Jesperi Kotkaniemi

Montreal Canadiens
Photo courtesy of Assat.com

Fantasy Summary

Kotkaniemi is a versatile playmaking center, projects as a solid second line. Two-way pivot.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 7.7
NHL Certainty 8.5
Country FIN
Position C
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth July 6, 2000
Height 6‘2”
Weight 190 lbs
Drafted 2018 Round 1; Overall: 3

Observations

October 2018 – It looks more and more like the third overall selection in last June’s NHL draft could stick with the parent club this season. Nothing leads towards a return to Finland and he is approaching the ten-game mark where Kotkaniemi’s entry level contract would see its first year officially kicking in. While he’s no Calder trophy candidate so far, the 6-2, 190 lbs center showed great improvement since the very first time he wore the uniform at the rookie tournament back in August. He’s more and more comfortable in both ends of the ice and has averaged 14 minutes per game of ice time, with a little bit over two minutes with the man advantage. Carl Sinclair

 

October 2018 – Kotkaniemi will start the season as a Montreal Canadiens. The young Finn will become the first ever player born in the 2000s to play in one of North America’s four major sports. What is remarkable in his case is his fast-paced adjustments to the world’s highest level from August where he looked like a lost kid at times, to his last training camp game where he looked confident and was setting great chances shift after shift. It will definitely be interesting to monitor his potential first nine games in the big show and see what the future holds in Montreal.

After heavy critics from the fanbase and some media over Kotkaniemi’s third overall selection last June, the recent turn of events could suggest that the move was the, in fact, the right one. As for the fantasy hockey impacts, the upside is higher than ever, but prudence is still key for any one-year league as long as we don’t see his name on 10 of the Habs’ regular season games rosters this fall. Carl Sinclair

 

March 2018 – In a draft that is very thin on center at the top of the draft, Kotkaniemi is arguably the top option at his position. Kotkaniemi has good size and distributes the puck well using his soft hands, creative vision and playmaking ability. In addition, he is a responsible defensive player. Kotkaniemi is not a bad skater, but it is one aspect of his game that could stand to add an explosive element and give him improved breakaway speed with a more explosive first step.

Kotkaniemi was a surprise omission for Finland at the World Junior, and playing key minutes as a 17-year-old against men in Liiga for Assat is producing at 0.5 points per game, and playing in key offensive and defensive situations. While he may have a high NHL certainty and upside it is important to note he has two-years remaining on his current contract in Finland. Peter Harling


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2014-2015 Ässät U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 5 1 4 5 4 |          
  Ässät U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 30 21 12 33 30 |          
 2015-2016 Ässät U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 3 4 6 10 0 |          
  Ässät U18 Jr. B Mestis Q 5 5 6 11 2 |          
  Ässät U18 Jr. B Mestis 6 5 12 17 0 |          
  Ässät U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 23 5 10 15 12 |          
  Finland U16 YOG 6 3 4 7 1 |          
  Finland U16 (all) International-Jr 11 6 6 12 28 |          
 2016-2017 Ässät U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 17 9 6 15 18 | Playoffs 7 4 1 5
  Finland U18 WJC-18 7 1 5 6 0 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 17 5 10 15 4 |          
 2017-2018 Finland U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 4 2 2 4 6 |          
  Ässät Liiga 57 10 19 29 20 | Playoffs 7 0 1 1
  Finland U18 WJC-18 7 3 6 9 37 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 17 8 11 19 51 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 3 2 1 3 2 |          
 2018-2019 Montréal Canadiens NHL 59 10 17 27 24 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr - - - - - |          

Highlights