Pure goal-scorer who can create his own opportunities with an array of deadly shots in his arsenal. Has the potential to produce in a top-six role at the NHL level.
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May 2023 – Despite initial doubts, Lekkerimäki made a remarkable comeback, not only with regards to his health, but his play on the ice. The 18-year-old sharpshooter returned for Djurgårdens’ playoff run and caught fire, recording a point-per-game and finishing fourth in playoff scoring with an impressive 15 points (5G + 10A). His game showcased a significant transformation compared to just months earlier. Fresh off his strong performance, the Canucks wasted no time in signing him to an entry-level contract. However, rather than a transition to the North American ranks immediately, Lekkerimäki opted to sign a new deal with Örebro (SHL), where he will suit up alongside fellow Canucks prospect, Elias Pettersson. Assuming he is offered worthy minutes, this move presents a positive challenge for Lekkerimäki, as he aims to further develop his skills at the highest tier in Sweden, where he previously posted nine points in 27 games during his draft-eligible season. This experience will serve as valuable preparation before his hopeful transition to British Columbia the following year. Dave Hall
March 2023 – It’s been a tough season for the Canucks’ 2021 first-round pick, to say the least. From lackluster statistical output, and a disappointing performance at the WJC, to a series of injuries, things did not go as planned in his draft plus-one campaign. After being selected 15th overall last summer, Lekkerimäki struggled in his first season at the Allsvenskan level after his former SHL team, Djurgårdens IF, was relegated. He contributed just three goals and accumulate nine points over 29 games before being sidelined by a season-ending foot injury. Of course, given his age (18) and distinct offensive potential, there is no need to hit the panic button. He will remain in Sweden for 2023-24, where he will look to build and prove his worth before making the leap overseas. Dear fantasy owner: hold pat, for now. Dave Hall
July 2022 – Lekkerimäki has been selected by the Vancouver Canucks with the 15th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. Nick Richard
December 2021 – Lekkerimäki has been a force for Djurgårdens’ J20 squad so far this year, leading the team in points and leading all J20 Nationell draft-eligibles in goal scoring. The only draft-eligible in the league with a higher points per game average so far this season is teammate Liam Öhgren who has spent the majority of his season playing with the SHL club. Nick Richard
October 2021 – Lekkerimäki drove the team’s offense and played a big role for Sweden at the 2021 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. The Swedish national team won a bronze medal and the 5-11 winger ended up with five goals in five games. He played on the first line throughout the tournament and was the team’s best goal scorer. He scored three of those five goals against Russia in the quarterfinals and finished fourth in overall tournament scoring – tied with Joakim Kemell and behind Dalibor Dvorsky and Matvei Michkov. He has been dominant through the early part of the J20 Nationell season, scoring 11 goals in the first 10 games of the campaign.
Lekkerimäki is a highly-skilled winger who reads the game well and plays at a high pace with impressive intelligence and situational awareness. He is a huge threat on the powerplay and is eager to shoot the puck as much as he can. Defenders better look after him properly, because Lekkerimäki is a cold-blooded killer who will fire heavy one-timers to terrorize opposing goaltenders. His shot is a dangerous weapon and he doesn’t miss the net very often. The Swedish winger has great hands and you can usually see him making nice dekes in every game. He really doesn’t care about how many opponents are around him, he knows he has the ability to cut through them like a hot knife through butter. Lekkerimäki is able to carry the puck end-to-end and lead the rush and also has the versatility to be used on the PK. Lekkerimäki can be physical and his puck protection skills are solid. Marek Novotny