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Raikkonen of the Montreal Canadiens proves he should be part of the plan

this Montreal Canadiens Literally and figuratively, it is now being hurt. The losses are getting bigger and the setbacks are getting more and more, the playoffs are a pipe dream. General manager Marc Bergevin has a few months to decide which direction he wants to take his hockey club.Although the 56-year-old General Motors said He is not going to panicIt’s hard to believe that the team’s training camp will look the same next season. A decision needs to be made, including whether Montreal should re-sign a restricted free agent (RFA) Aturi Raikkonen This offseason.

Artturi Lehkonen, Montreal Canadiens (Jess Starr/Hockey writer)

For six seasons, Raikkonen has been the main player in the bottom six of the Habu team. Although he is flying under the radar, the 26-year-old has always been one of the club’s most reliable players. He is neither flashy nor practical. He will not break the ankles of four players with Connor McDavid’s grip, nor will he break any scoring records. But his shortcomings in some areas, he has made up in other areas, for these reasons, the Canadians should ensure that Raikkonen is part of their plan.

Raikkonen: stingy guard

Raikkonen has been one of Montreal’s most stable players this season. His total score is nothing to write about, but No. 62 brings more than the box score. The vision test does not tell the whole story, which is why role players like Raikkonen often fly under the radar. They did the little things right.

Data visualization provided by

To clarify, the blue and red splashes above, blue represents the area where Montreal is allowed to shoot less than the league average, and red represents the opposite (2021-22 season). The chart shows that Raikkonen played a significant role in the defensive zone. As he was on the ice, a blue masterpiece appeared around the Canadians’ net, which showed that the team’s chances of scoring were far below the league average. Without him, the crease area around Habs was painted red because they worked hard to prevent high-risk shooting. Other things being equal, if Raikkonen is not present, Montreal is expected to allow more than one goal every 60 minutes.

To read more about expected goals (xG), click here.

The objection is that Raikkonen may play against third and fourth line forwards, but that is not the case. Raikkonen spends most of his playing time against opponents’ best forwards, and players like Josh Anderson have been sheltered in their deployment this season (according to HockeyViz).

related: 3 trade destinations for Canadian Gallagher

According to HockeyViz’s statistics with or without you (WOWY), this Finnish native made every player who played with him this season better in a 5 vs. 5 situation. Raikkonen’s ability to maintain outside shots should not be underestimated. This is such a subtle but important part of the game. On the defensive side, he passed the ball with an outstanding performance.

Did not mean to offend?no problem

Raikkonen’s offensive output is where he struggles. The 26-year-old winger surpassed 30 points only once in his career. Although he created his own scoring opportunities, his conversion ability was below the league average. Canadians fans can attest-this guy often misses the net. This is the part of his game where he needs to work the most, and perhaps this is the main reason why he is not among the top six forwards.

Artturi Lehkonen 2016-2021 overall impact/data visualization provided by

However, there are a few things to keep in mind when considering his offensive data. It is not his responsibility to score. Raikkonen’s job is to be a reliable two-way winger, keeping the opponent’s top players out. As shown in the picture above, his strong uniform defense this season is not unusual. Since starting his professional career in 2016, the Finnish winger has proven to be a ruthless striker who will work hard to predict and make wise hockey decisions-a low-key pest, if any . Anything extra, such as winning the overtime championship in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup playoffs, is a reward.

Raikkonen is the goalkeeper

Raikkonen plays a very important role in the Canadians. He took on most difficult moments that the last six forwards could not do. This is an underestimated benefit that relieves the pressure on teammates who have performed well in other situations, such as Mike Hoffman, who was 5 vs. 5 Struggling, but dominates the power game.

The 62nd will never become an offensive master. He doesn’t light up the scoreboard, and he doesn’t often make you jump off the couch. Just like baseball, there are no players at the bottom of the lineup being knocked out of the park. But they can become differentiators on any given night. Raikkonen is a difference maker for the Canadians, and his contract is likely to be signed at a reasonable price. Keeping him in their plan should be effortless.

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Ryan graduated from the Ryerson School of Journalism in 2015 and contributed to the Montreal Canadiens. He also previously worked as a hockey reporter at STATS LLC and as a copy editor at Rant Media Network.

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