Photo courtesy of mtvuutiset.fi

Fantasy Summary

Effective big-framed winger with an untapped scoring touch.


Observations

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June 2022 – Vesalainen signed a one-year contract with Malmo to play in the SHL. He was unable to pan out as an NHLer – he didn’t work hard enough for the checking line, and wasn’t cutting it on a scoring line. He’s only 23 so there’s a chance he’ll return. But don’t hang your hopes on it. – Dobber

 

May 2022 – Vesalianen has taken his talents back to Sweden after signing with the Malmo Redhawks of the SHL.  Vesalainen has had an extremely underwhelming stint in North America, and will look to regain confidence in the league where his professional career began for the 2022-23 season.  He remains an RFA as the Jets organization have not made any attempts to resign Vesalainen. Justin Kaye

 

April 2022 – Vesalainen has had an underwhelming beginning to his North American career as he acclimates to the NHL game. His sporadic flashes of offense have mostly been present at the AHL level, where he has produced at a 0.51 point-per-game pace.  Although his point totals do not seem particularly promising, Vesalainen is still young and lacks NHL experience.  The 2017 first-rounder (24th overall) has seemingly been in the Jets organization for some time.  At 22-years-old he has appeared in just 70 NHL games across four professional seasons, with a mere two goals and five points to show for it.  This season, the power-forward is averaging 8:40 per night on the Jets fourth line which is sub-par. While his strength and compete level are noticeable at times, his lack of consistency and awareness are admittedly cause for concern.  As a result he has found himself currently battling for ice time at the AHL level often skating on the third checking line. Although his game has not translated to success in North America, Vesalainen is still a few years away from his breakout threshold of 400(ish) games. Growing pains are evident, but if the power forward can find a way to bring more dependability and make smarter decisions, he will earn more minutes and provide secondary scoring with potential for more. The Jets top-six forward group is essentially locked in for next season, expect Vesalainen to work for a bottom-six role, among tough competition from players who show more consistent efforts at the moment.  Justin Kaye

 

August 2020 – Vesalainen made a decent impact at the AHL level this season, finishing with 12 goals and 30 points in 60 games. He still needs some time to acclimate to the North American style, but offensively, the upside is there. Following an early exit in the qualifying round of the NHL’s return to play format, the Jets could see some roster changes ahead of next season and Vesalainen may challenge for a spot in training camp. Jamie Zadow

 

March 2020 – Vesalainen had a very up and down season between the AHL and NHL. However, in recent weeks, he has seemed to find his stride with the Moose playing on a line with David Gustafsson. One thing the former first-round pick has really worked on has been his skating ability to be able to compete at the next level. Since coming over from Finland he has been a bit rough around the edges, but the size and scoring prowess remain as he could be a mainstay for the Jets in the near future. Jamie Zadow

 

March 2019 – After struggling down the stretch for Jokerit in the KHL playoffs — one point in six playoff games — Vesalainen found himself as a healthy scratch at times. He will re-join the Jets and play for the Moose to close out the month. The young Finn recorded eight points in eight AHL games earlier this year. Jamie Zadow

 

December 2018 – Vesalainen has declined invitation to join Team Finland for the World Juniors. Team Finland’s head coach confirmed it was player’s decision to focus on his season with Jokerit in the KHL instead of travelling to Canada for the tournament.  Jokke Nevalainen

 

April 2018 – Vesalainen had a terrific rookie year with HPK in the Liiga, finishing second on the team in scoring with 19 goals and 39 points in 44 games. The young forward is currently on loan to Karpat and played an instrumental role in their first round playoff win. His high-tempo offensive game, paired with an overwhelming size in front of the net make him challenge for any defenseman in the Liiga. Jamie Zadow

 

 January 2018 – Finland came home empty handed from the U20 World Junior Championships, but Vesalainen was a bright spot for the team. He was tied for the team lead with six points in five games in Buffalo and gave Jets’ fans a glimpse of that scoring presence in front of the net. Vesalainen returned back to HPK in the Finnish Liiga where he is having a strong campaign, tied for the team lead in goals (13) and second in points (29) through 32 games. Jamie Zadow

 

September 2017 – Vesalainen is the ultimate package and possesses a heavy shot with a quick release. He is a terror in front of the net for opposing defensemen and has already appeared in five games with HPK in Liiga, recording two assists. Vesalainen is a definite project for the Jets and he will take plenty of grooming in Finland before he transitions to the pro game in North America. Jamie Zadow

 

May 2017 – Vesalainen is a tantalizing package of size, skating and skill. A lot of scouts are very high on Vesalainen despite his underwhelming season. He started the year in the SHL playing against men in limited ice time and failed to produce offence. He also struggled in the Finnish pro league Liiga but played more minutes. Again he also played for Finland at the World Junior again against older players and failed to produce. The big payoff came at the U18 where he played against the elite of his age group and dominated. Vesalainen already has pro ready size, has a full year of pro experience and has above average skill to compliment his size. Peter Harling

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 5.0
NHL Certainty 5.0
Country FIN
Position LW
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth June 1, 1999
Height 6‘4”
Weight 207 lbs
Drafted 2017 Round 1; Overall: 24

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2012-2013 HIFK U16U16 SM-sarja Q4 2 35 0|        
  HIFK U16U16 SM-sarja5 0 00 0|Playoffs1 0 00
 2013-2014 HIFK U16U16 SM-sarja Q9 8 1220 0|        
  HIFK U16U16 SM-sarja28 18 2139 8|Playoffs3 2 24
  HIFK U18U18 SM-sarja9 1 12 0|        
  HJK U16U16 Mestis1 1 01 0|