Canucks News & Rumors: Lekkerimaki, Pettersson, Miller & More

In this edition of the Vancouver Canucks’ News & Rumors, the Canucks are expected to sign their 2022 first-round draft pick Jonathan Lekkerimaki to an entry-level deal. Also, head coach Rick Tocchet discusses Elias Pettersson’s next steps. Additionally, general manager (GM) Patrik Allvin is working the phones, and although the Canucks plan on keeping J.T. Miller, he isn’t untouchable.

Lekkerimaki to Sign Entry-Level Deal

Canucks 2022 first-round draft pick, Lekkerimaki is expected to sign his entry-level contract with the club. According to reports out of Sweden, the forward will sign with the organization and will then be loaned to a Swedish Hockey League (SHL) team to continue developing in Sweden.

Jonathan Lekkerimaki Vancouver Canucks 2022 Draft
Jonathan Lekkerimaki, Vancouver Canucks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Lekkerimaki played with Djurgarden IF in Allsvenskan this past season. The team lost to MoDo in the Allsvenkan finals and will not be promoted to the SHL. However, the Canucks want to see the 2022 15th overall pick play in the SHL next season. The favourite to sign him is Leksands IF. Lekkerimaki impressed in the playoffs after a tough regular season, which was marred by injuries. He posted five goals and 15 points in 15 playoff games.

Tocchet Says Pettersson’s Next Step is Improvement in Leadership

Tocchet joined the Missin Curfew Podcast recently and discussed the next step for Pettersson. He said the forward is an interesting player and noted he is quiet but wants to be the best. Tocchet added if Pettersson wants to be the best, he’ll have to improve as a leader.

Related: Revisiting the Canucks’ 2022 Draft Class

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Pettersson is notably a quiet person, and the head coach said he is uncomfortable speaking in front of his teammates, but he has to start dragging his teammates with him. Tocchet said at the skill level Pettersson is at, his words carry a lot of weight. The organization’s captaincy remains vacant since the club traded Bo Horvat this past season. Tocchet also discussed Quinn Hughes’ leadership ability on the podcast. 

“I’ve only been here for four months and from day one to 120 days later, Huggy has really made that trajectory to be a captain,” Tocchet said. “He’s done some things that are uncomfortable and he’s said some things that are uncomfortable”

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Although Hughes is the front-runner as the Canucks’ next captain, Pettersson taking emerging as a leader would do wonders for his game. Pettersson as a leader in the locker room, along with Hughes, will help create a new culture for the team. 

Miller to Return, But Allvin Shopping Him Around

TSN insider joined Darren Dreger joined Sekeres and Price and discussed Allvin and Miller. He said Allvin is making calls while mostly focusing on non-playoff teams. Dreger noted the Canucks are attempting to fix their cap, rebuild their blue line and add a third-line centre.

Patrik Allvin Vancouver Canucks
Patrik Allvin, general manager of the Vancouver Canucks (Photo by Derek Cain/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Dreger also discussed the organization’s plans with Miller moving forward. He said the Canucks plan on having him return, but the GM is open to every reasonable possibility. One of the teams the Canucks talked to in terms of a trade during the regular season was the Pittsburgh Penguins. According to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman, the organization asked for two first-round picks and a good prospect. However, since president Brian Burke and GM Ron Hextall are no longer with the club, those trade talks are likely over.

Myers Headed to World Championship

Defenceman Tyler Myers is heading to the IIHF World Championship, which starts next week in Tampere, Finland. He will join Ethan Bear in playing for Team Canada. This will be his third appearance at the tournament, as he played for Canada in 2010 and 2014.

Conor Garland is also heading to the World Championship to play for Team USA. Elias Pettersson was expected to play for Sweden but was unable to receive the proper insurance since he has one year remaining in his NHL contract.