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European prospects report: strong finish as Patrik Laine wins Jari Kurri Trophy

For the last time we take a look at the European league players who are or might be Leaf prospects.

Jari Kurri wants you to look at these superstars in the making.
Jari Kurri wants you to look at these superstars in the making.
Getty Images/Getty Images

There aren't any Leaf prospects left to write about with Andreas Johnson's win in the SHL, there's just hopes for the Leafs future in the two Finnish phenomenons. Hockey has a very Finnish flavour this spring.

Jesse Puljujärvi

Puljujärvi helped his team win gold at the IIHF U18 tournament, which gives him the gold in both the U18 and U20 levels in the same year.

In the gold medal stomping of their arch rival Sweden, Finland took the game 6-1, and outshot the Swedes so dramatically in the first period, you'd be forgiven for wondering if Sweden (featuring Alex Nylander) had actually taken the ice late.

With a reported hand injury, and some kind of stomach bug that was revealed after the game, Puljujärvi kept himself to a modest hattutemppu. That's Finnish for hattrick, and that's a word we should just all learn.

Patrik Laine

Meanwhile back in Finland, the Liiga final entered its final games.

On Saturday, April 23, Laine's Tappara side took the game 2-1 for a series lead of 3-2 over HIFK. Laine was kept off the scoresheet and had an uncharacteristically quiet night.

He made an impact early on Tuesday for game six. Tappara got down early to HIFK, but Laine tied the game up:

Tappara made it 2-1 a short time later, and that was all it took to make them the Liiga champions of 2016.

The Kanada-malja, awarded to the Liiga champion.

In a surprise to no one, Laine was named playoff MVP and awarded the Jari Kurri Trophy

It's likely on to the IIHF World Championships for Laine where he'll join Auston Matthews to play for their respective countries. Luckily they're in the same pool.

Bonus coverage: Laine doesn't always score: