Canadiens Contractual Obligations: Artturi Lehkonen

The vast array of criteria, subjectivity and the interpretation therein of what the next contract should look like for any given player across the National Hockey League is, at times, mind boggling; moreover, it becomes particularly confusing when the eye test and the statistics read somewhat differently or when faced with the rare difficulty of comparing a particular player to any other.  Some star players are simple to project with point total comparisons and consideration to what percentage of the team’s salary cap that a similar player ate up or what analytics might dictate, depending on the franchise.  Through every intangible, the Canadiens do not find their oodles of cap space being threatened by the players that find themselves in search of a new contract for the coming season and beyond.

 

In fact, intangible would be the word that might best surround one particular player that will have some light shed upon him in this upcoming series.

 

This task, though likely without staggering cap hits to be seen here, will not be a short one.  The most tangible evidence for contractual standards to predicate the basis of these deals going into the summer would be two depth players in Nate Thompson and Jordan Weal taking discounts in order to stay where they appear to feel at home with the Montreal Canadiens.  Perhaps the players believe in each other and what is being built; conversely, perhaps they have been sold on the likelihood that their drops in the bucket will leave more room for Habs management to hit the shores come July 1st, catch a big wave and come away with a piece of it to fill the rest of their bucket and bring it to the ice come October.

 

That being said, taking a look at the first name up for renewal…

 

Artturi Lehkonen

 

The season long narrative was that he had venom in his veins and not just because his shot release is deceptively nasty but rather due to being evidently snake bit.  Artturi Lehkonen skates quite well and stayed perfectly focused for a guy that was said to have a monkey on his back for so much of the season.  He also managed to further impress the analytics folks (without getting too far into it, he saw plenty of rises in his play by their measurements) in spite of seeing a dip in his goal total.  After hitting 18 goals in the 2016-17 season, Lehkonen saw his goal total drop from 12 in 2017-18 over 66 games all the way down to… 11 in a full season this year.

 

It turns out that the drop was nowhere nearly as bad as some made it out to seem.

 

What should be taken away from this is that the kid continues to play a well rounded game the right way with great determination and that good things will come his way if he continues down this path.  Time is on the 23 year old’s side and the closest comparable in this situation –with consideration to totals and such– is likely Richard Panik, 28 years old and coming off of a two year deal at $2,800,000 per season.

 

Verdict: qualify, extend.  Projection: upwards of $2,000,000 to approximately $3,000,000 for 2 to 3 years and worth every cent.

 

A bridge contract seems more than likely for Artturi Lehkonen.  If the term on his upcoming deal eclipses the projected length, the average annual value is likely to increase as a result of where he will be in his development by that point in his career but adding precious term to this upcoming deal may just buy the Montreal Canadiens a steal of a deal with his potential ceiling suggesting that he could be a second line winger.

 

Check back soon for the next pending free agent on the Canadiens roster.

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Canadiens Re-Up Charles Hudon For One Year

Early this morning, the Canadiens announced that they signed Charles Hudon to a one-year, one-way contract ($800,000). Just like his fellow teammates Armia and Lehkonen, he avoided going to arbitration. His date set for August 2nd. This will be Hudon’s fourth season with the Montreal Canadiens having played his first professional season during the 2014-15 […]

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