I like Korpikoski a lot and he does have a lot of skill...I think he's just missing a little something that will let him use that skill to put up more points. Whether it's scoring instincts or aggressiveness or whatever, I'm not sure. He's a great skater, pretty good stickhandler (though I think he's still learning at the NHL level what he can and can't do), has a nice wrist shot, and several of his goals were scored by being in front of the net.
Just has to find a way to consistently be a part of the offense. I don't think the Rangers looked at him to do contribute much offensively last year and mainly wanted him in a defensive role, so hopefully if they give him more responsibility and ask him to be more aggressive on offense, he'll score some more points
In fact, of the 12 Finns who went in the 1st round 1999-2004, and which includes 4 top 10 selections - Koivu, Lehtonen, Pitkanen, Niinimaki, Bergenheim, Toivonen, Tukonen, Korpikoski, Nokelainen, Rita, Ahonen, Ruutu - only one (Koivu) have really developed up to potential.
That is such a staggering failure rate that you wonder if there is some common factor at play here. Unless there was a tendency to habitually overrate finnish prospects (which I strongly doubt), the only thing I can think of is that they mostly went over pretty quickly after being drafted. Perhaps too quickly.
Tukonen - directly to AHL
Korpiskoski - 2 seasons in Finland, then AHL
Nokelainen - 1 season in Finland, then NHL
Lehtonen - 1 season in Finland, then AHL
Pitkanen - 1 season in Finland, then NHL
Niinimaki - 3 seasons in Finland, then AHL
Bergenheim - 2 seasons in Finland, then NHL
Toivonen - 1 season in Finland, then AHL
Koivu - 3 seasons in Finland, then AHL
Ruutu - 2 seasons in Finland, then NHL
Rita - 2 seasons in Finland, then AHL
Ahonen - 2 seasons in Finland, then AHL
Historically, the typical euro success player in the NHL has stayed in Europe, until ready to play regularly in the NHL (usually for at least two seasons), or at least with just very limited AHL time. Only Ruutu and Pitkanen were good enough to establish themselves in the NHL when they came over, but Pitkanen went very soon (and has not developed according to hopes though he is a good player), while with Ruutu injuries have played a large role. It seems indicative that the most successful of them - Koivu - stayed 3 years at home, and played only 67 games in the AHL before establishing himself in the NHL. Also, the most glaring flop relative to expectation - Tukonen - was the one who went over most quickly.
Thanks for the thorough evaluation of the Finnish prospects taken - and the success/failure they've had.
I think you can equate the "flop" rate much to the same way you can look at how so many American high school players were taken in the late 80's and early 90's. It is difficult to predict that far out. You can see a similar trend here in the USA in baseball, where the pro teams try and draft players right out of high school and as a result a first round pick doesn't necessarily translate into a sure-fire star player.
The fact that so many of the Finnish players drafted had enjoyed success playing mostly amongst players their age and were able to rely on one or two strengths while not having to develop their shortcomings was probably a factor in those who didn't succeed.
When the NHL first started drafting Europeans, they had the pick of the crop and were generally able to get players who'd already established themselves playing against men.
It will be interesting to see how that affects this year's crop of draft eligible Finns. All have some things to like, but also some glaring deficiencies.
I've not heard anything on Tukonen from any official or non-official Lightning sources, and I believe hes eligible to become a UFA this summer if the Bolts fail to qualify him as a RFA.
That sounds correct. His original 3-year contract with the Stars would have expired last August and it's hard to believe that either they or Tampa Bay signed him to anything longer than a one-year deal before he went to Ilves. The fact that he was subsequently dealt to Lukko would appear to mean that he was not as impressive as it was hoped he would be.
But someone on here may know more about his situation.
I think with those 04 first rounders people need to be more patient. While Tukonen is a real long shot to be a regular at this point, Nokelainen and Korpikoski look like they can be bottom six players for a long time. And to be honest, I doubt anyone thought Nokelainen would be anything more than a third line centre on draft day if they really watched him. Good defensive instincts, etc., but there really isn't a lot of offense.
Considering it's still only 5 years after the draft, I'm still reserving judgment on those 3 for a few more seasons.