The Vancouver Canucks have selected Swedish forward Jonathan Lekkerimaki with the 15th-overall pick in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Lekkerimaki, 17, is best known for his NHL-ready shot. The Swedish forward’s elite release was on full display at every level of play over the course of the past season. His 2021-22 campaign saw him tally 20 goals and 35 points in 26 games with Djurgårdens IF J20, Sweden’s top junior league, and he also found success at the club’s pro level in the SHL. Lekkerimaki scored seven goals and added two assists in 26 SHL games as a 17-year-old.
On the international stage, Lekkerimaki’s offensive skillset earned him plenty of notice. At the under-18 world junior championship, he led all tournament players in points with 15 in six games (five goals, 10 assists) to propel Sweden to gold. He was also named to Sweden’s under-20 world juniors, but did not see the ice in the tournament that was ultimately cut short due to COVID in December.
By the end of the 2021-22 season, Lekkerimaki was projected as a probable top-10 pick in this year’s class. Canucks general manager Patrick Allvin told Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman Vancouver had the prospect ranked “a little bit higher rated” than where they ultimately landed him at 15th overall, and said the club was excited to see him available.
While he possesses a pro-calibre shot, Lekkerimaki will need a little more time to develop before he’s ready to make the jump to the NHL.
“I think a lot of these younger players here obviously need to get stronger. He’s a skilled, smart player playing at the pro level this year,” Allvin told Friedman.
Allvin said there’s “no rush” on his development.
“We’ll take our time here and work with him,” he said.