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Canucks prospects: Lekkerimaki ‘more explosive, faster and bigger’

In an unique interview, Jonathan Lekkerimaki says his recreation has hit one other stage this season. His coach agrees

Jonathan Lekkerimaki can’t level to at least one a part of his recreation that’s higher since final season.

That’s as a result of, to the gifted 19-year-old, his recreation has by no means been higher.

“Every part,” he says with out hesitation. “Being extra explosive. Quicker and greater. Every part.”

“I believe I discovered from it. Generally it goes up and down,” Lekkerimaki mentioned on Wednesday evening, winding it down earlier than Thursday’s tilt towards Malmo.

The child they name ‘Lekki’ regarded each bit the higher participant on Thursday towards Malmo in a 3-2 shootout loss. Skating on the second line, the 5-foot-11, 172-pound right-shot winger was electrical within the early going, establishing linemate Robert Leino for a harmful shot that went off the put up halfway via the primary interval, then stickhandling previous a defender along with the web earlier than slipping the puck in entrance for a wonderful probability.

His line was the most effective of the evening, with Leino later scoring and Lekkerimaki dangling the Malmo goalie and slipping the puck below his pads to transform throughout the shootout.

First-year Orebro head coach Johan Hedberg — a former NHL goaltender who performed with the Canucks throughout the 2003-04 season — went with Lekkerimaki once more in a do-or-die shootout scenario, however the Huddinge product was stopped on a fast forehand transfer by goaltender Daniel Marmenlind.

Hedberg joined CHEK TV’s Donnie and Dhali present on Monday, telling the hosts that Lekkerimaki’s recreation has progressed a lot additional than anticipated.

“He’s been nice. What all people talks about with Jonathan is his shot, however his playmaking expertise are elite too,” Hedberg mentioned. “He’s way more structured than I assumed he can be. He’s truly fairly sound defensively and is taking good duty on the market.”

Hedberg mentioned Lekkerimaki has “big-time” NHL potential however must proceed to get stronger, regardless of having “placed on some muscle groups” over the summer time.

“That’s the principle factor for him. In any other case his expertise set is nice sufficient to be the highest participant within the (SHL), ultimately.”

Nonetheless, regardless of three targets in 5 video games and way more concerned play throughout the board, Lekkerimaki has his detractors, who proceed to label him a fringe participant.

That’s superb with Lekkerimaki, who stopped listening to his critics a very long time in the past.

“Simply shut it out. Simply be myself. Play my finest.”


jurmo
Vancouver Canucks’ Joni Jurmo in motion throughout growth camp on the Doug Mitchel Thunderbird Stadium in Vancouver B.C. on July 4, 2023.Photograph by NICK PROCAYLO /PNG

Elsewhere: Defensive prospect Joni Jurmo (2020, Rd. 3) continues to play second-pairing minutes for Ilves of the Finnish Liiga and notched his first help of the season final week in a 4-2 win over Lukko. Jurmo, 21, used his wheels to guide a rush up the ice and made a wise go below the stick of a reaching defender for the first helper.

The 6-foot-5, 209-pound left-shot D-man is averaging round quarter-hour a recreation this season and has one level and a plus-1 ranking in eight video games.

With the Canucks signing a lot of younger defencemen this previous low season, Jurmo seems to be in a make-or-break marketing campaign to earn his first NHL contract.


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