Jonathan Lekkerimäki Turning Heads at the U20 Level

NATION: Sweden



WEIGHT: 78kg / 172lbs HEIGHT: 181cm / 5’11”

DATE OF BIRTH: Jul 24, 2004

The Swedish forward raised a lot of eyebrows during his performances in the 2021/2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. Lekkerimäki averaged a goal per game and was a key contributor to the Swedes clinching a bronze medal in the tournament. His new season is underway and attention has kept on drawing towards him since he’s currently leading the J20 Nationell North (formerly the SuperElite N) in both goals and points despite being underaged.

First of all, let’s take a look at Jonathan's abbreviated 2020/2021 season.

The pandemic had an impact on a lot of Swedish players. Top junior leagues were shut down and players were, therefore, unable to play. Despite the SHL, HockeyAllsvenskan, and Hockeyettan, (the top 3 professional men's leagues) all being active, very few 2022 draft-eligible players got the opportunity to play there.

He had an impressive start to the season, to say the least. In 8 games, Jonathan recorded 12 goals and 4 assists with a positive 15 in +/-. According to the official match statistics, he was only on the ice for 3 goals against during these 8 games which of course is impressive.

Before any conclusions are drawn, it should be pointed out that his team was dominant. They averaged 6.6 goals per game and led the league comfortably before Covid-19 restrictions forced the league to shut down. Lekkerimäki was also playing on a line with Top Prospects Liam Öhgren and Noah Östlund for some games. But of course, Lekkerimäki was a big reason for his team's success. He got called up to play with the U20-team and recorded 1 assist in one game before the sudden shutdown.

After not playing competitive hockey for 10 months, Lekkerimäki was called to play for Team Sweden in the annual Hlinka Gretzky Cup. I watched every single shift of his from the tournament with InStatScout, and here follows a scouting report of the games that he played.


Scouting Report - Jonathan Lekkerimäki

Hlinka Gretzky Cup

Team Sweden

Lekkerimäki possesses great skating in all aspects. His technique, power, and explosiveness combined with an overall great awareness makes him a contributor all over the ice. On several occasions thanks to his game-understanding and quick feet, he showed off great ability to steal pucks from his opponent, which led to his team regaining possession and counterattacking. He is tenacious with his stick defensively. Jonathan works hard all over the ice and finds himself in good position to receive pucks and help his teammates. He gets a lot of defensive-zone starts and was on one of their PK units. Offensively, Lekkerimäki is fun to watch. A “shoot-first-mentality” combined with rapid hands and creativity makes him a serious threat. He can beat opponents in so many ways, dangles, skating, or simply outworking defenders. There were a few plays where you could question his decision-making. Instead of making the simple play, he was desperately seeking to make a decisive play, which led to his team losing possession and receiving counterattacks. He relies a lot on his skating and hands to solve tight situations on the ice. Physically, he is having trouble beating opponents, plays along the boards often end up with defenders gaining possession. With a very quick and effective shot, Lekkerimäki also has good aim and adjusts his body smoothly in order to add power.


Overall, he had a very good tournament. I don’t mind his decision-making being questionable at times, I like the fact that he wants to be a difference-maker. He has flown a bit under the radar thanks to him not playing for 10 months but I’m confident you will hear his name a lot as the draft approaches.

The 2021/2022 season has now officially begun in Sweden and it’s safe to say that the great performances at the Hlinka weren’t a fluke. Lekkerimäki is currently tearing the U20 league apart, recording 8 goals and 4 assists for a total of 12 points in just 5 games.

There’s a lot of things that make him a stand-out player on the ice but one attribute that really has blown my mind watching his 5 appearances so far this season is his lethal shot. He can score in so many ways, one-time slapshots, rapid releases, wrist-shots with a remarkable aim, he does it all.

Lekkerimäki's hattrick against Luleå HF J20 on September 19th

His game transitioned very well to the U20 level and there is a real chance that we get to see him in SHL action this year. We saw the #7 overall draft pick from 2021, William Eklund, who also played for Djurgården getting 20 games in SHL being the same age Jonathan will be this season. Djurgården's system allows young players to play at the highest level so if Lekkerimäki consistently performs at the level he is at currently, he will most likely get a shot with the professionals.


Drafting Hockey

Niclas Karlsson

Twitter @Niclaskarlsso20

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