Smallish defenseman who thrives in transitions and on the power play. Has a powerful slap shot and likes to throw his body around. Needs to work on his defensive game.
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May 2023 – The Maple Leafs have left Loponen unsigned and he is now an unrestricted free agent. The former 204th overall pick in the 2019 draft played 36 games for KooKoo in Liiga last season scoring two goals and 11 points. Some team in the NHL may take a chance on the 22-year-old but it seems more likely that Loponen will spend his professional career in Europe for the foreseeable future. Curtis Rines
May 2022 – Loponen spent the majority of the 2021-22 season with KooKoo in Liiga but was unable to replicate his offensive production from the U20 level last season. He played mostly third pairing minutes and was also used regularly on the powerplay but managed just one goal and three assists through 38 contests. The Leafs hold his rights until next offseason so they can afford to let next season play out and see if Loponen is able to rekindle his offensive game before deciding whether he is worthy of an entry level contract. Nick Richard
April 2021 – After a moderately successful OHL 2019-20 campaign, Loponen returned to Europe for 2020-21 where he has completed his campaign on the U20 club with 11 goals and 33 points in 36 games, making him the highest-scoring defenseman in the league. He will reportedly be joining KooKoo of Liiga for 2021-22. He is not short on confidence on or off the ice and can create chances with the puck on his stick, but its time for him to take the next step and play against men. The Marlies blueline is very crowded so his development will likely continue in Europe for few more seasons. Hayden Soboleski
November 2019 – Kalle Loponen has crossed the pond to join the OHL Sudbury Wolves for 2019-20, his first North American season. His 12 points in 22 games so far is good for second among team defense and is his highest pace since playing at the U18 Jr. B level, but 75% of his points right now are coming on the man-advantage which can’t be expected to transition to pro. He is shooting and producing enough to become a fantasy-worthy defenseman, but as an 18-year-old in a deep organization, it’s too soon to pick up in your dynasty leagues. Hayden Soboleski
June 2019 – Loponen has been drafted 204th overall by the Maple Leafs. Jokke Nevalainen
June 2019 – Loponen started the season with Kärpät’s U20 team until he got loaned to Mestis club Hermes where he played for the remainder of the season. He put up 12 points in 30 Mestis regular season games and three points in six playoff appearances. He signed a contract extension with Kärpät in May.
Loponen is a 5-foot-11 defenseman with good skating abilities. He is mobile, good at evading pressure and making opening passes from his own zone. Loponen is not afraid to join the rush either when the opportunity presents itself. He has a bomb of a slap shot which makes him a shooting threat on the power play. At Mestis level, his defensive game was an issue at times and is something he needs to work at. Loponen likes to execute open-ice hits once in a while and he can be relatively physical in his own end, too. Lassi Alanen