- 2019-09-29 at KalPa - HIFK, A-SM by Jokke Nevalainen
Lehikoinen played on the third pair for KalPa U20. He also played on the second power play unit and was a regular on the penalty kill. All in all, Lehikoinen played 23:18 which was third-most on the team. He scored a power play goal with a quick one-timer from the blue line.
Lehikoinen’s improvement in just one month has been incredible. Even though he played at the U16 level last season, he now looks like a veteran at the U20 level. He’s very calm and smooth with the puck, and makes mostly right decisions with it. He doesn’t seem to panic even when pressured in his own end. He’s a very good transitional player who makes great breakout passes but can also move the puck up the ice by himself. His passes are both hard and accurate. He also has a great ability to get pucks to the net despite traffic in front of him. His gap control has improved a lot, and he doesn’t get exposed defensively all that much anymore.
If Lehikoinen continues to improve at such rapid pace, the sky is the limit for him. He could get some Liiga games already next season. But for that, he should start to use his big body a bit more, throwing some hits by the boards and being meaner in front of the net. But he is just 16 years old, so those parts of his game should improve naturally with more experience.
- 2019-09-22 at KalPa - TPS, A-SM by Jokke Nevalainen
Lehikoinen played on the third pair for KalPa U20 but ended up getting third-most minutes among their defensemen. He was also used on their top power play unit, saw time on the penalty kill, and also played in overtime. The coaching staff seems to trust him in any situation.
Lehikoinen scored his first A-SM goal today in what was his eighth game at that level. Even though he’s the youngest player on the team, he looked poised and confident – he has definitely adjusted to the new level already. His confidence was visible especially on the power play where he showed good puck-movement. In addition to the goal, Lehikoinen also made a long tape to tape pass which created a breakaway. He also had six shots which was second-most in the game. His defensive game was exposed a couple of times but it seemed to be improved as well.
- 2019-08-31 at KalPa - Kiekko-Espoo, A-SM by Jokke Nevalainen
Lehikoinen didn’t just change organizations during the summer, going from Jokipojat to KalPa, but he’s also jumping up two levels in the process. He was playing at the U16 level last season but now it appears he skipped the U18 level and went straight to the U20 level as a 16-year-old. And although he started his first U20 level game (three days ago) as the seventh defenseman with limited minutes, today (in his second game) he was already playing on the second pair and getting ice time on both special units.
Lehikoinen played on the blue line on KalPa’s second power play unit. He made good, simple plays with the puck and had one very good one-timer as well. It looked like there’s a good amount of power on his shots. He was also used late in the game with their goalie pulled, so it’s obvious he’s seen as someone who can produce offense for his team. Lehikoinen also played on the penalty kill where he battled very well in front of the net, although penalty kill is one area where he still needs some work.
Lehikoinen’s skating is fine for this level. His backwards skating could use some improvement which gets exposed on rush defense at times but that should improve with time. Once he adds some muscle to his lanky frame and starts utilizing his size and reach more, it will be difficult for the opposing players to get around him. All in all, Lehikoinen played a total of 18:27 in this game and fired eight shots. It was an impressive performance, considering it was just his second game at this level.
Player statistics powered by www.eliteprospects.com
|2017-2018||Jokipojat U16||Jr. C SM-sarja Q||24||13||10||23||10||||
|Jokipojat U16||Jr. C SM-sarja||16||0||8||8||4|||||Playoffs||3||0||0||0||4|
|Kajastus U16||Jr. C Mestis Q||1||1||0||1||0||||
|2018-2019||Jokipojat U16||Jr. C SM-sarja Q||26||7||24||31||26||||
|Jokipojat U16||Jr. C SM-sarja||18||9||22||31||8|||||Playoffs||2||0||2||2||0|
|Jokipojat U18||Jr. B Mestis Q||4||2||2||4||0||||
|Jokipojat U20||Jr. A Mestis||1||0||1||1||0|||||Playoffs||2||0||0||0||2|
|Finland U16 (all)||International-Jr||8||0||0||0||2||||
|2019-2020||KalPa U20||Jr. A SM-liiga||15||2||3||5||10||||
|Finland U17 (all)||International-Jr||3||1||0||1||2||||
Player statistics © www.eliteprospects.com