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WATCH: Jonathan Lekkerimäki and Aidan McDonough score goals to kick off a busy prospects weekend
By Faber1 year ago
As you’ve learned from the Blackfish Report — which can be found here at CanucksArmy every Tuesday — all of the Canucks prospects’ teams are now into their regular seasons. This is a busy weekend for the prospects as we see the NCAA in full swing and saw European teams participate in Champions League games before jumping back to league play for the weekend.
This weekend is off to a good start for the youngsters, as two of the top goal-scorers in the prospect pipeline found the back of the net on Friday.
We will start in Sweden, where top prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki scored a goal in his Allsvenskan game early in the day.
We’ve had some minor concerns about Lekkerimäki since the Canucks picked him 15th overall in this summer’s draft. There has been a lack of even-strength scoring from the talented Swede but his goal on Friday was exactly what we were looking for when we were raising those concerns.
Lekkerimäki has been a bit of a perimeter player in our viewings of him this season, but on Friday’s goal, he goes hard to the net during an even-strength rush and is rewarded for his efforts with his first goal of the Allsvenskan season.
It looks like Lekkerimäki is finding his groove in the Swedish second division. He now has points in back-to-back games after setting up a 1-0 game-winning goal on Tuesday.
We know there’s a ton of offensive talent in Lekkerimäki’s game and he is still very young, so we’re trying to just look at the positives while banking the negatives for down the road when he is closer to 20 years old. He has great hands, a hell of a release, and is absolutely dynamic when it comes to how he finds open ice for his shot on the power play.
We’re hoping that he works his way up the Djurgärdens lineup to play on their top line, but for now, we are seeing Lekkerimäki slot into the third line while getting a lot of time as the left half-wall power play specialist. More goals at even strength will help push him up the lineup and he has definitely looked more engaged at five-on-five this week, in the two games that we watched.
From one shooter to another, let’s check out Aidan McDonough’s first goal of the NCAA season.
McDonough and his Northeastern Huskies began their NCAA season last weekend but fired up conference playoff on Friday evening with a game against Vermont.
We all know that McDonough is lethal from the right half-wall on the power play, and that is exactly where his goal came from on Friday night.
The Huskies’ captain got a bit of space and ripped home his first of the season with a howitzer of a one-timed slap shot.
The big-bodied winger is projected to be one of the leading scorers in the NCAA this year after putting up 25 goals last season. His 25 goals in the 2021-22 season were good enough for second in the NCAA but his return for his senior season puts him in a spot where McDonough should be competing to be a strong candidate for the Hobey Baker trophy.
We should expect to see Lekkerimäki take a couple more years in Sweden before we see him jump over to pro hockey in North America. As for McDonough, he has told CanucksArmy that his plan is to sign with the Canucks after his NCAA playoffs conclude.
We expect to see McDonough in the AHL or NHL near the end of the season — providing a nice boost of scoring to the depth. His size and strength will be something he leans on but his best quality is surely his shot.
Hopefully, we can see more of these two prospects in the future and see more of what we saw at Canucks development camp this summer.
McDonough is back in action on Saturday night for the second of a home-and-home against Vermont.
Lekkerimäki played early Saturday morning and was held pointless in a 2-1 loss. His next Allsvenskan game is Wednesday.
We will have more clips, highlights and updates in our Tuesday morning Blackfish Report, where we wrap up everything that happened in the past week for all of the Canucks’ prospects.
See you on Tuesday!
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