The Olli Juolevi era in Vancouver is over. After five years in the Vancouver Canucks organization, general manager Jim Benning decided that it was time to move on from the 23-year-old Finnish defenceman and trade him down south to the Florida Panthers. In exchange for the once-hot commodity, he got another Finn by the name of Juho Lammikko.
The 25-year-old from Noormarkku, Finland spent last season with the Panthers where he posted four goals and five points in 44 games. He also recorded 50 hits and finished the 2020-21 season with a 44.9 faceoff percentage while averaging 58 seconds per game on the penalty kill. Lammikko is definitely not a household name in Canucks Nation, so let’s get to know him a bit and find out what he could potentially bring to the team when the games get going on Wednesday.
Lammikko’s Days With the Frontenacs
After Lammikko was selected 65th overall by the Panthers in the 2014 Draft, he made the leap to North America and joined the Ontario Hockey League’s (OHL) Kingston Frontenacs, who had selected him 43rd overall in the 2014 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft. He ended up scoring his first goal in his first OHL game and finished his rookie season with 18 goals and 44 points in 64 games.
Instead of returning to the OHL for his sophomore season, Lammikko signed in Finland with Assat of the Liiga. After only five games, the Frontenacs persuaded him to come back to the team to continue his career in North America. It turned out to be the right decision as he broke out to the tune of 22 goals and 55 points in 53 games. The hard-working Finn also played for Team Finland in the 2016 World Junior Championship (WJC) where he walked away with a gold medal around his neck. He finished his OHL career with 40 goals and 99 points in 123 games.
Lammikko Turns Pro With the Thunderbirds
After only two seasons in the OHL, Lammikko turned pro with the Springfield Thunderbirds of the American Hockey League (AHL). Like most middling producers in the OHL, he couldn’t translate his offensive talents to the next level as he could only generate 14 goals and 39 points in 106 games before his first NHL call-up to the Panthers during the 2018-19 season. He ended up splitting that season between the Thunderbirds and Panthers playing 36 games with the former and 40 games with the latter.
Lammikko’s Time With the Panthers & Overseas
Lammikko made his NHL debut with the Panthers on Oct. 11, 2018, against the Columbus Blue Jackets and finished the game with one hit in 9:43 of ice time. He was a regular in the lineup for 40 games until he was sent down to the minors in mid-January of 2019 after a game against the Montreal Canadiens. He played the rest of the 2018-19 season with the Thunderbirds.
Lammikko wasn’t seen in the NHL again until Jan. 30, 2021, against the Detroit Red Wings. During his hiatus, he had stints in the Liiga with Karpat and the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. The Liiga was where he broke out offensively finishing with 22 goals and 51 points in 57 games and a staggering plus-30 in the plus/minus column. Not usually known for his point production, it was surprising to see him battle with the likes of Edmonton Oilers’ 2016 first-round pick Jesse Puljujarvi, who finished only two points ahead of him on Karpat’s leaderboard.
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Lammikko started the 2020-21 season in Russia with Metallurg Magnitogorsk. Before traveling back to North America to continue his NHL career, he posted six goals and eight points in 22 games. Then, when the NHL restarted in January, he made his way back to Florida. By the end of the season, he had his first four goals in the NHL and was even able to record his first multi-point game. On the last day of the season and against the eventual Stanley Cup champions Tampa Bay Lightning, no less.
What Does Lammikko Bring to the Canucks?
Lammikko hasn’t been able to produce in the NHL in the same way he did in the OHL and the Liiga, but he has established himself as a strong, defensively sound center that can kill penalties. With the Canucks losing Jay Beagle in the offseason, they need someone else that can fill that role. Brandon Sutter was supposed to be that guy, but his playing status is up in the air right now.
Described by former-Panthers VP of communications and current Canucks beat reporter Thomas Drance as “a hard-working pivot and one of the best characters [he’s] ever worked with,” it appears Lammikko will also bring a large dose of personality to the dressing room as well. Judging by the quotes from his days in junior with the Frontenacs, that assessment seems to be correct. Before playing for Finland in the 2016 WJC, he had this to say about playing against Team Canada and his Frontenacs teammates, Lawson Crouse, Roland McKeown, and Spencer Watson.
They better be heads up because they are going to get killed, said Lammikko, who broke into a smile and continued on. First, I am going to hit Crouse and then I’m going to hit Watson. And Roland is going to be (too nervous) to play against me…Juho Lammikko (from ‘Team Finland on Lammikko’s mind’, Kingston Whig, 12/8/15)
Clearly, he has a humorous side and is someone people want to be around in the dressing room. Not only that but he’s shown in the past to be hard to play against as well. Before he was drafted by the Panthers in 2014, scouts raved about his size, work ethic, and defensive play.
A winger with promising size, Lammikko works hard at both ends of the ice and is strong in small spaces and corners. He is a decent skater with good stickhandling and playmaking ability. Lammikko has been an eager shooter in the juniors, but seems more apt as a set-up man with his vision and IQ. He is also characterized by good decision-making and sound defensive play.Elite Prospects
Lammikko has yet to show off his playmaking abilities, but his hockey IQ has led to some good defensive play and solid penalty killing. He was one of the Panthers’ regular penalty killers last season where he finished with a shorthanded goal and 42:50 of ice time. He won’t help the Canucks in the goal and points department, but he will add size, physicality, and most importantly, penalty killing experience to a bottom-six that desperately needs it. He is also only 25 years old, so who knows, maybe he will surprise and become another diamond in the rough like Tyler Motte?
Matthew Zator is a THW freelance writer, media editor, and scout who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.