Artturi Lehkonen is Finnish, and the team he last played for is from Canada. So, the immigration work/Visa process for him to play for the Colorado Avalanche is taking some time.
“I’d like to see him get in, but we haven’t heard anything yet,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “We’re kind of in the same holding pattern.”
If the paperwork gets done within a reasonable amount of time before tonight’s game with the Philadephia Flyers, Lehkonen will suit up and make his Avs debut. If not, he’ll have to sit out his third game since being acquired from the Canadiens on Monday.
It’s believed that Lehkonen is waiting on an O-1 Visa, which is given by the United States Citizen and Immigration Services to “the individual who possesses extraordinary ability in the sciences, arts, education, business, or athletics.” (More on the requirements to get one here).
Lehkonen is able to participate in team activities for now (he skated this morning with the team) but actually playing is considered real “work” and the O-1 Visa must be granted properly before that happens.
Not much other news from the morning skate, other than the fact that Pavel Francouz will start in goal against the Flyers – who are coming off a surprising win in St. Louis last night and who Bednar said should not be taken lightly.
That said, the Avs are a whopping -380 to win tonight at SuperBook Colorado.
I expect the Avs to come out hungry tonight, after that loss to Vancouver the other night. See you tonight.