Its Play Off Hockey

What a gem Joe Sakic, President of the Colorado Avalanche, found in Artturi Lehkonen.

Since being traded to the Avalanche from the Montreal Canadiens in 2022, he has fit right in with this team. Lehkonen provides the secondary scoring the Avalanche missed, especially in the playoffs.

Before the Avalanche won the Stanley Cup in 2022, there were questions about their depth scoring. When Sakic was the General Manager at the time, he addressed those needs. He took a gamble on Valeri Nichushkin, which is paying off in spades and traded for Lehkonen.

Both players were essential to the Avalanche hoisting the Stanley Cup in 2022. If the Avalanche were going to produce a similar result this season, it could not be the Nathan MacKinnon, Cale Makar, and Mikko Rantanen show, as it was during the regular season and in years past when the Avalanche did not make a deep run in the playoffs.

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The team needed more from Lehkonen. Lehkonen is an injury-prone player during the regular season but can produce when healthy. And boy, are people in Montreal scratching their heads and asking where this was.

Last season with the Avalanche, Lehkonen produced his best regular-season numbers, recording 51 points (21 goals and 30 assists) in 64 games played. In 45 regular-season games this year, he recorded 34 points (16 goals and 18 assists). Again, he was hurt for periods at a time.

However, it is at the Stanley Cup Playoffs that Lehkonen shines. In the Stanley Cup run of 2022, he recorded 14 points (eight goals and six assists) in 29 playoff games. Two of the eight goals were game-winning goals.

As he did with Montreal in 2021, he sent the Colorado Avalanche back to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 2001, knocking the Edmonton Oilers out of the playoffs. Lehkonen was also awarded the Stanley Cup-clinching goal to defeat the Tampa Bay Lightning in six games.

In 2023, Lehkonen recorded six points (three goals and three assists) in seven playoff games as the Avalanche fell to the Seattle Kraken in Round 1 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Still, those are good numbers, but after what we saw in the previous two seasons, his play dipped slightly.

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But this year, against the Winnipeg Jets, Artturi Lehkonen is back to his old self. He has recorded seven points (four goals and three assists), including scoring a goal in every game in the series, playing alongside Casey Mittelstadt and Zach Parise.

Mittelstadt has been highlighted on NHLRumors.com as an NHL Trade Deadline Playoff Impact Player in the Western Conference. He has five points in four games, while Parise has two goals in four games. But it is Lehkonen who is driving the line.

Lehkonen is on the first power play unit for the Avalanche, where he has only three points in the playoffs. Most of the damage is being done at even strength, which is essential come the playoffs.

He can also play in all situations and is very defensively reasonable. There is a reason why Joe Sakic and Chris MacFarland wanted to keep Artturi Lehkonen in the mix, signing him to a six-year contract at $4.5 million a season, and he stepped up when the games mattered the most.

 

 

 

 

 

– NHL Rumors Feed

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