Canucks prospect Lekkerimäki likely injured for remainder of season

Feb 7 2023, 7:51 pm

It’s been a tough season for Vancouver Canucks prospect Jonathan Lekkerimäki.

On Tuesday, Swedish second division club, Djurgårdens announced that Lekkerimäki had sustained a foot injury in practice which won’t require surgery but will leave him out for eight weeks, likely ending his 2022-23 season.

As per Rick Dhaliwal, the 18-year-old lost balance and crashed into the boards.

The Canucks’ 15th overall pick from the 2022 draft picked up the knock at practice on Monday, adding another layer to what has been a difficult draft plus one season for the 18-year-old.

Some Canucks fans have already being labelled as a draft bust by some due to his tough year, with the team’s tough

After struggling to start the season with much vigour, he recently picked up his form, playing on Djurg√•rdens‚Äô top line and scoring the shootout winner against Mora IK last Wednesday. 11 games remain in Djurg√•rdens’ season, with the team sitting in playoff position as they approach the end of their regular season schedule on March 10.

For Lekkerimäki, the season likely comes to a close with an unfortunate injury, further pushing his difficult year, which was derailed by a mono diagnosis in March and a concussion in December.

At the same time, he didn’t quite live up to some expectations at the 2023 IIHF World Juniors Hockey Championship, scoring a goal and three assists in seven games as Sweden finished fourth.

Prior to the injury, Lekkerimäki had three goals and six assists in 29 HockeyAllsvenskan games. He also spent time in the Swedish J20 league, scoring twice and adding three assists in just two games.

Although he’s had a down year after being drafted as the Canucks top prospect, Lekkerimäki could be in the running for an NHL entry-level contract, which the Canucks can offer him for 2023-24 as soon as March.

It may not have been the draft-plus-one year that Lekkerimäki would have hoped for, but Djurgardens GM K-G Stoppel tells Dhaliwal that he would like the organization’s top prospect back for 2023-24 but would need to speak to the Canucks beforehand.

Ben SteinerBen Steiner

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