Montreal Canadiens Rumour: Artturi Lehkonen To Be Traded?

Feb 02, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Artturi Lehkonen Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 02, 2021; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens Artturi Lehkonen Mandatory Credit: Jean-Yves Ahern-USA TODAY Sports /

Montreal Canadiens left winger Artturi Lehkonen has been pushed down the lineup this season.

There was a time, not long ago he looked like a perfect third line winger for the foreseeable future. Now, it is starting to become difficult for him to get in the lineup on a nightly basis.

Lehkonen is a terrific defensive player, great penalty killer and he almost never makes a costly mistake that leads to a scoring chance against.

However, his inability to score has become a problem. Maybe not really a huge problem for the team, but a problem for the player as he tries to make a case for why he belongs in the lineup. With new wingers Tyler Toffoli and Josh Anderson taking on huge roles on the team’s top nine this year and Corey Perry fitting in very well on the fourth line, there isn’t a lot of room for Lehkonen.

He is still a fine fourth line winger, but the Habs have to choose between him, Paul Byron and Joel Armia every night. Meanwhile, Cole Caufield just signed his entry-level contract and veteran Michael Frolik has been on the taxi squad all season.

The amount of depth on the wings is tremendous, and it may cause Lehkonen to lose his job.

The 25 year is in the final year of his contract that pays him $2.4 million. His defensive game, and age will make him attractive enough to other teams, but his lack of offence makes him a depth piece on the Habs with their plethora of NHL wingers.

This leads to the obvious conclusion that Lehkonen could be on the way out. With the Canadiens up against the cap and needing to find some money to add a player at the deadline, rumour has it Lehkonen could be on the move.

Elliotte Friedman mentioned in his 31 Thoughts column on Sportsnet, that he gets the sense that Marc Bergevin is not done and that Lehkonen could be moved to create cap space.

It makes a lot of sense. Lehkonen has just two goals and four points in 22 games this season. He wouldn’t be difficult to replace in the lineup, and he has just enough trade value that the Habs would not have to retain money.

With the Canadiens in cap lockdown, and Lehkonen’s two Finnish buddies, Joel Armia and Jesperi Kotkaniemi, the cause of it, there was no way the Habs could have moved Lehkonen in the past seven days.

Next. Habs schedule going to be ridiculous down the stretch. dark

But with the team given the go ahead to return to regular activities, I’d expect a Lehkonen trade for a mid round draft pick in the coming days to open cap space.