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A video reminder of Martin Réway's various talents

As Réway gets set to debut with the Laval Rocket, we take a look at what made him such a highly touted prospect just one year ago.

Reway Sparta

A year of not being on the ice, or even just a few months of not being able to train, will destroy any player's conditioning. Martin Réway didn't perform to his top level in the Rookie Tournament or at Montreal Canadiens training camp, but that was to be expected. While he should be able to eventually get back in game shape, he still has multiple challenges ahead of him, one of which being the adjustment to a different style of play and a smaller rink.

Getting used to the AHL will take time. Fortunately, it's likely Sylvain Lefebvre will have an important place for him in the lineup when the season starts. With Charles Hudon pushing hard to make the Habs, the Rocket will need an influx of scoring, and that's something Réway could potentially bring. Forgetting the highly skilled player he was and will likely be in the future would definitely be a mistake.

Réway stood out almost every game when he was in the Czech league either for some incredible play he made or barely missed. It felt like he actively tried to be flashy, like he had an imperative need to show the world what he could do. This led him to some trouble both on and off the ice.

He had a rocky relationship with the coaching staff in HC Sparta Praha. This very interesting article by Patrik Bexell illustrates how the Czech league functions, giving some insights on why Réway couldn't adapt to the team's environment. Older players in Extraliga seem to get a lot of preferential treatment, and player development is handled quite differently than in other leagues.

As a result, Réway probably didn't get the ice time he deserved due to his age. And he wasn't willing to silently accept the situation.

His fiery personality also fueled his play on the ice. He's a creative playmaker, putting him in a category with few peers in the Habs’ system. While he displays some of his skills at five-on-five, he's at his best on the power play.

Many players would have chosen to fire a pass to the first forward entering the slot in the next clip. Not Martin Réway. He saw the open ice and chose to wait for a second teammate to cycle to the net, then lobbed the puck above the sticks of a few mesmerized defencemen for a beautiful goal.

He was used at the point on the first wave of the man advantage with Sparta Praha. Moving around the ice from the blue line to the half-wall, he looked like he had a plan he fiercely wanted to execute.

Réway has a decent shot, but sniping it past the goalie is rarely what he has in mind. He always displayed poise with the puck, turning the attention of the defence on himself, often looking for one last pass that would create an easy goal for a teammate.

He could be a dominant force on the ice, creating some great plays off the rush. Making his way through the neutral zone around the opposition, he could dangle, go around defenders, and enter the zone to give the puck to a trailing shooter. He was rarely the fastest skater, but once he gained momentum, he became truly evasive and hard to stop.

His skill was undeniable, yet despite his offensive prowess, the small forward still had some clear flaws. He seems to have addressed his lack of strength by gaining a lot of weight this summer, and it should help him sustain the heavier traffic of the AHL. The major problem in his game was always his decision-making, especially in his zone where he had a tendency to cause a lot of turnovers.

Overall, there were a lot of moments in the Czech league where he played too loosely, being too focused on what he could do and not what he should do, like making one too many moves or a spin-o-rama that resulted in a giveaway.

His flashiness, his tendency to overdo things made him a very fun player to watch, but also seemed to be another source of problems with HC Sparta Praha. Unfortunately his development was cut short last year and it was not possible to see if there were improvements in those areas.

Reway is now older and has matured from his experiences. It's possible it could have a positive effect on his play on the ice. Overall, it will be interesting to see if he can become a more responsible player while also showing the same playmaking abilities he had.

“ I think, sometimes in life, things that happen to you. You can't change it. You have to fight through it. I'm really happy that I came through. It's a good experience for me and I hope everybody will see the difference.” - Martin Reway

This season, he should be one of the most exciting players to watch for the Rocket as they play their first season in Laval. And let's hope that this is not where his story ends. He was a highly touted prospect not so long ago, and we never know what might happen with a rapid recovery and progression.