Lekkerimäki, 17, split the 2021-22 season between the SHL, Sweden’s top-flight hockey league, and J20 Nationell Leagues with Djurgårdens IF.
In 26 regular-season games with the J20 club, Lekkerimäki recorded 35 points (20 goals, 15 assists). Team-wise, he was third in goals and sixth in points.
The 5-foot-10 and 171-pound forward was widely regarded as a top prospect heading into this week’s draft. In fact, many draft experts had Lekkerimäki in their top 10.
Many hockey experts praised the winger’s shot as one of the best in this year’s draft.
“Hey Canucks fans. I’m so proud to be a part of your organization,” Lekkerimäki said in a video. “I’m looking forward to playing for all of you.”
Vancouver’s general manager said the team saw great value in taking Lekkerimäki 15th overall.
“We looked at our options, and, in our case, we don’t have a second-round pick. We were looking if it made sense (to trade backwards in the draft) to pick up a second-round pick,” Patrik Allvin said.
“But we were extremely happy to see Lekkerimäki there at 15.”
Lekkerimäki has said his favourite player is Elias Pettersson.
And, oddly enough, speaking of Pettersson, the Canucks’ selected a defenceman named Elias Pettersson with their next pick.
Yes, you read that right.
The Canucks could have two players with the same name on their roster in the near future.
The newest Pettersson was selected 80th overall during the third round on Friday.
He comes from the SHL, where he posted 10 goals and eight assists in 37 games last season.