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Dave Hall talks Lekkerimaki coming to Vancouver, a big weekend for NCAA prospects, and more: Canucks Conversation

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Photo credit:James Foster / Jay Foster Photography
Clarke Corsan
27 days ago
On today’s episode of Canucks Conversation, David Quadrelli and Harman Dayal were joined by Dave Hall to discuss Jonathan Lekkerimäki coming to Vancouver and give some more prospect insight.
A report came out earlier today that Lekkerimäki is making a trip to Vancouver to visit the Canucks before heading back to Sweden for the IIHF World Championship.
“Abbotsford heads out on quite an extensive road trip here, so given the timeline, this pretty much suggests that this is a Vancouver trip rather than an Abbotsford trip,” stated Dave. “I’m thinking he starts the first couple of days in Vancouver – practice with the squad, work with the coaching staff, check out the systems, see what it’s like to be on a playoff-bound NHL team – then maybe in the second half joins Abbotsford to figure out the ropes down there.”
Quads: “Is there a chance he gets into a game?”
“Look, he could play a game. As long as he stays under ten games, his deal slides, so in theory, he could play a game,” Dave answered. “I’m tempering expectations. I think it’s more of a ‘get him over here, show him the ropes, get the systems down before development camps next year’ sort of thing. This isn’t much of a surprise; Patrik Allvin pretty much laid this plan out all the way back in January.”
Dave then discussed his scouting on this year’s batch of NCAA prospects, with one name coming to mind.
“There’s one player I was particularly high on all season who happened to play on the same team as the recent signing of the Canucks, Christian Felton: Zach Bookman. He’s a bit on the younger side, so he’ll probably go back to college. He’s a bit smaller but had 102 points in the Alberta league two years ago, so he’s a dynamic offensive defenceman. Overall, he’s undrafted, so temper expectations, but in terms of this crop, he’s pretty exciting on the back end. Smaller guy, skates really well, and can make a lot of positive plays. He’s one of the guys I’m keeping my eyes on. Aside from that, you’re looking at older defensive-defenceman kinda guys.”
Dave then gave an update on Vancouver’s prospects.
“As for Lekkerimäki, you can get real excited and hope he’s going to be a top-line, 40-goal scorer (which he has that nasty shot for, and there could be a world where he does slot in and find lightning in a bottle next to Elias Pettersson and scores 40). But realistically, you’re probably looking at a 25-30 goal scorer, and a good one too. Over the year, we’ve seen him try to get into the middle of the ice and do what he can to create more plays. He’s been a hound on the forecheck, so we like what we’ve seen in that aspect. Overall, it’s going to be a big jump for him. It’s one thing to do that at the SHL level, but defence is going to be way more stingy, more aggressive, and their gaps are going to be much better. He’s going to have to get pretty creative in finding new ways to get around those nuances of the defencemen of the NHL to score at the level he has in the SHL (and he’s not scoring 40 goals there either). There’s nothing wrong with that; he can definitely complement the top 6 quite nicely, but I’m not sure about his play-driving at the NHL level. His most assists, at any level, were in the J20, and it was 15 assists, so he’s not driving a lot of plays. But overall, top 6.”
“In terms of Elias Pettersson, I think he’s going to have an easier time transitioning. Obviously, the speed is going to be a bit of a difference, but he’s one of those rough kind of guys who plays like a dog on a bone. For expectations, he’s going to do a solid job of being that shutdown, penalty-killing defenceman for the Abbotsford Canucks.”
You can watch the full replay of today’s show below:

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