There’s a reason Joe Sakic made a big push to trade for Artturi Lehkonen and had no issue giving up a ton to acquire him.
The versatile Finnish winger was a valuable member of the Colorado Avalanche‘s run to the Stanley Cup scoring big goals including the game-winner to clinch the team’s first championship in 21 years.
This is not new territory for Lehkonen who has earned a reputation as a playoff performer. Back in 2016, Lehkonen scored twice to help Frolunda HC win the 2016 SHL title, and it was his overtime goal in Game 6 against the Vegas Golden Knights that sent the Montreal Canadiens to the Stanley Cup Final last season.
For Colorado, Lehkonen took it one step further. After helping the Avalanche complete the four-game sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with the overtime winner, Lehkonen came through to break the deadlock with the Cup-clinching goal.
Safe to say, giving up defence prospect Justin Barron and a 2023 second-round draft pick for Lehkonen was well worth it for Colorado. The 26-year-old had eight goals, six assists, and was a plus-2 rating in 20 playoff games.
“That’s why you trade for guys like that at the deadline,” said Avalanche centre Nathan MacKinnon after Lehkonen scored the game-winner against Edmonton. “I’d trade 10 first-rounders for him right now. We’ll all be gone when those guys come in the league, anyways.”