4 reasons why Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s loan to Örebro in the SHL makes perfect sense
Photo credit:© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber14 days ago
Early Tuesday morning, we saw an official announcement on where Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki will be loaned to for the 2023-24 season.
The 18-year-old first-round pick is off to Örebro, and we are pretty happy with the landing spot.
Let’s explain why.
Structure, Habits, and Standards
Örebro is a strong SHL team and has been for a long time now. They have not missed the playoffs since 2018 and have made it to the SHL semifinals twice in the last three years.
Lekkerimäki needs to be in a system that teaches him the value of a strong defensive effort and how that effort at one end of the ice can result in rewards at the other end. We could also very easily see Lekkerimäki being given top six minutes. Örebro only had one player with over 40 points in their 52-game season. If Lekkerimäki can prove himself in the offseason, we do think he could begin the SHL season in the top six and have to imagine that this conversation took place between Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin and Örebro GM Niklas Eriksson.
We’re excited that Örebro now has two Canucks prospects who will be regulars in the 2023-24 lineup.
Elias Pettersson (D-Petey) played in 56 games last year when you include his 13 playoff games. Lekkerimäki and Pettersson were the top two draft picks of the Canucks at the most recent NHL Entry Draft. They travelled to Vancouver together after the draft to participate in Canucks development camp last summer and have been teammates on Sweden’s World Junior team and other international play.
Another young talented player on the Örebro roster is top-three projected forward, Leo Carlsson. In a loaded 2023 draft, Carlsson is one of the best talents in the crop and likely will be back with Örebro next season. We may even see Lekkerimäki on a line with Carlsson next season, and that would definitely be fun to watch.
Easier development time
Mikael Samuelsson is the Canucks’ development coach who spends the most time with the Canucks’ prospects in Sweden. The fact that two prospects are now on the same team gives Samuelsson an easier path to working with multiple prospects. We’ve heard from Lekkerimäki that Samuelsson was a big help last season and we expect Samuelsson to play an even bigger role this season as he looks to help develop the two young Swedes.
Samuelsson worked hard with both Lekkerimäki and Pettersson on their board work this year. We were told that he was also very good at answering a lot of questions from the Swedish prospects about how hard it is to make the move to North America and what the prospects need to prepare for when they do make the jump across the pond.
Former Canucks goalie Johan Hedberg is the coach for Örebro.
We don’t have much to add here.
It’s just cool.
In conclusion, we were told by Örebro’s general manager that Lekkerimäki and Pettersson will both be at Vancouver’s development camp in July but will not be at Canucks’ Young Stars or training camp due to their SHL season already being in action by the time that Young Stars and training camp are going on.
Rick Dhaliwal reported that Lekkerimäki has a two-year loan with Örebro.
That two-year deal is not set in stone.
Due to the Canucks’ entry-level contract, the loan and the relationship between the Swedish Hockey Federation and the NHL, Lekkerimäki has freedom to come to North America when he is ready. With the most recent changes to the transfer agreement between the SHF and NHL, Lekkerimäki could come to North America at the conclusion of his 2023-24 year. The AHL is still an option, but we don’t think there’s more than a 1% chance that the AHL actually happens for Lekkerimäki.
Örebro’s regular season begins on Wednesday, September 13th, and the regular season will conclude on March 11.
We will keep you posted on all the latest news surrounding the Canucks prospects. Keep it locked here at CanucksArmy.
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