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European Prospect Report: Jesse Ylönen finds his goal-scoring range

Ylönen finds the net while Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s linemates can’t, and Otto Leskinen reaps the benefits of his growth in Laval.

NHL: JUN 28 Montreal Canadiens Development Camp Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Jesse Ylönen, Pelicans [Loan], Liiga, Finland

With all Montreal Canadiens fans’ eyes on the opposite side of the ice, where a certain Jesperi Kotkaniemi lined up, Jesse Ylönen thought it was a good time to steal the limelight. In a game that featured both Montreal prospects, both stood out, however Ylönen did it on the scoresheet. He got his first goal of the season when he took over the power play, in a very Ylönen fashion.

Below is a typical Ylönen play: good forecheck and defensive read and then a fast transition to the other end of the ice. The problem here is that he has the referee covering the shortest route to the net, but in general this is a typical play as he stays along the boards and doesn’t impose himself on the defender and doesn’t break in toward the net.

He continued to show off his skill in the other game of the weekend, when he scored another good goal after providing a heavy forecheck.

Ylönen told Eyes On The Prize he “wasn’t satisfied with his own game” after his first game of the week, and that he didn’t really know why it didn’t work out. After two goals in two days, he said, “Nothing really changed. I played the same but scored two goals instead.”

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Ässät [Loan], Liiga, Finland

The centre spends his time on the second line, playing with Otto Kivenmäki and Sebastian Wännström; decent players but not really scorers. It doesn’t matter what chances Kotkaniemi sets up for them, they can’t put the puck in the net.

With a first line that works for Ässät, I can understand that a traditional cautious coach like Ari-Pekka Selin keeps the line intact and hopes that Kotkaniemi can carry a worse line, especially considering that you don’t know how long you get to keep the centre.

Kotkaniemi gets to play on the power play. He has the chance to run the play when Ässät tries to equalize with an extra attacker, he just doesn’t get any help from his teammates, nor the bounces.

Otto Leskinen, KalPa [Loan], Liiga, Finland

It is good to see Leskinen back in KalPa, where he performed fantastically this weekend. While the two assists were simple lateral passes, they still had to be made to get the job done.

The goals were a bit different though. His first against TPS was one where he showed a lot of patience to get the right angle and make sure the goalkeeper didn’t have a clear sight to the puck:

His second was in the dying seconds against Ilves, when Leskinen managed to do something that few have achived this season: scoring on Lukáš Dostál. Leskinen really threw a bomb at the young goalie, a shot that was completely out of reach for an otherwise excellent goalkeeper who’s having an outstanding season in Liiga at the moment.

Leskinen plays with a poise and really does show that he is too good for Liiga play. He has matured in his game under Joël Bouchard in Laval, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets a decent look in camp, especially as he will come over to North America in game shape.

Mattias Norlinder, Frölunda, SHL, Sweden

Two games for Norlinder, whom we covered in an article yesterday. The report featured insights from both Frölunda coaches who are closely involved in Norlinder’s development: head coach Roger Rönnberg, and defensive cach Kristoffer Näslund.

Jacob Olofsson, Skellefteå AIK, SHL, Sweden

The week started well enough for Jacob Olofsson, and he got to play more than before. However, with three games this week, and falling behind early, it meant that Olofsson drew the short straw once again. In the last game of the week, he played less than 10 minutes for the second time this season.

Alexander Gordin, SKA-1946 Saint Petersburg, MHL, Russia

Gordin was called up to SKA Neva, as the VHL will be playing regular games all through this week. In the two games he did play, he scored no points, which is something of an off week for him.

Lukas Vejdemo, Södertälje SK [Loan], HockeyAllsvenskan, Sweden

Out with what seems to be a concussion.

Jan Myšák, HC Litvinov, Extraliga, Czech Republic

Myšák was selected for the Karjala tournament that will take place this week. Czech National Team coach Filip Pesan choose a fourth line that is made up of Juniors, and it will be interesting to see how much Myšák gets to play, as well as how he fares against arguably tougher competition.

Joni Ikonen, Ilves, Liiga Finland

The way Ilves is playing, I am not sure that Ikonen would grab a spot even if he was back on the ice. The update says that he should be out another couple of weeks before Montreal fans can expect a return.