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Habs European Prospect Update: Artturi Lehkonen shines

A weekly performance review of Montreal Canadiens prospects playing in Europe

Frolunda HC

While it's still the preseason in most European leagues, the group stage of Champions Hockey League is almost finished.

The European prospects have had mixed success to say the least, with Reway's Sparta Prague having to go up in a win-or lose battle against Geneve-Servette to decide who will go through from the group stage. Storhamar Hamar currently leads that group, after two road wins in two days.

JYP (Nattinen) and Frolunda (Lehkonen) have each qualified with games left to play, two in Frolunda's case, and one for JYP.

Djurgarden (Vejdemo) should qualify, as Zug needs to win both it's games in order to knock Djurgarden out of the group.

Statistical review

Pond1

Joonas Nattinen, JYP Jyvaskyla

With three games played in CHL he has scored two goals. The problem is that he scored them vs the Sheffield Steelers, and was invisible vs Frolunda  during a hard fought 3-2 loss. He will play more games seeing as JYP has qualified for the playoffs before their game home against Frolunda, which might have more of a preseason feel, perhaps leading to Nattinen playing a more relaxed game.

Artturi Lehkonen, Frolunda Gothenburg

Lehkonen's CHL play and preseason has been a stand out performance, starting where he left off  last season, when he finished with the second-most points by any Frolunda player in the playoffs.

He scored a brilliant one-timer on the power play for the game winner against JYP. From the looks of it he has been deployed further up the ice, with Janmark taking the defensive responsibilities so far, and on the power play he seems to have shifted, in order for Frolunda to use his shot rather than his net presence.

He has definitely bulked up over the summer, as he looks way bigger than last year. While Janmark and Lehkonen have played together during preseason, they have had John Dahlstrom (last pick of the 2015 draft) on the line during some games, and have still produced spectacularly. Frigren has been there for the important games and will be the obvious choice for when Swedish Hockey League regular season gets underway.

Lukas Vejdemo, Djurgarden Stockholm

Vejdemo has been playing every game so far, mostly in the top six. Despite his responsible play, he has suffered from tough deployment and zone starts. He has been playing on Djurgarden's second line, but with injured players coming back it's likely that he will see play on the third line to the start of the season. Vejdemo has been playing both on the wings and down the middle in preseason and CHL games.

Martin Reway, Sparta Prague

Martin has had a decent start to the year, having two assists in the OT loss against Geneve-Servette. However against the Norwegian team he was more or less invisible. He had one chance in the home game against Hamar, but was forced out of position and ended up having to finish with a backhand shot. Reway's role seems to have changed on the power play. He is positioned higher up in the slot, and also has been demoted to the second power play unit.

This can obviously change for Czech league games, as Sparta hasn't looked as good as they did last year on the powerplay. Sparta has an important game that decides if they or Geneve-Servette goes through to the CHL playoffs later this week