Lehkonen, a major component of the avalanche

Denver | Artturi Lehkonen emerges from morning practice a few hours before Game Two of the Western Finals. The Finn invites Montreal journalists to walk him down the ballpark aisle.

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Laconan carries a large bag of shirts and hats from his new team, the Colorado Avalanche. He will give them as gifts to his loved ones. Number 62 has not changed. It still has a deep radio bass, but it’s not the type to go into the greatest confidence. But we feel happy in his new environment.

“It’s clearly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Likonen said. It’s the most fun time of the year. I just want to enjoy it. It’s very simple. »

“I feel good. This is the most exciting moment. You don’t get this opportunity much. You have to take advantage of it. I hope the experience of last year helps me. I take it day by day. I don’t want to go far.”

A role in the first six

In Denver, Lehkonen is an important piece of the avalanche puzzle. Jared Bednar found him a role in one of the first two lines. Since the start of the qualifiers, he has spent time on the first line or second line wing with Nathan McKinnon or Nazim Qadri as center.

Heading into match 2 against the Oilers, Likusen would have gone 97:49 with Gabriel Landskog and 97:00 with Kadri in five on five. Also according to data from the naturalstattrick website, he also had a playing time of 43 minutes and 45 seconds with MacKinnon and 35 minutes and 10 seconds with Valeri Nichushkin.

“We have many good players, and I enjoy playing with Kadri or McKinnon,” said Likonen with a smile in his voice. We’re talking about the elite players in the NHL. I’m just looking forward to bringing my own game.”

“When I’m with McKinnon, I have to go full speed at all times,” he continued. Nathan is an explosive skater, who can take off quickly. I need to read the game a bit more in advance. But McKinnon is the one who dictates the game, I have to make sure I follow him.

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In eleven matches, Likonen accumulated 6 points (4 goals, 2 assists) as well as maintaining a +5 difference with an average playing time of 16 minutes 43 seconds.

“It’s great for us,” Bednar said. He’s a full player at 200 feet. He has found ways to contribute offensively and is a good addition to our talented players because of his hard work. He’s good at checking and helping the team in special teams, whether short cut or strong play. He’s a major addition to our top six offensively. »

Laconan is now described as a vital player for a team aspiring to win the Stanley Cup.

During the 2020-2021 season, watch nine matches from the press portal with guidance from Claude Julien and Dominique Ducharme.

“This is hockey,” he replied when reminded of that statistic. Sometimes it is. There are times when you don’t play well, and there are times when you play well. »

June 24

Joe Sakic paid a heavy price to lure Likonen to the mountains of Colorado. On the March 21 trading deadline, GM sacrificed Justin Barron’s guns, a choice of
Round one in 2020, as well as offering a second round option in 2024 to Habs.

“It was a shock at first,” the 26-year-old winger said. But everything was happening quickly. I arrived in Denver the next day to trade. I spent nine years with the Canadians organization. It’s many years. »

Lehkonen will wear the CH uniform for nearly six full seasons. In his time in Montreal, the date of June 24, 2021 will remain his most memorable moment.

“It was great. I will always remember this game. We won in overtime. We went to the final. For me, scoring that goal was a big one. It was a unique moment.”

On Saint-Jean-Baptiste night, Lehkonen scored after a superb pass from Phillip Danault with the goal of a 3-2 overtime win in Match 6 against the Vegas Golden Knights.

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