When the Montreal Canadiens ended the 2022 calendar year in the midst of a seven-game losing skid, the calls for the team to waive a veteran forward and bring Jesse Ylönen up from the Laval Rocket were loud and clear. Fans ended up getting at least part of their wish when Ylönen was called up on Tuesday when a hole was opened up by injury, and he suited up for the team on Thursday night against the Predators.
In his season debut for the Habs, Ylönen made an immediate impact as he grabbed the primary assist on Kirby Dach’s goal with a sizzling cut through the offensive zone to open space for Dach.
Drouin to Ylönen and the Finn sets up Kirby Dach for a tap-in goal.— Scott Matla (@scottmatla) January 13, 2023
2-1 Habs! pic.twitter.com/rT0SKMxjrg
While it’s been just three total games, and Ylönen has registered just the one assist, he has done just about everything to convince the Canadiens to keep him here awhile longer.
Ylönen’s skill set of speed and finesse with the puck on his stick has given the Canadiens some sorely needed skill down the lineup. The young Finn seems to have brought some spark into the game of Evgenii Dadonov since his recall as well, and even without the Russian lighting up the scoresheet the positive impact is there.
With Jake Evans, and now Juraj Slafkovský, set to potentially miss time, there is an even greater opportunity for Ylönen to grab more ice time and continue to build his case. The wins this week have been good confidence builders for Montreal and its players, but Ylönen’s recall yielding positive reviews is a big part of what this rebuilding season was supposed to be about.
With his debut this year going so well, it’s building Martin St-Louis’s trust in his new player, a good sign for the young forward once the trade deadline has come to pass. It also will likely give Kent Hughes more confidence in bringing up a player like Rafaël Harvey-Pinard from the AHL to give him a similar chance as well.
It’s unreasonable to expect Ylönen to be putting up points every single game, but as he continues to have an impact each night he makes it harder and harder for the Canadiens to send him back down to the AHL.