The hockey season is entering its final stretch, with tight playoff races shaping up in North America and abroad. On top of that, early February saw the conclusion of the inaugural Champions Hockey League, which saw Artturi Lehkonen’s Frolunda lose 4-2 to northern rivals Lulea.
Along with Lehkonen, we will take a look at how Montreal’s other cross-continental propsects are faring and visit some former Canadiens who have found a home in Croatia.
Aside from a mysterious five-game absence a couple of months ago and an occasional lack of backchecking, the story on Martin Reway remains the same: he is the engine that keeps Sparta Praha’s offensive locomotive running. Second on the team with 34 points in 31 games, Reway has been about as consistent as they come this year.
There are also whispers of Reway signing an extension with his Czech club, but we have been unable to find anything official confirming this.
Lehkonen’s season started with such promise as he was putting up points regularly for Frolunda both in domestic and Champions League competition.
As the calendar approached the new year, however, his play began to dip. Since our November report, Lehkonen’s 11-point total has not budged and he is now pointless in 19 SHL games.
His club also faced off against Swedish rival Lulea in the Champions Hockey League final. He did have the primary assist on the game’s first goal, but after mounting a 2-0 lead, Lulea roared back with four unanswered goals to claim the title.
Though still considered a strong prospect, it will be interesting to see how such a difficult stretch will impact the big forward’s development.
Prior to the new year, the big Swede was traded from flailing Atlant Mytschi to contender CSKA Moscow. At first, he arrived guns ablazing in the Russian capital, putting up four points in his first four games. His production, however, has since trailed off and he has contributed only three points in the following eight games. With 33 points in 48 games, though, it has still been a good year for Engqvist.
Plus, the center has suited up for his country in the Euro Hockey Tour and, though he has only one goal in four games, he looks to contend for a spot on the Swedish squad for this spring’s World Championship.
Where are they now?
If you were to look at the Zagreb Medvescak KHL’s roster and think there must be some connection to the Montreal Canadiens, you would be forgiven. After all, this year alone, six players who were once in the Canadiens system have suited up for the Croatian club. Martin St. Pierre, Mathieu Carle, Mark Flood and Mike Glumac are all currently part of the squad, while Brock Trotter and Aaron Palushaj were traded partway through the year.
Martin St. Pierre, who played just one game with Montreal last year, is tied for the team lead with 33 points. Mark Flood and Mathieu Carle are the squad’s top scoring blueliners with 21 and 18 points, respectively.
The departed pair of Palushaj and Trotter, meanwhile, are not setting the world on fire with their new clubs and have both struggled to reach the 20-point plateau.