Finns in the NHL draft
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06-18-2009, 06:30 PM
Hockey's Future Staff
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Hamilton Square
Assat and Lukko in the NHL draft
The two western rivals have fairly different histroies with regards to the draft.
Lukko, with over twenty players selected, has had more players drafted than Assat but more players from Pori have actually made it into the NHL.
Assat was the first team to have a player drafted - with both Tapio Levo and Kari Makkonen selected in the 1975 draft. Both players eventually appeared in the NHL - with Levo playing 107 games and Makkonen playing nine games for the Edmonton Oilers. In fact, the first five players drafted from Assat, Levo, Makkonen, goalie Kari Takko, and forwards Arto Javanainen and Christian Ruuttu - all appeared in NHL games - with Ruuttu having the most success playing over 600 games mostly with the Sabres and Blackhawks.
Of the 21 Lukko draft picks, just one, goalie Jarmo Myllys had a regular NHL role - spending three seasons as a backup goalie and appearing in 27 games for the expansion San Jose Sharks.
The two teams are alike in one respect - each having just one player selected in the top three rounds. Lukko defensemen Vesa Salo was slected by the Rangers in the 3rd round of the 1983 draft but never signed to a contract. Jesse Joensuu of Assat was a second round pick of the Islanders and made his NHL debut this spring - appearing in seven games.
Goalie Atten Engren (2007, 7th round Nashville) and forward Eero Elo (Minnesota Wild last year, 5th) are the most recent picks from Lukko, while Joensuu and forward Leo Komarov (Toronto, 6th) were both selected in 2006.
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