Florida Panthers 20 Under 21: #3 Juho Lammikko

Multifaceted forward ready for the pro game

Juho Lammikko is not the most skilled player in our countdown, nor the most offensively or defensively gifted, but, this forward with good size from Noormarkku, Finland can play many roles well, and he possesses one of the most pro-ready games of any player on this list. His ability to play a smart 3rd or 4th line game makes him a prospect who could actually end up with the Panthers in the not-so-distant future.

#3 Juho Lammikko - Forward - Kingston Frontenacs (OHL)

Highest Ranking: 4  Lowest Ranking: 6

When you think of Juho Lammikko, you are not thinking about a top-6 type future NHL prospect, let’s make that abundantly clear here. But you are in the neighborhood of a Connor Brickley, Logan Shaw, Garrett Wilson, type player- with more offensive upside, who can fill a 4th line role for an NHL team that has most of its cap-spending locked up elsewhere on the roster. It is that specific NHL need, along with Lammikko’s ability to play in a 3rd or 4th line NHL role, that has us here at LBC believing he may have a faster path to the NHL than some other Panthers prospects, who may never play more than a small handful of NHL games in their careers.

Lammikko did not score like Shaw or Wilson did in their final seasons of CHL play, but neither did his Kingston Frontenacs team, which spread scoring out and featured Lawson Crouse (who also did not score as much as the aforementioned Shaw and Wilson, albeit in fewer games) and, for 30 games, Michael Dal Colle. Simply put, the Frontenacs (who were 1st in the OHL’s Eastern Conference, but were 7th in the OHL in scoring) had only one player with more than 65 points, but had four players with more than 50 points, one of whom was this Panthers prospect. But scoring is not likely to be Lammikko’s hallmark if he finds his way to the NHL.

At 6’2”, 207 lbs., Lammikko is very well built. He is tall and sturdy on his skates and spends a great deal of his time in the offensive zone in the corners and attacking the front of the net. He has a real penchant for dropping his shoulder with the puck and driving, and while it does not often lead to his own goals, the mayhem he creates by his attack consistently created rebounds for teammates at Development Camp. Mayhem and strength will continue to be facets of his professional game. He is also vicious and relentless back-checking. Hockey’s Future predicts a somewhat similar role in their talent analysis:

A reliable two-way forward who can score at times, his role at the pro level is likely to be that of a Jere Lehtinen-type winger, though he may not score with the same consistency as the former Dallas Stars forward.

Lammikko has tended towards more assists than goals for some time now, so the prediction seems accurate. Prior to being drafted by the Panthers in the 3rd round of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft (#65 overall), Elite Prospects penned this assessment (in 2012):

A winger with promising size, Lammikko works hard at both ends of the ice and is strong in small spaces and corners. He is a decent skater with good stickhandling and playmaking ability. Lammikko has been an eager shooter in the juniors, but seems more apt as a set-up man with his vision and IQ. He is also characterized by good decision-making and sound defensive play.

The numbers bear this assessment out, as Lammikko has more assists than goals during his time in Kingston, and was consistently a +20 or more player for the Frontenacs. Dobber Prospects has a similar, yet slightly more optimistic outlook:

The strapping young winger has a responsible two-way game with adequate offensive prowess that should translate into a successful middle-six role on an NHL team.

While “middle-six” may be reaching, 3rd line wing is not out of the question if Lammikko continues to produce offensively in Springfield, especially because of the Panthers noted deficiency at wing in the prospect pipeline. He did produce at nearly a point-per-game rate in Kingston last season, although he has not replicated that in International play for Finland.

The other thing going in his favor with the organization is the dearth of big wingers. Consider Harvey Fiakov’s discussion of the Cats prospects at the rookie tournament:

Ten of the 12 young Panthers forwards are 6-foot or shorter. The organization has clearly altered its previous philosophy from signing tall, strong forwards to smaller, quick, skilled goal scorers ........In the Panthers past two drafts, they selected eight forwards and six were under 6-feet

With so many of the Panthers top offensive prospects weighing in at “diminutive,” Lammikko suddenly finds himself one of a smaller pool of big forwards in the pipeline. Despite the “new” NHL emphasis on smaller players with speed and skill, there is still a need for balance with larger, skilled, speedy players to counterbalance the smaller players. For every 5’9” Johnny Gaudreau, there is a 6’3” Sean Monahan nearby.

It is this combination of factors that has us believing that Juho Lammikko may find his way into a regular NHL slot at some point. Yet, none of this is meant to denigrate his skills and ability. Lammikko is a speedy, tough, aggressive, and responsible player. Like so many others, he will be an interesting player to watch in Springfield this season. Keep an eye on his assists, plus/minus and usage for the Thunderbirds- that is Lammikko’s game, and will tell us if he has successfully translated to the pro game.