As the Detroit Red Wings continue weighing out their options with the eighth overall pick, one thing is true. There is a definite need for a forward.
The Red Wings need to add a forward who will help benefit the team's offense, and there will be plenty on the board when the Red Wings are up to pick.
The Red Wings need to have Jonathan Lekkerimäki near the top of their draft board, a Swedish forward who will add offense to the Red Wings group.
As the Red Wings prepare for Thursday's draft, Lekkerimäki must be someone they consider. Especially with the tools, he could bring to the table as an offensive-minded forward. The 17-year-old forward is ranked as high as eighth on some draft rankings and is a little below that on others.
The Red Wings would be slated to get him in some mock drafts, but others see him rising above eighth. He's a 5-foot-11, 172-pound right-handed shooting winger out of Sweden who has shined overseas in the past few seasons. Getting him at eight would be a splendid result.
The Detroit Red Wings have to be in on Jonathan Lekkerimäki.
The Swedish forward came up with the Djurgårdens IF program, logging time with the U20 team and the Swedish Hockey League(SHL) team. He also logged time with the Swedish national team this past season. Here's how he performed across those levels.
Lekkerimäki logged 26 games with the U20 Djurgårdens IF club, scoring 20 goals and 15 assists for 35 total points. He also got his chance in the SHL, playing 26 games where he scored just seven goals and two assists for nine points.
He managed 12 games played at the U18 level with the national team, adding 11 goals and ten assists for 21 total points. He also tallied a goal over three games played with the U20 squad. All these numbers being thrown around are excellent, but there's more to it.
Some may see the struggles in the SHL and shy away from Lekkerimäki, but he is still 17 years old and was holding his own in the Swedish professional league. But, during his time with the U20 squad, he was finding the back of the net and being an offensively gifted forward.
There is true goal-scoring ability there, being a sniper type of forward. He has a quick release and can find the back of the net with a wrist or slap shot. Here's a video of him burying a one-timer for a quick goal.
— NHL Draft Watch (@DraftWatchNHL) September 17, 2021
But that is not all; he's not just a sniper. The kid can skate and make plays happen. Here's a video of him using some speed to get in close on the goalie, finishing it off with a quick move to the backhand to bury a goal; great play and a great finish from the Swede.
Jonathan Lekkerimaki could quite possibly be the largest riser in the 2022 NHL draft class. Lekkerimaki led the U18 tournament with 15 points in 6 games, and his combination of speed and shot makes him a deadly scoring threat from anywhere on the ice. pic.twitter.com/AAwlnLUWlD
— Brennan Jerry (@brennanjerrry) May 12, 2022
The bottom line is that Lekkerimäki has the tools to be an offensively gifted player who would greatly benefit the Red Wings' offense. There is a lot to like with the tools he has. Even if he is ranked lower than eight on some draft boards, he's a name the Red Wings need to have on their shortlist on draft day.
Adding Lekkerimäki would benefit the Red Wings' top-six, and he needs to be considered as the team heads into the draft.