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Canucks’ Top 25 Under 25 (2022 Edition): #5 Jonathan Lekkerimäki

The Canucks new top prospect debuts on our list in the top five.

2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Portraits
Jonathan Lekkerimaki poses for a portrait after being selected 15th overall by the Vancouver Canucks during the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec.
Photo by Andre Ringuette/NHLI via Getty Images

Welcome to the Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings, the series that makes you wish you were under 25 again. The list includes all players born after April 15th, 1998.

No matter who the Canucks selected with their first-round pick in the 2022 draft, we knew this player was immediately going to become the team’s top prospect.

However, the selection of Jonathan Lekkerimäki at 15th overall solidified that notion further, considering that the Swedish sniper was a consensus top-10 pick on most draft boards.

Heck, we even found out during an All-Access video from the Canucks that their scouting staff had ranked Lekkerimäki seventh overall.

Here’s the excerpt where Allvin shares this tidbit in the video.

“Lekkerimäki, we’ve got him at seven on the list for a reason, right?”

He’s a good player. You guys are pounding the table for Lekkerimäki. Lekkerimäki is the guy, right? He’s a top-six scorer.”

Well, the Canucks certainly hope that they’ve drafted a top-six staple for their future.

Lekkerimäki possesses one outstanding trait: his shot. The young Swedish winger can absolutely rip the puck with a wicked wrister, and some of the tape on his game shows that he has a powerful one-timer as well.

Last season over in Sweden, Lekkerimäki torched the J20 circuit with 20 goals and 26 games. He then transitioned over to the SHL, where his seven goals in that league as a 17-year-old tied a record set by Peter Forsberg.

Not bad company for the youngster.

He continued his point-gathering rampage prior to the draft at the World U18s. His 15 points (in just six games) led all players at the tournament.

Lekkerimäki wasn’t as effective at the World Juniors in August though. He registered no goals and three assists while playing mainly third-line minutes.

Aside from his shot, the 18-year-old is a crafty puck handler as well. However, there are still some holes in his game that need to be less glaring before he’s ready to make the jump to North America.

What’s Next for Lekkerimäki?

One of the youngest players available in last year’s draft will remain with Djurgårdens IF this upcoming season, although he’ll play in a different league. That’s because Djurgårdens was relegated from the SHL last season, meaning they’ll play this season in HockeyAllsvenskan.

That’s probably a good thing for Lekkerimäki, who will get the chance to excel against lower-tier defenders.

In December, Lekkerimäki should also play a bigger role for Sweden at the World Junior Hockey Championships.

Before he makes it to the NHL, Lekkerimäki needs to work on improving his perimeter play. He said after the draft that this was the main thing he must improve: being better at going to the net instead of relying on teammates.

If he can unlock that part of his game and become more disruptive, then there’s a good chance that Lekkerimäki will indeed begin torching NHL goaltenders in a couple of seasons.