Canucks sign first-round pick Lekkerimäki to NHL contract

May 6 2023, 6:28 pm

The Vancouver Canucks have officially signed Jonathan Lekkerimäki.

Today, the team announced they’d signed one of their top prospects to a three-year entry-level contract, though the terms of the deal have yet to be released.

Lekkerimäki was selected in the first round by Vancouver at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, where the team took him at 15th overall.

He spent this past season with Djurgårdens of HockeyAllsvenskan, the second division in Sweden.

While he put up three goals and six assists in 29 playoff games, it was the postseason where the 18-year-old forward found his stride, putting up five goals and 10 assists in 15 playoff games as his team fell in the league final.

“Jonathan had a good run in the playoffs and gained a lot of valuable experience, but unfortunately his team fell short of its ultimate goal,” said Canucks general manager Patrik Allvin today in a press release. “Each player’s development path is different and in Jonathan’s case, he had to deal with a lot of adversity this past year. But with each challenge he faced, he found a way to learn and grow. With the help of our staff, we will find the best path forward for him and we look forward to Jonathan joining our development camp in July.”

He’ll aim to be the first Canucks first-round pick since Vasily Podkolzin to crack the roster, with the 2019 first-rounder making his debut for the team in the 2021-22 season before splitting time between the NHL and AHL this past year.

Canucks Army’s Chris Faber reported earlier in the week that Lekkerimäki could be loaned back to Sweden for next season, potentially with Leksands of the SHL, the top domestic league in his home country.

Meanwhile, the Canucks will participate in the NHL draft lottery for the eighth time in the last 10 years on Monday, with hopes, dreams, and an outside shot that they’ll be able to land North Vancouver native Connor Bedard by landing the first overall pick in the heavily anticipated 2023 NHL Draft.

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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