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
KalPa and SaiPa in the NHL Draft
KalPa and SaiPa share some similarities in that their a bit isolated from the rest of Finland. But while the NHL has infrequently drafted players from these two clubs, especially in the case of SaiPa, they have had some success.
Petri Skriko was the first SaiPa player drafted, in 1981 by Vancouver, and spent over eight seasons in the NHL with Vancouver, Boston, and San Jose.
Of the five players selected since, three spent time in the NHL, with goalie Jussi Markkanen appearing in 128 games - including a large role during the regular season when the Edmonton Oilers eventually reached the Stanley Cup finals. Petteri Nokelainen (Islanders, 1st round, 2004) has appeared in 122 games and is now with Anaheim. Another high round pick, Vesa Viitakoski, selected in the second round by Calgary in 1990, was not as successful, appearing in just 23 games over three seasons before returning to Finland.
SaiPa has not had a player selected since 2005.
KalPa has had a total of thirteen players selected including Olli Jokinen. Three of those players, Jokinen, Sami Kapanen, and Kimmo Timonen, appeared in over 700 NHL games with Timonen currently active in Philadelphia and one of the top defenseman in the game. He was a tenth round selection in 1993.
Of the nine players drafted who have not appeared in an NHL game, only one, goalie Tuomas Nissinen, was selected in the top three rounds. He was picked by St. Louis in the third round of the 2001 draft.
Forward Teemu Hartikainen was the last player to have been drafted from KalPa - selected in the sixth round by Edmonton last year.
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