Lehkonen has 13 goals and 14 assists with a 9.3 shooting percentage over 70 games in 2019-20. Lehkonen once again had trouble scoring consistently, but there was modest improvement relative to the previous two years. He had goal droughts of 16, 11 and eight games, but his shooting percentage was a three-year best. The Canadiens' hope that Lehkonen would eventually develop a scorer's touch hasn't materialized, so they are content with him being a third-line forward who plays the entire rink and is a staple on the penalty-kill unit. Lehkonen has one year remaining on a deal before becoming a restricted free agent following the 2020-21 season.
Lehkonen scored a goal on four shots and had one hit in Tuesday's 4-2 loss to Nashville. The Canadiens, who have scored three goals in the last three games, were nearly shut out before Lehkonen scored his 13th goal in third period. It ended a 16-game streak without a goal and was just his second in the last 21. As Montreal deals with injuries and is desperate for scoring, Lehkonen has not been able to provide the needed offense. On the plus side, his 9.3 shooting percentage this season reverses a two-year downward trend in that category, but the Finn's scoring at a mere 5.8 percent clip in 26 games since Jan. 9.
Lehkonen skated on the top line to start Saturday's game before being dropped to the third line in a 4-1 loss to Florida. He had one shot and was minus-1 over 16:50 of ice time. The Canadiens played without their leading scorer, Tomas Tatar (upper body), for a second straight game so an already offensively challenged team is less potent these days. Lehkonen got the first call to replace Tatar on the top line Saturday, but head coach Claude Julien eventually switched him out for Paul Byron and dropped Lehkonen to the third line. Lehkonen has just four points (two goals, two assists) and a 4.3 shooting percentage over the last 24 games.
Lehkonen skated on the second line and had two shots over 13:24 of ice time in Thursday's 5-2 loss to the Rangers. Jonathan Drouin's ankle injury forced a lineup adjustment that resulted in Lehkonen moving from the fourth line to the second. Despite the top-six start, Lehkonen's ice time was the lowest among the top-nine forwards. His offense isn't good enough to maintain such a prominent line placement, but the Canadiens have limited options at the moment. The Finn has one point in the last 12 games and three over the last 20.
Lehkonen returned to the lineup Saturday and had three shots along with two blocked shots in a 3-0 win over Ottawa. Lehkonen was a one-game healthy scratch before returning to the active lineup. Montreal head coach Claude Julien's reasoning behind the scratch largely focused on Lehkonen's lack of offense. Julien felt guys like Nick Cousins and Jordan Weal offer more offensive upside, but the coach returned to Lehkonen against the Senators. The Canadiens signaled an organizational focus on next season with Sunday's trade of Ilya Kovalchuk to Washington, which suggests Lehkonen will be part of the active lineup going forward. However, the issue of his offense lingers. The Finn has no goals and one point in the last nine games and just two goals in the last 19.
Last 7 Games
|3 Year Avg||74||14||13||27||0||2||0||3||6||12||78|