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Canucks Free Agent Roll Call: Juho Lammikko

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Vancouver Canucks forward Juho Lammikko playing with Team Finland.

Canucks Roll Call is assessing every player who held a significant place in the fortunes of the 2021-22 Vancouver Canucks season. We’ll be looking at the highs and lows they experienced during the recent campaign, as well as what the future holds for them in Vancouver. We start with the club’s free agents and today we feature forward Juho Lammikko.

Position: Left wing, center

2021-22 totals (GP-G-A-P): 75-7-8-15, 14 PIM

Contract Status: Restricted Free Agent (RFA) with arbitration rights coming off a one-year deal that paid him $750,000.

Season Synopsis

HIghlights

There was really nothing to write home about for Lammikko offensively as his mobility and skills are limited as a bottom-six player who took awhile to get comfortable with his new club. He was acquired on October 10th from the Florida Panthers along with defenceman Noah Juulsen in exchange for defenceman and former Canucks 5th-overall-pick Olli Juolevi, who was later jettisoned and pick up off waivers by the Detroit Red Wings.

Lammikko did help establish a bit of a team identity for the Vancouver Canucks when he became a regular on a forechecking/grind line with Tyler Motte and Matthew Highmore. An injury to Highmore and Motte being moved to the New York Rangers at the trade deadline disrupted the continuity, but for awhile the threesome created relative havoc.

February was a good month for the native of Noormarkku, Finland, particularly the latter half. He had a goal in back-to-back games against the Toronto Maple Leafs and San Jose Sharks on February 12th and 17th before producing his only two-point match of the season on February 21st against the Seattle Kraken. He’d add a goal two games later against the New York Rangers on the 27th.

He did win 51% of his face-offs and he had 17 takeaways to just 9 giveaways. He also drew six more minutes in penalties than he took. He was a regular on the improving penalty kill.

Excellent work ethic which is never a bad thing. Lammikko is representing Finland at the World Championships in his home country as we speak.

Lowlights

The adjustment period, one he’d have to go through twice considering the early-December coaching change, saw Lammikko actually running into teammates. It happens to the best of them on occasion, but at times the Finn seemed a bit behind. His confidence did grow in February but his upside is limited. At 6-foot-2 and almost 200 pounds Lammikko offers up decent bulk but isn’t remarkably physical. He was credited with 93 hits in 75 games played.

His possession analytics were the worst of any Vancouver Canucks regular. His Corsi rating (team’s even strength shot differential for and against) was 39%. His linemates weren’t much better, which is expected given their role and skill limitations, but his overall numbers need to improve.

Down the stretch during the urgent stretch drive, Lammikko went pointless in the final 14 games.

What the future holds

If depth scoring is desired, then Lammikko isn’t the answer for the Vancouver Canucks. Yes, he offers versatility by playing wing or center, but the Canucks don’t need another lefty pivot-man, especially one who doesn’t put up points.

Filling out line-ups with guys in the $750,000 to $900,000 range can be a crap shoot in this age of the salary have and have-nots. Canucks General Manager Patrik Allvin tried plugging in a number of free agent forwards, often European, during his time as the Pittsburgh assistant general manager. We’ll probably see more of that; if at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

Either way, this is an upgradeable situation and in a move to playoff and Cup contention, one would think Lammikko is on the outside looking in. In the meantime, qualifying him at a minimum number doesn’t hurt anyone and keeps the club’s options open.

VHN Managing Editor Rob Simpson has been covering the NHL for three decades on live TV, radio, and as a journalist. He worked his first ever game getting postgame sound as a teenager; it was Vancouver vs. Detroit.

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