On Could 1st, Sportsnet reported the Montreal Canadiens have expressed curiosity in signing one of many KHL’s prime defenseman in Mikko Lehtonen. The 26-year outdated had 49 factors in 60 video games within the 2019-20 season with the Helsinki Jokerit.
One of many longest-standing points for the Montreal Canadiens has been the dearth of a left-handed defenseman to play with both Shea Weber or Jeff Petry. Signing Mikko Lehtonen would assure considered one of these two gamers will get an opportunity to play with him to seek out the perfect pairing.
The Montreal Canadiens have been in search of a high-end left-defenceman since Andrei Markov’s final season with the crew in 2016-17. Makes an attempt have been made at signing Mark Streit, which shortly faltered after which signing Karl Alzner to a questionable contract at a time when the sport was altering, and groups wanted quick and expert gamers on the blueline to succeed. Makes an attempt have been even made at utilizing Jordie Benn alongside Shea Weber, making for a a lot slower pairing than the opponents at occasions.
Brett Kulak and Victor Meter have been rotating with Shea Weber for the higher a part of two seasons. Most lately, Ben Chiarot discovered some success in a profession yr in targets on the highest pairing however, in the long term, is best suited to the second or third pairing.
Bringing Mikko Lehtonen would be able to fill this void. Lehtonen is each fast skates and powerful on offense, one thing that has not been attained for the Canadiens with their many experiments.
If Lehtonen indicators with the Montreal Canadiens and is ready to translate his recreation into the NHL, he can have been simply what the crew has been in search of up to now three to 4 years.
What Will it Take to Signal Lehtonen?
The Montreal Canadiens are not the only team in on Mikko Lehtonen. The Los Angeles Kings and New Jersey Devils have additionally inquired in regards to the Finnish defenseman’s companies. Lehtonen would have an opportunity a top-Four pairing minutes on both of the three groups, so he must be enticed to hitch the crew utilizing different strategies. Nevertheless, when wanting on the depth chart, Lehtonen could have a better time leaping to the highest of the crew’s left-handed defensemen rankings.
We will even most definitely be seeing Alexander Romanov be a part of the crew, so there could also be some wholesome competitors on the left facet of the protection. In all chance, if anybody have been to play with Shea Weber out of the gate, it might be Lehtonen as Romanov needs to be allowed to have a while to develop after which steadily improve his ice time.
With a purpose to carry Mikko Lehtonen over to Montreal, one technique of doing so can contain the Finnish connection. With gamers akin to Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Artturri Lehkonen and Joel Armia, Lehtonen could also be enticed to play with a couple of of his fellow countrymen.
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One factor to notice is Mikko Lehtonen will be unable to be enticed utilizing an attractive contract supply as wherever he goes to play within the NHL, be that with the Montreal Canadiens or elsewhere, he must signal a one-year, entry-level contract.
Meaning Lehtonen will have to be satisfied utilizing ice time, the Finnish connection (if Montreal is in play) and another sights that groups can muster up. This will embrace coaching amenities and even the environment and fandom surrounding the groups who’re concerned with signing Lehtonen