Finns in the NHL draft
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06-18-2009, 05:12 PM
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hamilton Square
Jokerit in the NHL
Arguably the most famous Finnish club outside of Finland, Jokerit, like Ilves and HIFK, has had over thirty players drafted - including two of the top forwards of all-time NHL Hall of Famer Jari Kurri (1251 games, selected by Edmonton in 1980) and Teemu Selanne (1132 games, 1988 by Winnepeg).
Like HIFK, Jokerit has hit a dry spell of late - with only two players still considered NHL prospects since the 2002 draft - defensemen Sami Lepisto (Washington, 2004 - 14 NHL games so far) and Jori Lehtera, who was drafted by St. Louis last year.
Between 1997 and 2002 there were nine players from Jokerit taken in the top three rounds. Defenseman Ossi Vaananen (479 games), forwards Tuumo Ruutu (324 games), Sean Bergenheim (183 games), and Valtteri Filppula (235 games and a Stanley Cup), and goalie Kari Lehtonen (204) would all be considered successes.
Forwards Jani Rita (just 66 games after being selected in the first round by Edmonton) and Teemu Sainomaa, Teemu Laine, and Tero Maatta - all second rounders who never appeared in an NHL game - never succeeded for various reasons.
Due to injury, goalie Pasi Nurminen was forced to retire but as a 6th round selection in 2001 appeared headed to a promising career.
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