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Edit: Drafted 55th overall by the Montreal Canadiens.
As we continue our way through the Draft rankings, we find another talented forward with pro hockey bloodlines at the number 30 position. Arturri Lehkonen is a Finnish born winger playing for KalPa Kuopio in the SM-Liiga, Finland’s top men’s hockey league. He’s had quite the year, putting up great offensive stats for a 17 year old playing in that league, and is only overshadowed by top Finnish prospect Aleksander Sasha Barkov in that respect. Lehkonen’s bloodlines in the SM-Liiga run deep, as both his father and uncle were stars in the league.
Lehkonen has also represented Finland at the international level. He was part of the 2013 IIHF Under 18 World Championship team that recently won a bronze medal, and even led that team in assists. In 2012 he led the Finland U18 team in goals at the same tournament. He also played for Finland in the 2013 World Junior Championships, and while that tourney was disappointing for Lekonen and the Finns, it was a good learning experience for him.
Born Jul 4 1995 — Piikkio, Finland
Height 5.10 — Weight 152 — Shoots L
Lehkonen is a talented offensive player and natural goal scorer. He has great stickhandling and the ability to beat defenders one on on one. He also has a hard and accurate wrist shot, and his lightning quick release helps him to beat goaltenders and find the back of the net. Lehkonen also has good hockey IQ, and a knack for finding the open areas of a defence. This ability allows him to set up for a one timer, which he can unleash with great results. Lehkonen is also a decent playmaker, with good passing and vision, but it is the goal scoring that he is best known for. Despite being undersized, he does work to win battles along the boards, but he will need to add a lot more upper body mass before he is effective in doing so at the next level.
Lehkonen is a very good skater. His top end speed and acceleration are excellent. He also has great edgework and agility, which allows him to get past opposing defenders, either through slick moves, or by driving wide and to the net. His great speed means that defenders need to respect this, and back off him on the rush, opening up space for him to unleash the great wrist shot. His balance is good, but he still needs to bulk up as he can be pushed off the puck at times.
In terms of style, I’d compare Lehkonen to Mike Cammalleri. His ability to find the back of the net with his great wrist shot and one timer, fits into that category of player. However, this is a style comparison only. In terms of potential, you have a potential top 6 winger who can really add a lot to his team’s powerplay if he reaches his potential.
Thanks for Reading, and Check back tomorrow where we will reveal the number 31 prospect for this June’s NHL Draft.
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Photo Credit: zimbio.com