Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen is turning heads with his offensive dominance as a 20-year old in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL). The SHL, formerly known as Elitserien, is the top professional league in the country’s ice hockey system.
Artturi Lehkonen was drafted in the 2nd round (55th overall) of the 2013 National Hockey League Entry Draft by the Habs. At the time of the draft, Lehkonen was playing for KalPa in his home country Finland, where he played for another season before heading to Frolunda HC in Sweden. Measuring in at 5’11” and 176lbs, Lehkonen can play both Right Wing (RW) and Left Wing (LW).
“A small winger with good scoring-instincts, Lehkonen is very good with the puck and has great stickhandling. He is highly competitive and while often physically at a disandvantage, Lehkonen is not afraid to enter battles in corners. He doesn’t have a great top-gear but is a smooth skater with good technique. He must gain strength and add power to his skating and once his physique is at an acceptabale level, Lehkonen can be a major offensive threat and utilize his excellent hockey sense even better.” – Matias Strozyk via Eliteprospects.com
The 2015-16 season has truly been a breakout season in Europe for Lehkonen. Since making his professional hockey debut in 2011-12 with TPS in Liiga (Finland), his statistics have exploded, making him a key piece for the first place team in Sweden.
Despite being 5th on Frolunda HC in points with 12 goals + 13 assists for 25 points in 32 games, Lehkonen places 13th among the scoring leaders in the Swedish Hockey League. Also, at 20-years old Lehkonen is the youngest player within the top-13. Lehkonen has showed up in big games, recording 4 goals + 6 assists for 10 points in 10 games in the Champions Hockey League. For those of you who don’t know, Champions Hockey League is a European club tournament similar to UEFA Champions League in soccer. The 2015-16 edition of the annual tournament contains 48 European teams from 12 different countries in their top tier leagues. Lehkonen’s Frolunda HC went 4-0-0-0 in the group stage after defeating JYP (Finland), and Sheffield Steelers (United Kingdom) twice each. Frolunda is still in the knockout stage, as they will take on HC Davos (Switzerland) in the Semi-Finals.
Lehkonen will be playing tomorrow in the 1st Leg of the Champions Hockey League Semi-Finals match against HC Davos and in the 2nd Leg on January 19th, 2016. Lehkonen is definitely a prospect to be excited for, and hopefully he will be in North America sooner than later. Lehkonen’s current contract over in Europe is through the 2016-17 season.