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Cam Robinson gives his thoughts on Pettersson, Willander, Lekkerimäki, and more: Canucks Conversation

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Clarke Corsan
4 months ago
On Thursday’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by Elite Prospects Content Director Cam Robinson for an update on Vancouver’s top prospects, Tom Willander and Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
Cam opened with some insight on Willander’s transition from the juniors in Sweden to playing in the NCAA with Boston University. He has 4 goals and 21 points in 32 games this season with the Terriers.
“It’s been a tough transition, I would say, but we should keep in mind that the jump from J20 to the NCAA is massive,” started Cam. “From juniors in Sweden to playing against 23, 24, 25-year-olds in the NCAA – these kids are basically pros, a lot of them already. Physically stronger, more mature, the difference in the size of the ice… He’s done O.K., I would say. The skating is still sublime, the production has been good. He’s playing on a BU team that racks up points, so the fact he has a good handful isn’t too surprising. But among U19 defenders, he’s just trailing a couple of top eligible kids for this coming draft. The hands are a concern. He’s been making a lot of errors, trying to do too much, and he’ll lose the handle. He’s missing some reads on outlet passes – I haven’t liked the way he’s been able to transition the puck outside of skating it out of trouble.”
“He’s a freshman, still really young. We knew that coming over there was going to be a transition, and a difficult one to start. I would’ve liked to see him clean it up, but he looks to be about the same player he was two or three months ago. Patience is going to be key. He’s kind of a trendsetter here, a pioneer, going from Swedish junior to the NCAA – not a lot of kids do it.”
Cam then gave an update on Jonathan Lekkerimäki, who is expected to finish the season with Orebro in Sweden before coming to join the Canucks organization next year. He had 19 goals and 31 points in 46 games on the season and is now competing in the playoffs. 
“I’ve been pretty steadfast in my assessment of Lekkerimäki,” said Cam. “I think he’s going to be more of a second-line winger – maybe won’t drive play for you, but someone who can find his spots and score goals, has that one-shot scoring ability, and can be a real weapon on your top power play unit. The best thing that’s happened in his development so far is that he’s added some snarl to his game. When I was in Sweden for the World Juniors, I was legitimately impressed with how hard he was going in on the forecheck, his board battles, going hard to the net front, and taking some abuse. The knock on him before was that he was too perimeter-oriented. He was forced to the outside and kept out there, he was fairly slight, didn’t really have that battle in him to go into those hard areas. That’s transitioned back to the SHL… We’d like to see him continue that, get a good strong off-season of training, come over to North America next year, and get into the pro game over here. There’s a chance he could be – maybe not Markus Naslund – but that type of player. A first-line goal scorer, that’s the very top of his ceiling, he could be a 40-goal scorer. But a more realistic outcome for him is a 25-30-goal scorer who can really be a weapon on your top unit, and you hope you can get enough out of him at 5-on-5.”
You can watch the full segment in the video below: 

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