The Colorado Avalanche have acquired forward Artturi Lehkonen from the Montreal Canadiens in exchange for a 2024 second-round pick and defense prospect Justin Barron, as originally reported by Kevin Weekes on ESPN’s Trade Deadline coverage and confirmed by TSN’s Pierre LeBrun.
Lehkonen is a gigantic addition to Colorado’s bottom six, especially as they deal with depth issues down the stretch caused by the injury to captain Gabriel Landeskog. In 58 games with Montreal this season, he’s scoring at a career-best pace, netting 13 goals and 16 assists for 29 points.
A veteran of almost 400 NHL games, the 26-year-old was the best defensive winger remaining on the trade market. He’s seeing a defensive zone start rate of higher than 50% for the first time since his rookie season, a sign of trust in his strong game. He adds to Colorado’s arsenal of defensively responsible wingers headlined by Valeri Nichushkin.
Lehkonen, who has a cap hit of $2.3MM, is a restricted free agent at the end of this season. Colorado acquired him at 50% salary retention and is only on the hook for $1.15MM.
For Montreal, though, this is a very respectable piece of work by new general manager Kent Hughes. Barron is a stellar prospect, drafted 25th overall in 2020. In his first full professional season, he played in his first two NHL games with Colorado this year and has 20 points in 43 games with the AHL’s Colorado Eagles. He’s a candidate to get some NHL looks post-Deadline in Montreal.