There is a tiny bit of Elias Pettersson in the way Jonathan Lekkerimaki shoots the puck, which is easy to understand for the reason that the Vancouver Canucks star is an idol of the team’s most recent draft select.
The Canucks selected Lekkermaki from Swedish club Djurgardens with the 15th-overall pick of the Nationwide Hockey League draft Thursday in Montreal. And due to the fact Vancouver hadn’t had a very first-round decide on given that 2019, the goal-scoring 17-year-outdated instantly results in being the Canucks’ best prospect.
A large amount of draft projections – and the Canucks’ personal draft listing – experienced Lekkerimaki in the major-10.
“Our scouts had been pounding the desk they seriously desired to pick him,” normal manager Patrik Allvin claimed. “It was an quick final decision. We’ve appreciated him the entire year. We like his potential to score objectives. He’s a dynamic, offensive player that has scoring capability but also is in a position to make plays. He’s a lighter variation probably of Lucas Raymond and how he plays in Detroit. There’s a ton of similarities here with Jonathan.”
Raymond, a fourth-general select in 2020, scored 23 aims and 57 points last time for the Red Wings and should have been a Calder Trophy finalist.
Raymond and Lekkerimaki are the two 5-foot-11 Swedes, and Allvin’s collection of the latter on Thursday included to the Canucks’ loaded history involving Swedish players.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, who will perform with Lekkerimaki in their player-growth roles with the Canucks, have been just voted into the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Lekkerimaki is mindful of the twins and the Canucks’ deep ties to his country, but Pettersson is the Vancouver participant he has watched most intently as a teen.
“They’ve had this kind of fantastic Swedes,” Lekkerimaki said. “I like Elias Pettersson, so it is heading to be pleasurable. I watched him very a lot back in Sweden. I like his shot. He’s a major inspiration for me. I can’t speak, I’m so excited.”
At the junior amount this period, Lekkerimaki experienced 20 plans in 26 online games for Djurgardens and led the Beneath-18 world championship in scoring with five aims and 15 points, which provided a aim and a few assists in Sweden’s 6-4 acquire over the United States in the gold medal game in Germany two months in the past.
Like Pettersson, Lekkerimaki has a rapid launch and can rating from any place, whether it be a wrist shot or large slapper. But if comparing the two, persons need to tap the brakes a minor.
Pettersson was a fifth-over-all decide in 2017 after scoring 19 ambitions and 41 points for Timra in Sweden’s 2nd-division experienced league, then followed that with a dominant 56-position period for Vaxjo in the Swedish Hockey League. In get in touch with-ups to Djurgardens’ SHL workforce this period, Lekkerimaki experienced seven targets and 9 points in 26 games.
But there is a similarity truly worth noting: both gamers faced issues about their construct – Pettersson for getting slender and Lekkerimaki, right up until recently, for staying small and mild. Exterior doubts about Pettersson’s energy ended up a fiery motivator for him, and the 23-yr-aged has confirmed to every person he is potent sufficient to star in the NHL. Now, the 170-pound Lekkerimaki need to do the very same as he develops.
“I feel I want to be extra aggressive,” Lekkerimaki mentioned. “I have to get some major methods, but I am seeking forward to getting a top player. I think I have to be smarter and more substantial, of training course. But it normally takes time.”
He travelled to the draft from Stockholm with his dad and mom, Peter and Ellinor, and his older sister, Mikaela. Peter operates his very own construction business and Ellinor is a nurse.
“It is a childhood aspiration of his to be here nowadays,” Mikaela instructed Sportsnet. “He has generally had one target and that is to turn out to be wonderful at hockey. We are just so proud. It is really been an astounding journey to see him at this issue in his existence now.”
Questioned if her brother has been doubted on his journey, Mikaela stated: “Absolutely, he has. Men and women have stated he’s been tiny for his age and that he had to develop muscle mass and things. And yeah, that has pushed him. He has normally worked tough for this. He is organized to do the do the job. He is aware that nothing at all will come for cost-free. He’s pretty focused.”
Remarkably, Lekkerimaki’s Canadian Hockey League junior rights belong to the Vancouver Giants, who claimed him last 7 days in the import draft.
No conclusion has been manufactured about wherever he will perform future season, but it definitely can help the Canucks’ odds of obtaining him to Vancouver that they can offer you all of their NHL methods, such as assistance from the Sedins.
Allvin reported Lekkerimaki will show up at following week’s advancement camp in Vancouver.
A single of the youngest gamers in the draft, he doesn’t turn 18 until finally July 24.
“We’re thrilled that our progress (workers) is going to get a possibility to function nearer with him and get to know him even improved,” Allvin mentioned. “But we’re not heading to drive any choices here. We haven’t talked about next calendar year.
“All the tricky do the job begins proper now. Getting drafted is fantastic, but then you comprehend how tricky it is to get to the future degree. We are heading to assistance him and support him, but I believe he is an particularly driven child. He understands what locations of his game he wants to boost on in order to consider the upcoming phase.”
The Canucks have 5 a lot more picks Friday in the 2nd working day of the draft, lacking only the next-spherical collection sent to the Arizona Coyotes last summer time in the blockbuster trade for Conor Garland and Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Allvin insisted the group did not arrive shut Thursday to building any trades involving J.T. Miller or any individual else. He reported “the status is the same” and that he feels no urgency to make a choice shortly on Miller, the Canucks’ foremost scorer who is going into the ultimate 12 months of his deal, and may perhaps verify unaffordable in Vancouver on his following just one.