Markus Niemeläinen

Edmonton Oilers
Photo courtesy of Liiga.fi

Fantasy Summary

Towering defender whose development hasn’t gone as planned and is struggling to make an impact offensively.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 3.5
NHL Certainty 2.0
Country FIN
Position D
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth June 8, 1998
Height 6‘6”
Weight 205 lbs
Drafted 2016 Round 3; Overall: 63

Observations

March 2019 – It’s hard to say what the future holds for the big Finnish defender. Since leaving Saginaw of the OHL in 2017, Niemeläinen has played in 91 Liiga games and amassed just eight points. Offence has never been his calling card but at some point you have to produce to get to the NHL. His combination of size and solid mobility makes him an intriguing prospect and he is only 20 years old but there doesn’t seem to be a lot of improvement at this point. Jameson Ewasiuk

June 2018 – After a very disappointing season in the OHL in 2016/2017, Niemelainen opted to go play in his home country of Finland for HPK of Liiga. Last season with HPK, the young defender’s performance was mediocre at best as he recorded just one goal and three points in 42 games played. He just turned 20 earlier this month so there is obviously still time for him to develop and turn things around but at the moment he is not meeting expectations. Jameson Ewasiuk

March 2017 – This season has not been what Niemelainen has hoped for offensively. In 56 games, he has managed to put up only one goal and five assists. Although he is struggling offensively, Niemelainen is still a top prospect for Edmonton. His defensive awareness is continuing to grow and for 6-6 he is mobile and smart with the puck. Don’t let his point total tell the full story; Niemelainen’s future is still bright. Spencer Pomoty

July 2016 – With the 63rd pick at the 2016 NHL Draft, the Edmonton Oilers made a steal of a pick by taking Markus Niemelainen, a smooth-skating 6-6 defenseman from Saginaw. Niemelainen was thought to be a consensus top 50 pick but fell at the draft due to his lack of consistency and the fact that he was under-utilized this past season in Saginaw, where he finished with 27PTS (1G, 26A) and an underwhelming minus-23 rating.

Niemelainen brings more then just a lengthy frame – he has great mobility and hockey sense as a defenseman, along with the ability to make a solid first pass out of the zone. Niemelainen appeared twice for Finland on the international stage and was a crucial part of the gold medal winning U18 team. Niemelainen will suit up for HIFK of the Finnish elite league where he will be put to the test against men. Brayden Sully


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 HPK U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 8 0 4 4 4 |          
 2012-2013 HPK U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 9 3 8 11 8 |          
  HPK U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 31 3 6 9 10 |          
  HPK U17 Jr. B2 SM-sarja 1 0 0 0 0 | Playoffs 9 2 3 5
  HPK U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 0 0 0 0 0 | Playoffs 3 0 1 1
 2013-2014 Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 1 1 1 2 0 |          
  Tappara U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 10 0 4 4 4 |          
  Tappara U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 40 3 11 14 14 | Playoffs 3 0 0 0
  Finland U16 (all) International-Jr 11 1 4 5 6 |          
 2014-2015 HPK U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 4 0 2 2 0 |          
  HPK U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 39 2 14 16 28 | Playoffs 12 0 5 5
  Finland U17 WHC-17 6 1 0 1 2 |          
  Finland U17 EYOF 3 0 3 3 2 |          
  Finland U17 (all) International-Jr 14 1 3 4 6 |          
  Finland U18 WJC-18 7 0 0 0 0 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 12 0 0 0 2 |          
 2015-2016 Saginaw Spirit OHL 65 1 26 27 28 | Playoffs 4 0 0 0
  Finland U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 5 0 2 2 6 |          
  Finland U18 WJC-18 7 0 1 1 6 |          
 2016-2017 Saginaw Spirit OHL 59 3 6 9 40 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 8 1 0 1 6 |          
 2017-2018 HPK Spengler Cup 3 0 0 0 0 |          
  HPK U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 0 0 0 0 0 | Playoffs 5 0 0 0
  HPK Liiga 42 1 2 3 24 |          
  LeKi Mestis 1 0 0 0 0 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 9 0 1 1 4 |          
 2018-2019 HPK Liiga 50 1 4 5 8 |          

Highlights