Colorado Avalanche Find Hidden Gem In Artturi Lehkonen –

The Colorado Avalanche return to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2001. Colorado has been one of the best teams throughout the regular season. That success carried through to the playoffs with a 12-2 record going into the Stanley Cup finals. This version of the Colorado Avalanche is deeper than in previous years. Everyone’s talking about what the New York Rangers did at the NHL Trade Deadline. But what about the avalanche? General Manager Joe Sakic found a few gems by the deadline, most notably Montreal Canadiens’ Artturi Lehkonen.

For the second straight year, Lehkonen has sent his team to the Stanley Cup Finals with a game-changing goal in overtime. In 2021, Lehkonen won the NHL semifinal series with Montreal against the Vegas Golden Knights. On Monday night in Edmonton, Lehkonen again managed to propel the Avalanche into the Stanley Cup finals. Lehkonen was an excellent discovery for this Avalanche team.

Artturi Lehkonen Just what Colorado needed

Early in the trading period, the Avalanche took a deep step in defense with the addition of Josh Manson. Many thought they were satisfied and done moving. However, as time was running out in the day, the Avalanche swooped in and acquired Lehkonen from the Canadiens. The main reason behind the Avalanche’s takeover of Lehkonen was the fact that nobody knew how long Gabriel Landeskog would be out with an injury. But when Landeskog returned to the lineup, Lehkonen only added depth to an already strong team.

Everyone in Montreal knew what Lehkonen brought to the lineup. He thrived in the Avalanche lineup. Lehkonen is a very good player, as Mike Johnson said on TSN 690 radio.

“He’s doing a lot of things well, although some in Montreal wish he could score a little cleaner and get more points. Lehkonen has done a lot of good throughout the game, not only for himself but also for his teammates. Playing on this stage with this Colorado team confirmed what a lot of people in Montreal thought.” Lehky is really good. He might not get you 30 goals, but he’s really good and he can play with good players.”

And what Colorado gave up for him was only prospect Morgan Barron and a second-round pick. Outside of the Andrew Copp deal, this was possibly the best trade of the deadline as the Avalanche are back in the Stanley Cup Finals.

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What Colorado is getting from Lehkonen

Lehkonen is such a valuable player for the Avalanche. As previously mentioned, he’s a deep forward who will be in charge defensively in his own zone and that’s why Colorado was traded for him. Not to mention his knowledge of the game that allows Colorado to use him in all situations.

He played alongside Mikko Rantanen and Nazem Kadri for most of the postseason. Kadri, who was having a great postseason, was injured in Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals. The chemistry of that line was superb, resulting in Lehkonen averaging 11 points (six goals and five assists), including three postseason game-winning goals.

This line was crucial to Avalanche’s Game 2 win as they scored three goals within 2:04 of the second period. With Kadri injured, head coach Jared Bednar brought Lehkonen up front alongside Nathan MacKinnon in Game 4. Lehkonen’s three-pointer night propelled the Avalanche into the Stanley Cup Finals.

Lehkonen’s hockey IQ is hard to beat and his foot speed is very sneaky. There’s a reason he can play with good players. His ability to read the game in the offensive zone and make the right passes at the right time to set up teammates for goals is remarkable. Not to mention its excellent defensive capability. Lehkonen is a big reason why Rantanen is out of trouble.

With Kadri still recovering and potentially eliminated from the Stanley Cup Finals, the Avalanche will be relying on Lehkonen even more. Kadri has always been the x-factor in Avalanche’s success, now it’s Artturi Lehkonen.

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