Blues Prospect Lehtera Off to Quick Start

The Blues chose Lehtera with their 3rd Round Pick in the 2008 Draft

Tuesday, 11.24.2009 / 10:53 AM CT / St Louis Blues - Features
By Bill Meltzer  - NHL.com
X
Share with your Friends


Blues Prospect Lehtera Off to Quick Start
The talent and depth in Finland's SM-Liiga may not be quite as good as it was in the past. Nevertheless any time a young player stands out, it is a noteworthy accomplishment. Still a month shy of his 22nd birthday, Tappara Tampere center Jori Lehterä leads the league with 26 points through the first 22 games of the regular season. His 20 assists also pace the top Finnish league.

Selected by the St. Louis Blues in the third round (No. 65) of the 2008 Entry Draft, no one ever has doubted the youngster's hands or ice vision. The Helsinki native starred offensively at the junior level for Jokerit and quickly showed he belonged in the elite league in stints with Jokerit's senior team and Tappara Tampere. Nevertheless, he had his share of critics and wound up going unpicked in the 2007 NHL draft.

Ironically, the Blues were among the teams who initially questioned whether Lehterä had the package of skills necessary to be a legitimate NHL prospect. By the next season, however, they were satisfied his skating would not be a major hindrance and he had the ability to develop into a well-rounded player. When he was available in the third round, St. Louis grabbed him.

"It's not about statistics," St. Louis Assistant General Manager and Director of Amateur Scouting Jarmo Kekäläinen said of Lehtera two days after his selection. "We look at a variety of different factors about a player -- skating, fundamentals, competitiveness, defensive play -- and he's a guy who has come on in the last year."

The move from Helsinki to Tampere helped. With Tappara -- a club that generally has had lesser playoff expectations than Jokerit over the course of the past 15 years -- there was more playing time available for promising youngsters such as Lehterä. In his first season with Tappara, a 20-year-old Lehterä had 13 goals, 42 points and a plus-12 rating in 52 games. He added 4 goals and a pair of assists in 11 playoff games.

Last season, the bottom fell out for Tappara. The club had to defend its SM-Liiga spot in the playdowns, but Lehterä produced 38 assists and 47 points in 52 games. In the playdowns he was a one-man wrecking crew, scoring four times and adding 5 assists in three games. As a result, Tappara retained its place in SM-Liiga.

Tappara has remained an also-ran this season. The club currently sits 10th in the 14-team SM-Liiga with 23 points. First-place Lukko Rauma already is a staggering 29 points ahead of Tappara. Nevertheless, if the regular season ended today, Tappara would make the postseason and play a miniseries with its traditional archrival from the same city, Ilves Tampere.

Lehterä is part of a quintet of skilled young players on Tappara. Along with Lehterä, 20-year-old Niclas Lucenius (a 2007 fourth-round pick of the Atlanta Thrashers) and 21-year-old Jonas Enlund (a 2006 sixth-rounder by Atlanta) have paced the club offensively. Through 22 games, Enlund has 11 goals (tied for fourth in the league), while the well-rounded Lucenius has 12 points and a team-best plus-5 rating at even strength. The club also features promising 19-year-old goaltender Harri Sateri, a 2008 fourth-round pick by the San Jose Sharks, as well as mobile defenseman Harri Ilvonen, a Minnesota Wild prospect chosen in the sixth round of the 2007 draft.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 x - ANA 77 48 22 7 225 215 103
2 x - NSH 76 47 21 8 218 183 102
3 STL 75 46 22 7 228 186 99
4 MIN 76 44 25 7 219 186 95
5 CHI 74 44 24 6 209 172 94
6 VAN 75 43 27 5 215 203 91
7 WPG 75 39 24 12 212 197 90
8 LAK 75 37 24 14 200 188 88
9 CGY 75 40 28 7 219 199 87
10 DAL 76 37 29 10 236 243 84
11 SJS 75 37 30 8 210 212 82
12 COL 75 35 28 12 205 209 82
13 EDM 75 22 40 13 181 254 57
14 ARI 76 23 45 8 160 252 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
V. Tarasenko 75 36 35 26 71
A. Steen 73 24 38 6 62
J. Schwartz 68 24 32 14 56
D. Backes 74 25 29 6 54
T. Oshie 66 19 32 13 51
P. Stastny 67 14 29 5 43
A. Pietrangelo 75 6 36 -4 42
J. Lehtera 68 11 29 18 40
K. Shattenkirk 50 8 32 17 40
P. Berglund 70 9 13 -5 22
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
B. Elliott 24 13 3 .920 2.18
J. Allen 19 6 4 .906 2.45

 
TICKETS
Single Game Tickets
2015-16 Ticket Plans
Group Tickets
Luxury Suites
Renew Your Season Tickets
NHL Ticket Exchange
View From Your Seat

TEAM
Roster
In the System
Coaches
Front Office
Blues History
All-Time Player Roster
Chicago Wolves
Alaska Aces

SCHEDULE
Regular Season
Practice Schedule
Promotions Schedule
Schedule Downloads

STATS
Player Stats
League Standings

NEWS
News
Features
Blues Overtime Blog

VIDEO
Video Channels
Game Highlights

GameDay

SOCIAL
Find a Player
Facebook
Twitter
Mobile App
E-mail Subscriptions

FANS
Hot Deals for Cool Fans
Photo Galleries
License Plates

COMMUNITY
Blues in the Community
Blues 14 Fund
50/50 Raffle Numbers

SHOP
Online Store
Blues Auctions
True Blues Authentics

stlouisblues.com is the official Web site of the St Louis Blues. St Louis Blues, stlouisblues.com and stlblues.com are trademarks of the St Louis Blues Hockey Club. NHL, the NHL Shield, the word mark and image of the Stanley Cup and NHL Conference logos are registered trademarks of the National Hockey League. All NHL logos and marks and NHL team logos and marks as well as all other proprietary materials depicted herein are the property of the NHL and the respective NHL teams and may not be reproduced without the prior written consent of NHL Enterprises, L.P. Copyright © 1999-2015 St. Louis Blues Hockey Club and the National Hockey League. All Rights Reserved.

PRIVACY POLICY | ADCHOICES | TERMS OF USE | EMPLOYMENT & INTERNSHIPS | GUEST EXPERIENCE SURVEY | CONTACT US