Photo courtesy of TheAthletic.com

Fantasy Summary

A power forward with soft hands but perhaps a limited offensive ceiling at the next level.


Observations

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June 2022 – Although his great size and soft hands are attractive, the Finnish center posted just one assist in his first three AHL playoff games. Expect the Isles to sign the RFA and return him to the minors for more seasoning. Mark Allan

March 2022 – The 6-4, 220-pound Finn would be leaning on big-league opponents by now in a bottom-six role with most other NHL organizations. Since the centers ahead of him are named Barzal, Nelson, Pageau and Cizikas, his NHL resumé includes just 16 games, including one assist in four 2021-22 outings. The impending RFA will surely be offered a modest contract in the off-season. Mark Allan

October 2021 – Koivula was among 10 players waived by the Islanders in their first round of training camp transactions. He was assigned to the Bridgeport Islanders of the AHL Mark Allan

September 2021 – His new one-year, two-way deal is surely influenced by the Islanders’ well-reported cap issues. However, it and the length of contracts for Casey Cizikas (six years) and Jean-Gabriel Pageau (five years) indicate the 6-4, 220-pound Koivula is going to have to make it to the NHL as a winger or with another organization. Mark Allan

July 2021 – He’s been buried behind the Isles’ top-four middlemen but the Finn is just 22 and he’s not getting any smaller. Even if Identity Line center Casey Cizikas is offered a new NHL contract, Koivula is first in line to be promoted if anyone above him on the depth chart gets hurt. Mark Allan

July 2021 – Overcoming a slow start, the 6-4, 220-pounder posted a respectable two goals and seven assists in 20 AHL appearances. After parts of three campaigns with the Sound Tigers, the 22-year-old Finn could conceivably take the spot of Casey Cizikas if the cap-strapped Isles are forced to part ways with their Identity Line center. Mark Allan

March 2021 – The 22-year-old has begun his portion of the AHL schedule in a deep funk. After five games since returning from a loan to a Finnish squad, he had no points, just four shots on goal and was minus-five with Bridgeport. The looming RFA has to pull up his socks. Mark Allan

February 2021 – After not cracking the big-league lineup this season, the top center on the Islanders’ farm was transferred to Bridgeport. He’ll get lots of AHL ice time with the Sound Tigers, which is just what he needs, especially since he’s in the final year of the entry-level deal. Mark Allan

January 2021 – Since the AHL campaign is not scheduled to begin until Feb. 5 due to the pandemic, the hefty Finn with the sweet hands is part of a quartet on the Isles’ taxi squad. He’s only an injury to one of the squad’s four centers away from adding to his 12-game big-league resumé. Mark Allan

January 2021 – The imposing 6-4, 220-pounder was recalled from Finnish squad HIFK for which he contributed three goals and eight assists in 14 Liiga outings while on loan. Koivula, who’s expected to start the North American campaign in the AHL, is on Team White at the Islanders’ training camp with fellow centers J-G Pageau and Casey Cizikas. Mark Allan

November 2020 — After going pointless in his first two games on loan to HIFK in Finland, the hefty forward had three scores and eight helpers in his next 10 Liiga outings. One of those goals, during a 7-1 rout of Karpat, demonstrated remarkably slick hands for a big man. Taking a pass in the slot, the 22-year-old slid the puck between his legs before sliding it into an open corner. Mark Allan

November 2020 – The 6-4, 220-pound Finn has two goals and three assists in seven outings while on loan to HIFK of his homeland’s top hockey circuit, the Liiga. Capable of playing in the middle or on the wing, the 22-year-old is already in his third Liiga campaign. With soft hands for such a big frame, Koivula is in the final leg of his entry-level contract. Mark Allan

July 2020 – The 21-year-old was the only true young prospect among 17 forwards named to the Islanders’ 30-player post-season roster. Examining those excluded (young snipers Kieffer Bellows and Oliver Wahlstrom) and who was included (non-scoring enforcer Ross Johnston), it’s clear the team’s braintrust is committed to its hard-hitting, tight-checking identity. Koivula’s imposing size and ability to play in the middle likely gave him an edge. Mark Allan

July 2020 – Koivula is in Group Two at training camp with fellow centers Brock Nelson and Casey Cizikas. Group One blanked Group Two 2-0 in the first scrimmage of training camp. Mark Allan

May 2020 – With nine goals and 22 points in 36 games with the Sound Tigers, the imposing 6-4, 219-pound Finn was on pace to roughly equal his promising AHL rookie numbers. Zero points and a mere four shots on goal in a dozen NHL outings indicate he needs more time on the farm, which is not unusual for power forwards. The Isles would be thrilled if their top center prospect develops into a dependable, physical NHL asset. It won’t happen overnight. Mark Allan

February 2020 – The hefty Finn got nine shifts and 5:35 of even-strength hockey, mostly at left wing on a fourth line with Matt Martin and Leo Komarov, in a 4-3 OT loss to the Rangers. Considering the acquisition of Jean-Gabriel Pageau as well as the presence of Matt Barzal and Derick Brassard, Koivula’s path at center is blocked. He wouldn’t even have played against the Rangers if Casey Cizikas and Cal Clutterbuck weren’t hurt. Koivula is pointless in 10 NHL outings, but has nine goals and 22 points in 36 AHL games, a hair under his points-per-game average for the 2018-19 Sound Tigers. Koivula has skill and size at 6-4 and 220 pounds, but it’s unclear if he will be able to improve his foot speed enough to stick in the NHL. The 21-year-old has one more season on his entry-level deal. Mark Allan

March 2019 – After a slow start to his season, Koivula has started to transition well into the North American game. With 40 points in 57 games, it is a possibility that we could see him taking a crack at the NYI roster sooner rather than later. He projects as a third-line scoring forward, something that the Islanders have missed this year. In a league that is moving towards higher goal totals, teams will need three solid scoring lines to keep up with their competitors. Koivula’s large frame and scoring touch will give the Islanders and your fantasy team some value if they choose to bring him up in the future.  Nate Duffett

January 2018 – Otto Koivula spent time on Finland’s third line through most of the World Junior Championships. He had a quiet tournament – netting just two assists and a minus-3 rating. The overall pace of the tournament and Finland’s weaker-than-usual forward skill made for tough sledding for the big Finn. The Isles’ fourth-round pick in 2016 is having a fine year in Finland’s top league. He has 19 points in 33 games as Ilves struggles to get into playoff contention. The 6-4 winger has an unusually low amount of goals for his career and play style – just four on 85 shots. Michael Farkas

Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.5
NHL Certainty 7.0
Country FIN
Position C
Roster Type Minors
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth January 9, 1998
Height 6‘4”
Weight 220 lbs
Drafted 2016 Round 4; Overall: 120

Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2013-2014 Ilves U16U16 SM-sarja Q8 7 1219 4|        
  Ilves U16U16 SM-sarja29 26 3056 18|        
  Ilves U18U18 SM-sarja5 4 26 0|Playoffs5 0 11
  Finland U16 (all)International-Jr9 4 26 2|        
 2014-2015 Ilves U18U18 SM-sarja21 22 3254 10|Playoffs3 1 01
  Ilves U20U20 SM-sarja22