Draft Profile: Artturi Lehkonen
Inside the Senate will be taking a look at 40 prospects ahead of the Entry Draft on June 30. Up next is Artturi Lehkonen...
With an influx of young and tenacious (dare I say #pesky?) scorers into the NHL in recent years, Artturi Lehkonen will be a player to keep an eye on from this year’s draft class.
He is on the smaller side at 5-foot-11, 159 pounds, but Lehkonen has that inherent ability to score. Playing against grown men in the SM-Liiga this season, he recorded 14 goals and 30 points in 45 games, despite his youth and physical disadvantage. He added three goals and four points in six games at the World Juniors for Finland in what was a disappointing tournament for the country as a whole.
Lehkonen thrives with his ability to find soft spots in the defensive zone and good hands. His skating won’t blow anyone away with its speed or explosiveness, but his elusiveness depends on it, which generates additional chances for himself and teammates in the offensive zone. He also has no problem going to the dirty zones of the ice.
There’s an excellent chance Lehkonen would have come with much more expectation into this draft had he not had a couple of concussions this season. Those injury concerns coupled with obvious skepticism surrounding a player of his size are why he doesn’t have the same hype a player who has produced at his rate in a top flight league would typically receive.
Lehkonen is a strong offensive talent and projects accordingly at the next level. His ceiling will be limited by the restraints of his body, but it’s tough to knock his production. In his last year of junior against players his age, he scored 28 goals in 40 games and, again, was a strong offensive producer as a 17-year-old at the top level this year. Both his father and uncle played pro hockey in Finland, so he also has the family pedigree so many like to see.
It’s unlikely Lehkonen sneaks into the first round so expect to see him go in rounds two or three.