Average-sized puck-moving defender with upside to be a number four defenseman. Loves to join the rush and play the cycle game in the offensive zone. Smooth skater. Needs to improve his defensive game.
Click to Expand
May 2023 – Leskinen will return to Europe this season after a brief reunion with the Canadiens organization. Having signed with Tappara of the SM-Liiga, this past season was most likely the last chapter for Leskinen in North America. Aaron Itovitch
April 2020 – Leskinen’s first season in North America was largely a success. He put up 22 points in 52 games in the AHL, and earned himself a brief five-game call up to the NHL. He didn’t get much of a chance to play, playing over 12 minutes in only two of those five games. It was clear Canadien’s coaching staff didn’t trust Leskinen’s defensive game. In the AHL Leskinen got more of a chance to play and work on the defensive side of a game which is clearly his biggest weakness. He also got a chance to play on the first power-play unit for most of the year in Laval. Pablo Ruiz
May 2019 – 22-year-old free agent Leskinen has signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens. Leskinen has average size (5-11, 187) but he’s a very good puck-moving defenseman who loves to join the rush and participate in the cycle game in the offensive zone. He’s a smooth skater who isn’t afraid to take risks to make offensive plays. He has played three full seasons at the Liiga level already but had his breakout season in 2018-2019. Leskinen led all defensemen on his team with eight goals and 31 points in 57 games. 31 points was also fourth-best on the low-scoring KalPa team and eighth best in the league among defensemen. Early in the season, he led his team in points for quite some time. He has a very good shot and he likes to use it a lot – his shot total was fifth-best in the league among defensemen. One cause for concern is that 17 of his points were scored on the power play where he received more ice time than any other player on his team (over three minutes per game).
Leskinen averaged almost 22 minutes of ice time per game but was only rarely used on the penalty kill. His numbers were very good because he was given the type of role that suits his strengths as an offensive defenseman. Leskinen needs another year or two to improve his defensive game before he’s ready to challenge for a spot on the NHL roster. But because of his skating ability and offensive tools, Leskinen offers a good amount of upside. If everything breaks perfectly, he could be a number four defenseman. But a more likely scenario is that he becomes a bottom-pair guy. Jokke Nevalainen