How Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki has faired so far at WJC

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: Jonathan Lekkerimaki is drafted by the Vancouver Canucks during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 07: Jonathan Lekkerimaki is drafted by the Vancouver Canucks during Round One of the 2022 Upper Deck NHL Draft at Bell Centre on July 07, 2022 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Through the first two games, the young Vancouver Canucks prospect, Jonathan Lekkerimäki has failed to get himself a goal which may come as a surprise but the Swede has found himself in some excellent position to score in each game so far.

Could that mean he is destined to score against the USA which starts at 7 p.m. Pacific tonight?

First Game Of The Tournament Vs. Switzerland

In the game against Switzerland, Sweden spent a lot of time on the penalty kill as they accumulated 33 minutes in the penalty box. That of course took away some minutes Lekkerimäki could have had on the ice during even strength while playing on the second line.

Observing the Canucks prospect it is clear that at this point the young Swede looks relatively small on the ice which plays a part in him not being able to find his areas on the ice as often as he would like to, but one thing Canucks fans have heard about him is that he is a skill player and what do skill players do? Rely on their feet – agility, as well as their hands when it comes to creating and finding opportunities.

In the 3-2 win against Switzerland  Lekkerimäki did just that late in the second period as he carried the puck in the zone on the right side, and defended the puck with his body from a defender who tried to play physical, showing that he has the ability and reach to hold off a defender for a short period of time as he then cut back to create some space using his agility and those hands while finding room in the high-slot and getting a shot off on net.

Although he finished that game with no points and a 0 +/- that play he created in the Swiss zone was impressive and makes you want to see the kid play more.

Second Game Of The Tournament Vs. Austria

Despite failing to secure himself a goal yet, he did manage to get an assist on the powerplay in Sweden’s dominant win over Austria last game by laying the puck off to Emil Andrae who rifled it in the back of the net from the blue line.

In the run-up games to the tournament, Lekkerimäki was being given powerplay minutes, and the fact that he is still playing a part in the head coach, Tomas Monten’s plans shows the trust and appreciation of the Swedish coaching staff for Lekkerimäki

Before getting his first point of the tournament though he found another opportunity to put the puck on net with three minutes left in the first period.

As neither team had possession of the puck in the right corner in Austria’s zone, Lekkerimäki read the bounce of the puck well, didn’t panic, and stuck to his position a little off the boards which presented him with a great opportunity to pick up the puck and skate into a shot that unfortunately went over the bar but showed the fierce shot the fans have heard so much about.

While starting the first game against Switzerland on the second line and the game against Austria on the third, he has not been putting the puck on the net as often as you would expect having shot the puck just three times in two games but the silver lining in that is the fact that those opportunities have been really effective ones and ones that he has created and found for himself, no flukes.

Up next for Lekkerimäki and Sweden: USA

Heading into the game against the USA, it would be a real positive to see Lekkerimäki play a bigger role on Sweden’s Powerplay as Sweden currently have the second-best powerplay in the tournament behind Canada but have the fourth-best scoring efficiency in terms of goals to shots ration.

Giving a serious chance to  Lekkerimäki on the PP and giving him the freedom to shoot could be a possible difference maker for the Swedes.

In a game where it will be tough to come by goals, the Canucks 2022 first round pick’s release could play a major role in leading Sweden past USA.

With the line-ups yet to be released it is likely Lekkerimäki stays on the third line against the top of the group, the USA seeing as how well that worked out for the Swedish side in their previous 6-0 win.

Is Sweden going all the way and winning it this year? Will Lekkerimäki prove to be a game changer for the Swedes?

Who are you supporting in this one,fellow Canucks prospect Jacob Truscott (USA) or Lekkerimäki (SWE)?

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