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Avalanche Season In Review: Lehkonen An Instant Fan Favorite



Lehkonen avalanche

With the season for the Colorado Avalanche complete, it’s time to take a look back at the individual players and how they performed.

Next up is Artturi Lehkonen.

Let’s take a look at his numbers from this season.

Games: 62

Goals: 21 (career high)

Assists: 30 (career high)

Points: 51 (career high)

CF%: 54.78%

TOI: 20:27 per game

Avalanche fans got a taste of what to expect from Artturi Lehkonen when he was acquired at the trade deadline in 2022. He went on to score the series-winning goal in the Western Conference Finals, and finished it off with the Cup-clinching goal against Tampa Bay. It’s harder to make a better introduction to a fanbase than that.

After signing a five-year extension in the summer, he was expected to slot in nicely in the top six. He did exactly that, but his role was maybe a little bit bigger than they anticipated.

When Gabriel Landeskog missed the start of the season, Lehkonen got the call to be Nathan MacKinnon‘s left winger. The start of the season turned into 12 weeks, and soon after, the entire year. All along, Lehkonen was the guy who Jared Bednar wanted on MacKinnon’s wing to be his “highly competitive” linemate.

And Lehkonen did his part. He had two dips in the season, one right at the start, and one in the middle, but for the most part, was consistent. And the thing about Lehkonen is you know what you’re going to get every night. The effort is never a question with him, and as we looked at in our film room back in March, he does every little thing a coach dreams of.

He ultimately set career highs in every statistical category. On top of that, he was one of the more effective penalty killers on the team. Having a big role at even strength and playing on both specialty units, he played a lot. His previous career high in average time-on-ice per game was 16:29, back in 2017-18. He averaged almost four minutes more than that this season, putting him in the top 20 in the NHL for forwards. Great for him, as he got a much bigger role than he had in Montreal, but also a clear sign at the lack of depth on the Avalanche this season.

He set career highs in every statistical category. On March 15, in his return to Montreal, he broke the 20 goal mark for the first time in his career. That career-high goal just happened to bounce off his glove and into the net, breaking his finger in the process. The injury kept him out until the final two games of the regular season.

He didn’t have much time to get his timing back, as the playoffs started right up. And against the Kraken, he broke his toe. A very strong first full season in Colorado came to an unfortunate end, as two broken bones messed up the end of his season. He still managed to pick up six points in seven games, but didn’t quite look himself in the process. That injury didn’t allow him to represent Finland in the World Championships, a tournament that is taking place in his home country. Time for him to heal and get ready for next season.

Season Grade: A-

Sure, there were some dips in production at times during the year, but there’s a reason MacKinnon loves playing on a line with him. He’s first in on the forecheck, works hard on the backcheck, and never gives up on any play. On top of that, he has the skill to skate with some of the best players in the world. Lehkonen took on a massive role with the Avalanche and stepped up in doing so. His insane work ethic and penchant for scoring big goals has made him an immediate fan favorite in Colorado after just 14 months.

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