Joni Ikonen leaves Frölunda for Liiga, Kalpa most likely destination
The second-round draft pick looks to be leaving the SHL for Finland
In a dramatic turn of events it seems that Joni Ikonen will leave Frölunda HC to play in the Liiga in Finland. There is uncertainty about which club Ikonen will suit up for, but according to sources close to Frölunda, Ikonen grabbed all his gear and left Gothenburg with the most likely destination being Kalpa. Trusted journalist and Frölunda beat writer Johan Rylander of the Gothenburg Post broke the news earlier tonight.
The source of the fall out seems to be that Joni Ikonen demanded a spot on Frölunda’s A-team (contract wise) and the right to be the first player called up from the U20 team. Kristian Vesalainen made a similar demand a year ago and that ended Vesalainen’s tenure in Frölunda on a sour note. Frölunda said no to Ikonen’s demands and, according to a source close to Frölunda, the team responded that “it is an open competition, and that no one would be guaranteed a spot or a call up.”
Joni Ikonen played around 70 mins in SHL last season with Frölunda and was minutes (100 minutes needed) away from receiving his SHL rookie contract. Ikonen had 41 points (22+19) in 40 games with Frölunda U20 last season; he also represented Finland in the U18 World Championships where Finland got silver. He had eight points (4+4) in seven games in the tournament. Ikonen was expected to have a break out season in Frölunda this upcoming season.
We spoke earlier this month with Frölunda’s coach Roger Rönnberg about Ikonen’s development in Frölunda.
While rumours place Ikonen in Kalpa nothing is certain and the situation is fluid at the moment. Kalpa finished third in the regular season standings in Liiga last season and lost in the final to Tappara, four games to two. Their U20 team lost the wildcard game in order to gain a spot in the playoffs.