Just like that, we are once again talking about Juho Lammikko and his recent contributions to the Vancouver Canucks. The Finnish forward has become a fan-favourite since being acquired from the Florida Panthers in exchange for the much-maligned Olli Juolevi.
Lammikko has found recent success on the fourth line with linemates Tyler Motte, and Matthew Highmore — a high-energy line that has become a big part of the Canucks’ recent success.
On February 21st, Lammikko registered his first multi-point game with the Canucks, recording two assists in a 5-2 victory over the Seattle Kraken. Lammikko, Motte, and Highmore were exceptional and played a huge role in the victory. Motte opened the scoring early in the first period when Lammikko battled down low for the puck behind Chris Diredger’s net. He was then able to get the puck loose and dish a pass in front for Motte who tapped the pass into the net effortlessly.
Advertisement
Ad
Later on in the game, Lammikko would pick up an assist on Travis Hamonic’s first goal of the season. Fast forward to Sunday against the New York Rangers, and Lammikko once again found his name on the scoresheet where he registered his sixth goal of the season, he now sits at 12 points on the season.
Typically, fourth lines struggle to get ice time.
That is not the case with this line, as Lammikko, Motte, and Highmore have all exceeded expectations.
Though they all still hold traits of a classic meat and potatoes line, they have found recent success putting the puck in the back of the net. They can thank Bruce Boudreau for a lot of their newfound success.
Advertisement
Ad
Lammikko has bounced around over the last few years. With stints in Florida, Finland, and Russia — he looks back on his decision to return to his home country of Finland during the 2019-20 season a great decision for his career. “I didn’t have a role in Florida,” Lammikko told The Province about his decision to go back to Finland in 2019. “I thought it’s better to go back there and play more and try to get better because I was only 22 at that time, so I thought it’s better to go play. It’s fun. It was a nice change from earlier seasons, I got to play like first-line minutes back there, with good linemates and stuff. It’s a little hard, but I think it helps a little bit (in the big picture),” he said. “Try to just get a different atmosphere. Try to get out of the comfort zone a little bit and for some players, that works. I’ve done it.”
While with Karpat, he registered point totals that he had not exceeded before in pro hockey, registering 51 points (22 goals, 29 assists) in 51 games. A morale boost for him knowing he can compete at the pro-level has allowed him to now find his game in the NHL.
Advertisement
Ad
His percentage of on-ice shot attempts (CF%) has decreased from 47.5% in 2020-21, to 42.5% this season, but his PTS/60 is up from 0.8 to 1.2 — a good increase already for Lammikko while under Boudreau. It should be noted that PTS/60 is one of the best overall indicators for offensive ability. It’s not perfect, but it’s less flawed than looking at points-per-game (PPG).
While all the hard work seems to be paying off, Lammikko was discouraged when he first arrived in Vancouver. Under former head coach Travis Green, he saw little playing time. Now with Boudreau at the helm, Lammikko has found success and has been adding a lot more to the Canucks than anticipated when he and Noah Juulsen were originally acquired from the Florida Panthers for Olli Juolevi. Lammikko, Motte, and Highmore have all received high praise from Boudreau and Canucks management. The trio has embodied a fourth-line mentality that entails energy, aggression, and hustle.
Advertisement
Ad
“They take direction really well and they do what you ask them to do. And they can all skate,” Boudreau said after last Monday’s win over the Seattle Kraken. “And now they’re starting to score some goals and that makes them even more valuable in my mind.”
With the Canucks desperately making a playoff push, this is a line that holds incredible value to the team come playoff time. It was former Canucks general manager Brian Burke who once stated that all four lines need to be able to score, hit, and fight in order to be a successful Stanely Cup-winning team. He, of course, has proved that in his career by building that dominant Anaheim Ducks team in 2006-07 that saws the likes of Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, J.S. Giguere, Sean O’Donnell, George Parros, and Brady May to name a few. Quite the hard-hitting lineup full of talent, and physicality.
Advertisement
Ad
We’re not saying the Canucks have that type of team by any means, but it’s a treat to watch the current fourth line go out on the ice and do more than what’s expected.
Nobody could have expected that Lammikko — who was brought in as a replacement for Brandon Sutter at the fourth line centre position — would find this type of success with the Canucks.
You likely won’t see many Lammikko jerseys in the stands at Rogers Arena anytime soon.
But more importantly, you likely won’t see anyone complaining about what the Canucks are getting out of Lammikko on the ice anytime soon, either.