There has been quite a lot of player movement in the Finnish leagues in the last couple of weeks. In this post, I will break down a few of them that include prospects moving to new teams.
’02 F Roni Hirvonen, ’01 F Leevi Teissala and ’01 D Mico Luoto sign with HIFK
Hirvonen is a second round NHL Draft pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs and has over 100 games of Liiga experience despite his young age. He joins HIFK on a two-year contract and will bring a great deal of versatility: he can play both center and wing and in any situation. The 19-year-old is effective and intense in his own end and he clogs passing and shooting lanes well. A multidimensional player, he is a dual threat in the offensive zone and can find his teammates with smart passing to create quality scoring chances. Skating is not his best attribute right now, largely because his stride is short and lacks power.
Teissala was one of the top forwards in the U20 SM-sarja last season. He is a skilled winger and confident with the puck on his stick. He has the stickhandling skills to dangle and maneuver around opponents. He changes direction well to find space and plays the game with his eyes up to scan the ice. He has simplified his style of play a bit, attempting fewer dangerous passes and turning the puck over less often. Although not the quickest of forwards, he creates lots of offense and has power play assets.
Luoto spent the past season with Kiekko-Vantaa in Finland’s second-highest men’s league. One of our favorite defensemen among 2001’s, he is a skilled and mobile puck mover who can kickstart the breakout and move the puck up the ice in transition. His passes are on the mark and he is comfortable with the puck on his stick. He was a capable power play quarterback in juniors.
’00 F Mikko Perttu signs with Ketterä
Perttu recorded 20 goals and 40 assists in 39 games with Tappara U20, earning a spot in the Second All-Star Team in the U20 SM-sarja. A sizeable center with a significant amount of skill, he has great offensive vision and can execute an efficient passing game. He takes care of his defensive responsibilities and will look to continue to improve his two-way game with Ketterä in Finland’s second-highest league.
’00 F Niklas Nordgren and ’00 D Toni Utunen sign two-year contracts with Pelicans
Nordgren has had injury problems over the last few seasons and therefore was limited to only six Liiga games in 2020-21. He recorded three points while playing for Pelicans on loan. Now he will return to the team after signing a two-year contract. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect still has the potential to be an impact Liiga player if he manages to stay healthy. There is no doubt he has skill, poise and offensive instincts. However, his speed and explosiveness need work.
Utunen scored two goals and four assists in 51 games for Tappara in the past Liiga season. He has never been a big point producer, but he plays a smart brand of hockey. A change of scenery may do wonders for his game. There will be plenty of competition on the Pelicans team next season, with promising young defensemen such as Topias Vilén, Matias Rajaniemi and Mikko Kokkonen looking to earn ice-time.
’05 F Tuomas Uronen joins HIFK
Uronen was named the best forward and best player in the U16 SM-sarja this past season. The KJT Haukat winger amassed 24 goals and 20 assists in only 20 games. He will likely start the season with HIFK’s U18 team, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him play at the U20’s as well.
Our most recent report: Uronen had energy and made an impact throughout the game. There were moments when he was almost unstoppable. He had the puck control, handling and speed to make defenders miss in open ice. On one occasion he simply used his speed to fly past the K-Vantaa defenseman and finished with a precise wrist shot off the rush. He kept his feet moving, played in all three zones and worked in his own end. Showed good use of crossovers to accelerate and generate speed differential through the neutral zone. He was excellent in the small area game and made calculated decisions in possession. Showed some physicality and situational toughness – threw a solid reverse hit to knock an opponent off balance.