Two-way defenseman who can skate and move the puck efficiently.
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May 2022 – Kivihalme saw his role reduced with the Marlies this season and has seemingly been surpassed by some of the younger, more promising defenders in the organization. He registered just a goal and six assists through 32 games. Set to turn 27 years of age before next season and with his contract set to expire, Kivihalme’s time with the Leafs organization appears to be coming to an end. Nick Richard
May 2021 – In his second AHL campaign, Kivihalme’s goal- and point-production rates grew thanks to 6 goals and 11 points in 20 games played. He does not lack confidence, regularly putting his smooth skating skills on display. He can join rushes, pinch in the o-zone, and skate the puck out of dangerous situations with ease, but his defensive coverage and ability to prevent opponents from making plays is still lacking. He will not be pushing for an NHL spot next year out of camp, and still projects as an AHL defender until he can be a bigger factor in his own end, being more aggressive rather than relying on his agility to jump on unforced errors. Do not draft yet. Hayden Soboleski
July 2020 – The Maple Leafs have signed Kivihalme to a 2-year contract extension. He is expected to earn bigger minutes in the AHL next campaign due to his reliability and his relative veteran status as a 25-year-old on a blueline that could be extremely young in 2020-21 depending on who is assigned to the ECHL. He earned a spot on the extended post-season roster for the Maple Leafs, but he’s just there for the experience and will need nearly all other options to be unfit to play to see any action in the play-in/playoffs. Hayden Soboleski
April 2020 – Kivihalme’s first season back in North America was a moderate success. He is capable of making smart plays with relative consistency, although not overly flashy. He attacks and defends well, but is still adjusting to the new league. If he stays on this continent, the pending RFA will be an AHL mainstay once again and continue developing into a reliable blueliner capable of taking tough minutes. Hayden Soboleski
November 2019 – Kivihalme has been a steady presence with the Marlies as he transitions to his first North American team. He is pointless through six contests, but he is seeing time in the top-four. He’s nowhere near high enough on the depth chart to see NHL time this year or likely even next, but he appears to be a reliable asset on the blue line where risky offensive dynamos are all the rage. Hayden Soboleski
May 2019 – 23-year-old free agent defenseman Kivihalme has signed a one-year entry level contract with the Maple Leafs. Kivihalme was originally drafted by the Predators but after not showing much progress during his NCAA years, he never received a contract offer from them and therefore his rights expired. Despite having a completely Finnish name, Kivihalme has been born and raised in USA. But his father is Finnish, and therefore Kivihalme decided to jump to Finland after his college career. It appears that was the perfect place for him because his game has developed tremendously over the past two years. Kivihalme has average size (6-0, 181) and decent offensive skills but his biggest strengths are his skating and hockey sense. He’s a very smart player who makes excellent reads and decisions with and without the puck. He’s mostly known as a puck-moving defenseman but he’s a reliable defensive player as well. He isn’t a flashy player by any means and doesn’t take unnecessary risks.
Kivihalme had nine goals and 30 points in 60 games this season but it’s important to notice that 23 of those points were scored at even strength, and the league leader among defensemen had 24. Kivihalme played about 19 minutes per game which included about a minute and a half of both power play and penalty kill time. He didn’t get to pad his stats on the power play all that much. In the playoffs, Kivihalme took his game to another level and was arguably the top defenseman in the league. His ice time increased to over 22 minutes per game, and he scored four goals and nine points in 16 games. None of his points were scored on the power play but he did have three shorthanded points. Kivihalme was one of the best even-strength defensemen in the league all season long, and that’s the type of role he could play in the NHL. He may not help much on special teams but he’s capable of jumping straight to the NHL and play on the bottom pair – the only issue is that the Leafs have a bit too much depth which makes it very difficult for him to do that. Jokke Nevalainen
|Team The Base||UMHSEHL||5||0||0||0||2||||
|B16 - Red (Final 54)||MNHP-16||3||0||0||0||-||||
|Finland U17 (all)||International-Jr||1||0||0||0||4||||
|B17 - Red (Final 54)||MNHP-17||3||0||0||0||-||||
|Team MAP South Hockey||UMHSEHL||20||3||4||7||8||||
|USA U18||Hlinka Gretzky Cup||4||0||0||0||0||||