Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgården

The young Swede is enjoying his summer vacation, and looking forward to the Montreal Canadiens' rookie camp in September.

Magnus Nygren, Färjestad

Nygren returned to the ice for two games against Switzerland this weekend in a World Championship tune-up, first being on the losing end of a 5-3 decision, then enjoying a 5-1 win. He didn't register any points in those games.

Artturi Lehkonen, Frölunda

"I am just a gardener," Frölunda's coach, Roger Rönnberg, said before the SHL semi-finals "This is harvest time, and I see to it that I nurtured things correctly earlier. Take Lehkonen as an example. We worked together for two years and now it's all come together...."

When Artturi Lehkonen steps on the ice for a post-season contest,  he gets a different look in his eyes and more spring in his step. He has worked himself tirelessly against a big, tough, hard-hitting team, never missing a beat.

He leads the SHL playoffs in goals, and is second in points. He has it all going for him right now. During Friday's game versus Luleå, he was mentioned as the second-best imported player in the playoffs by an expert on the broadcast that I admire for his fairness in both offering praise and critique of the league's talent.

SHL playoff standings

Image credit: SHL.se

Lehkonen finishes the week with two goals and one assist, including this reward for going to net on Friday versus Luleå:

It's usually said that a good player makes his own luck, and here Lehkonen gets away from his defender and is all alone in front of the net.

Lehkonen will play his first game of the Finals on Saturday versus the winner of today's deciding game between Skellefteå and Växjö.

Martin Réway, Fribourg-Gottéron

With Slovakia facing Finland, it was Martin Réway's first game since before the NLA playoffs started. Donning his #10 jersey, he started off with an assist to help draw the game close in the final minutes of an eventual 3-2 loss. In the second game Slovakia lost 6-1, and he did not have a hand in the Slovakian goal.

It's difficult to do any analysis of players in these friendlies, as focus is still on the playoffs in most countries involved, with several of a nation's top players unavailable. Réway will be hoping to be part of the final roster when the World Championship begins in May.