Projecting a Juho Lammikko contract extension with the Vancouver Canucks
Photo credit:Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
By Noah Strang8 months ago
When the Vancouver Canucks traded Olli Juolevi to the Florida Panthers for Juho Lammikko and Noah Juulsen, most fans had likely never heard of their team’s newly-acquired Finnish forward.
After Lammikko scored in Bruce Boudreau’s first game behind the Canucks’ bench, even the new head coach didn’t know his name.
“What’s his name? His first goal of the year, what’s his name?” Boudreau asked after his first game in Vancouver.
It wasn’t long before Lammikko made everyone learn his name. He played a key role on the Canucks’ fourth line with Tyler Motte and Matthew Highmore, which became one of Boudreau’s favourite combinations. There was a stretch this season where an argument could be made that that line was more important than the Canucks’ top-six combinations.
While playing together at five-on-five, that trio was on the ice for 14 goals for and only 4 goals against. The trio used its speed to get in on the forecheck, frustrating opponents and taking advantage of turnovers. While the departure of Motte via trade meant the end of that effective line, it was still a glimpse into Lammikko’s potential.
He finished the season with seven goals and eight assists in 75 games. While those numbers don’t jump off the page, it’s not bad production for the role he was given. He also did play minutes on the penalty kill, something the Canucks need from their fourth-line centre.
Lammikko is now a restricted free agent and the Canucks need to make a decision on if they’re going to bring him back. At 26 years old, Lammikko still has lots of good hockey left. If the Canucks do decide that he makes sense as a fourth-liner, how much are they going to need to pay him?
Lammikko’s impact on the ice
Despite there being no expectations for Lammikko this season, he put forth a solid effort, playing well on the fourth line. CanucksArmy‘s own Colton Davies explored why Lammikko was “found money” for the organization in an article earlier this year.
The Canucks have overpaid for depth players in the past so it was nice that Lammikko played so well while costing only $750,000. He showed underrated passing ability and has the energy to play that depth agitator role.
If the Canucks do reacquire Motte this off-season or find someone else that fits his role, rekindling some of that magic would give the team a fourth line that inspires confidence.
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Lammikko also did a solid job in the faceoff circle, winning 51% of his draws. However, that was a career-high mark for him and he’s never surpassed 45% in any of his other two partial NHL campaigns.
Reasons for skepticism
There are some concerns with signing Lammikko that he might not be the best person for the job. While the salary commitment would likely be small enough that he could be bumped to the press box and it wouldn’t be a strain, maximizing every dollar is crucial for the Canucks.
Lammikko is a left-handed shot and ideally, the Canucks would have a right-handed centreman playing on the fourth line. In addition, he doesn’t play a very physical game. The new management in Vancouver has outlined the fact that they would like more sandpaper in the lineup and the fourth-line centre job is typically one that requires a little more grit.
Finally, while Lammikko did spend time on the Canucks’ penalty kill unit, that group struggled. He played the second-most penalty kill minutes of any forward on the team, only behind J.T. Miller. The Canucks need to figure out how to upgrade the PK unit that cost the team wins last season.
Lammikko’s projected new contract
Lammikko is a good depth player to have on the roster. While he did have a good season for the Canucks, the team can’t fall in love with him and offer too much money. With so many inefficient contracts already on the books, the Canucks need to make every dollar count.
We think that an extension for Lammikko could be something like two years, $1.1 million AAV. This would keep him under team control for another couple of years to give him the chance to further prove his worth in the NHL while also offering him a moderate pay raise.
What do you think a Lammikko extension could look like?
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