With the 15th pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Vancouver Canucks have selected Jonathan Lekkerimäki from Djurgårdens IF of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL)
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Tracker
About Jonathan Lekkerimäki
There are few players in the 2022 Draft class who can fill the net like Jonathan Lekkerimäki. He has excellent instincts when it comes to creating scoring chances for himself or for his teammates. Scoring is not all that Lekkerimäki does, but it is certainly what he does best as he can beat defenders and goalies with a variety of shots and releases.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Lekkerimäki scored a ton of goals this season, 20 in only 26 games in the Swedish junior league and seven goals in 26 games in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). He missed a few games to illness this season, but Lekkerimäki showed that he is capable of scoring in one of the best professional hockey leagues in the world despite being one of the youngest players in the 2022 Draft.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“That brings us to this season, where scouts are quickly starting to learn Lekkerimaki’s name. A regular for Djurdardens’ J20 team, Lekkerimäki wasted no time proving that he deserved to be in the pros. He scored 20 goals through his first 26 games of the season and joined Djurgardens IF of the SHL around late October of 2021.
“Since then, his production has dipped, but that’s to be expected for a 17-year-old prospect playing in a top European pro league. He only has nine points in 26 games, but he’s stuck to his sniper brand with seven of those points being goals. He’s also appeared in five games with Sweden’s U18 National Team and scored five goals in those games.
“When it comes to analyzing his game, let’s start by addressing the elephant in the room. If you aren’t convinced already, Lekkerimaki will do quite literally anything to find the back of the net. Whether it’s a slap shot from the point that goes in before the goaltender has a chance to blink or a dirty net-front goal that finally trickles in after three or four whacks at it, Lekkerimaki wants every part of it, every time. His teammates tend to give him the Alex Ovechkin treatment on the power play, constantly trying to set him up for the one-timer at the top of the circle.
“Although the assist totals might suggest otherwise, Lekkerimäki is not a puck hog. Oftentimes you’ll find him scanning the ice for an appropriate pass option as often as he’ll let it rip, and his vision is above average in that regard. And while he’s only 5-foot-11, he’s deceptively hard to knock off the puck. Not necessarily in the sense that his size works in his favour, but he moves around like a water bug and can often slip away from opposing players with ease.”
How This Affects the Canucks’ Plans
Jonathan Lekkerimäki is one of the best goalscorers in the draft class and the Canucks should be thrilled that he fell to them at 15th overall. In a matter of years, he is likely to be scoring goals in bunches alongside countryman Elias Pettersson and his new teammates in Brock Boeser and Quinn Hughes.
Logan is a sports writer for the Detroit Red Wings as a member of The Hockey Writers team. He loves reading about statistics and advanced analytics, and discovering how they can enrich his hockey analysis and writing. Logan also writes about more general hockey topics on his blog https://www.crashthecrease.blog.