Photo credit:James Foster
Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s 2022-23 year ends with 4-0 loss in game seven of Allsvenskan finals — what’s next for the first rounder?
By Faber9 months ago
They say that all good things come to an end and that phrase can be applied to Jonathan Lekkerimäki’s 2022-23 Allsvenskan playoff performance.
Game seven of the Allsvenskan finals took place on Sunday, with the winner advancing to the SHL. Unfortunately for Lekkerimäki, his team Djurgården lost by the same score the Vancouver Canucks saw in game seven of the 2011 Stanley Cup Final — 4-0.
Lekkerimäki saw a massive jump in his game as he finished the playoffs as a point-per-game player with 15 points over 15 playoff games. His 15 points were good enough to make his third in playoff scoring and one of two players to be at a point-per-game and play over 10 playoff matches.
The atmosphere was electric and aside from game seven, where the opposing team MoDo controlled the play for most of the game, Lekkerimäki stepped up in the big moments.
The kid found confidence throughout the playoffs and looked to be more engaged in forechecking, and was able to create more offence at even-strength with his more engaged play at five-on-five.
It’s now time for Lekkerimäki to get to work in the gym. He needs to put on weight for next season and after a tumultuous 2022-23 season, he is healthy and ready for a summer that is critical for his development. We expect to see Lekkerimäki at the Canucks’ summer development camp but after that, his 2023-24 landing spot is still a bit unknown.
As much as we’d like to see Lekkerimäki develop under the watchful eye of the Sedins, and the rest of the development staff in Abbotsford, we’re not confident it will be the outcome. Lekkerimäki is comfortable in Sweden and Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin answered a question about bringing prospects over from Europe when he spoke at the year-end media availability.
“I think every player is unique,” said Allvin. “I think the players dictate when they are ready. It’s a big step. We’re not rushing any players and [those] players will dictate to us through the development staff where they are in the development path and when they’re ready to go.”
What we’re expecting is that Lekkerimäki will be in the SHL next season. And you may think, ‘Well, how? His team didn’t get a promotion.’
And yes, you are correct but our expectation is that the Canucks organization wants to get him into the SHL, he wants to play in the SHL and the best place for his development in his draft-plus-two season is to play in Sweden’s top league.
A landing spot that we would love to see is Lekkerimäki landing with Färjestad on loan. Fellow teenage Canucks prospect Lucas Forsell is cementing himself as a top-six forward in the SHL and he can play both wings. It would be wonderful to see Forsell and Lekkerimäki develop together and gives the Canucks a chance to have Samuelsson in contact communication with the two prospects.
There’s still a lot of work required from Lekkerimäki but what he has done in the playoffs over the past five weeks is nothing short of damn impressive.
After a season that was looking like a lost year of development, he figured it out in the playoffs and has to feel good about his own play. This is massively important for a kid who battled through the regular season and worked hard for his playoff production.
We will get in contact with Lekkerimäki after a bit of downtime here and report back with what we are hearing on his playing situation for the 2023-24 season.
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