Report: Prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki may sign with the Canucks soon and be loaned to SHL
Photo credit:© Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports
By Faber6 months ago
After a strong playoff run where he was a point-per-game performer, Jonathan Lekkerimäki is now looking for a place to play in the 2023-24 season.
Reports coming out of Sweden have indicated that the expectation is for Lekkerimäki to sign his entry-level contract with the Vancouver Canucks and then be loaned to an SHL team for him to continue developing in Sweden.
Lekkerimäki and his Allsvenskan team Djurgården lost in the Allsvenskan finals to MoDo and with that series loss, Djurgården did not get promoted to the SHL. Instead of returning to the Allsvenskan for another year, we’re hearing that the Canucks organization wants to see him play in Sweden’s top league — the SHL.
A couple of SHL teams have been mentioned to us regarding interest in the 18-year-old first-round pick. The most common team we’ve heard mentioned is Leksands.
There’s a tie-in with the Canucks, as General Manager Patrik Allvin developed with Leksands in junior hockey.
Färjestad is the other team that we believe has shown interest in Lekkerimäki. We would love to see Lekkerimäki join Färjestad. Fellow Canucks prospect Lucas Forsell has been used in a top-six role with them this past season and having two Canucks prospects on one SHL team opens up a lot of doors for the Canucks organization to use their development staff, most importantly, Mikael Samuelsson.
Samuelsson worked with Lekkerimäki this past year — finding ice time for the two to work on Lekkerimäki’s board play and we heard the two have spent a lot of time watching shifts together. Something else that we’ve heard Samuelsson is doing well with the prospects is preparing them for a trip over to North America and the grind of pro hockey, whether that be the NHL or the AHL.
As much as we’d love to see Lekkerimäki come to North America for the 2023-24 season, our belief is that he will remain in Sweden. There are options for Lekkerimäki here in North America. He could join the Abbotsford Canucks in the AHL or has the chance to be selected in this year’s CHL import draft after his rights with the Vancouver Giants were relinquished this past season.
We may see an announcement from the Canucks very soon about an entry-level contract and then a loan to an SHL team would be just around the corner.
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