According to reports from Mario Langlois of Sports 98.5FM , Habs prospects Arturri Lehkonen and Martin Reway both received entry- level contract offers from Marc Bergevin. However, earlier today Habs eye of the prize confirmed that while the team has expressed interest in Reway, he has yet to get a formal contract offer.
The Habs should offer the pair of players contracts. Although, Lehkonen has a year left on his contract with Frolunda and is unlikely to leave unless he makes the Canadiens straight out of camp. Considering the way he has played the Canadiens should still try to pry him out of Sweden. Since Sweden is a signatory to the NHL/Europe transfer agreement, his club team, Frolunda would be owed monetary compensation if the Habs signed Lehkonen, but would not be able to block a move to the NHL. As for Reway, he is currently a free agent. He must be signed by the Canadiens before May 30, 2017 if they want to keep his rights.
Arturri Lehkonen has just finished his SHL campaign with Frolunda HC on an extremely high note. The 20-year old Finnish forward broke a Frolunda playoff record by recording 19 points (11 goals and 8 assists) in 16 games helping Frolunda to win the SHL Title. Lehkonen surpassed former Ottawa Senators captain Daniel Alfredsson’s 18 points in 14 games, during the 2004-05 lockout season. It’s worth noting that Alfredsson put up those numbers at age 32, while the NHL was in the 2004-05 lockout.
His regular season, was also a success as he played over 15 minutes per game while scoring 16 goals and 33 points in 49 games.
At just 20 years old, Lehkonen is probably the Habs most promising prospect. If he does come over to North America he will most likely not want to go to the AHL. He may decide to come to training camp next summer and decide what he wants to do from there. With the Canadiens needing serious scoring help for next season, Lehkonen may get a good look if he decides to come to the Canadiens training camp next summer.
According to Rob Vollman’s NHL equivalency Factor, Lehkonen already looks like a decent second line player.
According to @robvollmanNHL‘s NHLe from November, Lehkonen’s SHL season projects to a 20 goal, 20 assist 82 game season in the NHL.
— Andrew Berkshire (@AndrewBerkshire) April 26, 2016
However, it is more complicated than that as it doesn’t take into account ice time. With the way Habs coaching staff shelters their rookies it’s very likely he would have played less than the 15:24 he averaged/ game in Frolunda. The fact he already plays against men could play in his favour when getting ice time as a rookie.
It’s clear that Lehkonen’s future is bright wherever he decides to play, but Habs fans would love to see this young man wearing their team’s jersey sooner than later. Only time will tell when the skilled Finnish forward comes to the NHL.
Reway probably made his biggest impact as a Habs prospect when he played at 2015 World Juniors in Montreal, captaining his native Slovakia. In the process he finished tied for seventh in scoring, posting 9 points ( 4 goals and 5 assists) in 7 games and helping his country capture only their second ever World Juniors medal, a bronze. He also was voted as 1 of the 3 best players of his team for the tournament.
Since then, Reway hasn’t been in the spotlight much except for one incident where he was discharged from his Czech club Sparta Prague and assigned to Benatky nad Jizerou which is a team in the second-tier league in the Czech Republic. He was discharged from the team because he reportedly demanded a trade as he was no longer happy playing for the club. At the time, he was leading the team with 5 goals and 15 points in 14 games.
He eventually went to play the rest of the season in the Swiss-A league where he joined Fribourg-Gotteron. In 19 games for Fribourg, Reway put up 21 points ( 8 goals and 13 assists).
Unlike Lehkonen, Reway has spent time playing hockey in North America. From 2012-2014, Reway spent time playing in the QJMHL as a member of the Gatineau Olympiques scoring 112 points (42 goals and 70 assists) in 91 games.
While he may have the skill to transition into the NHL sooner than later, one factor that may play against Reway is the fact he is only 5’9 and 173 LBS. While the league is more about speed, smaller players tend to struggle to make an impact right away.
Chances are he will definitely sign a deal with the Habs this summer, as they can’t let a player of his skill walk.
Both Habs Prospects have a very bright future and will likely get a shot impress very soon and prove that they have what it takes in order to bring their game to the next level.