For the first time since the 2016-17 season, the Montreal Canadiens are on a five-game winning streak. Not only did they beat the Ottawa Senators, they looked like the better team throughout the game, and got their scoring from a certain underrated Finn rather than their usual suspects on the top line.
And watching that game, the only thing I could think is that I truly hope the Montreal Canadiens don’t trade Artturi Lehkonen.
Now, I know that many will be screaming that all players should be up for grabs in a rebuild. I agree with that sentiment, and that every player has a price at which you can’t outright refuse to move them. I just don’t think that Lehkonen is a player they should be looking to move.
This isn’t just about one game either, I’ve written about this before. I don’t think any realistic return for Lehkonen will equal what he can bring to this team through its rebuild. His defensive abilities far outweigh his point production, but he also has the ability to come through in the clutch like he did last night.
A Sens turnover turns into a second goal for Artturi Lehkonen!— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) February 27, 2022
Habs up 2-1. pic.twitter.com/e6XBJ9GPmX
Cost control is a huge factor as well, since he’ll be a restricted free agent at the close of this year. If you’re looking at your list of players and deciding who you want to move, a defensively responsible forward with a reasonable price tag seems like the type of player you might want to keep around.
I believe the Habs should try and keep Lehkonen off the market, and we can find out if he has another clutch playoff goal to send a rebuilt Habs to another Stanley Cup final in the future.
Click the play button below to listen to a very Lehkonen edition of the Bottom Six Minutes podcast, which is also available on your platform of choice. We will return after Tuesday night’s game against the Winnipeg Jets.