Having played in Mestis, Finland’s second division makes Ylönen a tough prospect to rank but what really stands out is what he bases his game on — speed, shooting and vision. He uses his vision and hockey IQ to not only score himself, but to also set up his teammates.
He is a flash on the ice, getting up to speed fast and he utilizing it to separate himself from the defenders. While he is known as a set-up man, he did score more goals than the assists he produced this past season which points to two things: he never took a day off on an inferior team and he has a good, tricky shot.
His stick and puck handling skill is amazing, especially considering the speed he travels with. His individual offensive skill is really top end and the Montreal Canadiens swung for the fences with this pick. Ylönen puts up quick and incredible dangles and toe-drags, making me think that he will be a fan favourite in Montreal within minutes of the opening face off in the development camp.
Ylönen’s early birthday made him ineligible for the WU18 World Championships this year, possibly having some scouts and prospect gurus forget about him. Finnprospcts.com had a profile on him, pointing out some of the reasons for an “unknown/forgotten” player:
The agile skating and the speed he generates should only get better with added lower body build. The same goes for being knocked off the puck in the Mestis this season, and Ylönen needs to build up his muscles to compete at the top level.
Being a winger his defensive game isn’t the best, but moving to the Pelicans in Liiga for the upcoming season will be an added focus on the defensive side of the game as Liiga is one of the lower scoring leagues in Europe at the moment.
Jesse Ylönen wears #72.
In a recent interview with NHL.com ,Trevor Timmins put forward the need for certain players; “We’re looking to add skill, speed, character and work ethic.. We want players that can play fast.” Ylönen fits this profile, he’s quick, can think on his feet and has a great hockey IQ. He is also a Marc Bergevin pick in the fact that he never gives up and has a good work ethic. Ylönen’s road to the draft is a different road, and it shows that he believes in himself. It would have been easy to play in the Finnish U20 league last season but Ylönen took the rather unconventional approach to go to a team in Mestis and play the season against men.
Jesse Ylönen is a high-risk, high-reward player. He is exciting to watch and has been out of the spotlight in Mestis. However, taking a longer approach and learning the game at a senior level would benefit Ylönen this upcoming season. A full year among the pros should have given him plenty of insight on where he is and what he needs to improve on. The first step is taken with a move to Finland’s top division, and Montreal Canadiens fans should be excited for this pick.