A very skilled offensive defenseman with very good skating ability. Plays a pretty good two-way game. Best defenseman in the KHL in 2019-2020 and ready to play in the NHL in 2020-2021.
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September 2020 – Lehtonen has picked up right where he left in the KHL with 3 goals, 1 assist, 10 SOG, and over 20:00 aTOI in his first two games on loan. He is currently playing on the left side, but regardless his ability to generate scoring at even strength against tough competition should make him a target in fantasy drafts for the 2020-21 campaign. Hayden Soboleski
August 2020 – As preparations are made for a 2020-21 campaign with starting plans differing between leagues, the Maple Leafs have loaned Lehtonen to Jokerit of the KHL. This will put him back with a familiar team where he won KHL Rookie-of-the-Year honors and the top d-man points total last year and get some valuable in-game action before the NHL plans on returning in December. With so much talk about the handedness of the Leafs’ defense corps, keep an eye on whether Lehtonen asks to play on the right side as he had done in the SHL earlier in his career. Whichever side he plays on, he is expected to return to the organization for NHL training camp and become a fantasy factor right out of the gate. Hayden Soboleski
May 2020 – The Leafs have signed Lehtonen to a one-year entry level contract. Jokke Nevalainen
May 2020 – Lehtonen has managed to get out of his KHL contract with Jokerit a year early, making him the best European free agent available right now. Lehtonen is a bit of a late bloomer but the 26-year-old was the best defenseman in Europe during the 2019-2020 season. His 17 goals and 49 points in 60 games led all defensemen in the KHL by a wide margin. It was definitely a breakout season for him but he’s been developing steadily over the years, and there was a lot of NHL interest already after the 2019 World Championship tournament where he won gold and was named to the tournament All-Star team.
Lehtonen is also not just a pure offensive player who would be a liability defensively. He’s not a defensive stud but he plays an NHL level two-way game already. He is also a very good skater which obviously helps matters. He is expected to be NHL ready right away with no time needed in the AHL. Most likely he’ll start on the bottom pair and play on the second power play unit but he could work his way up to the second pair depending on the team he signs with. Jokke Nevalainen