Sami Niku

by Jamie Zadow on April 2, 2018

Sami Niku, D

Shoots: L

Height: 6-1

Weight: 174

Born: 1996-10-10

Hometown: Haapavesi, FIN

Drafted: 198th Overall 2015 by Winnipeg Jets

 

Observations:

April 2018 — Niku has been a revelation for the Moose in the AHL this season. In his first taste of pro hockey in North America, the Finnish defenseman hasn’t disappointed, tied for the league lead amongst blueliners with 52 points through 71 games. He’s a smooth skater that’s not afraid to jump in on the rush and has great vision when quarterbacking the powerplay. Selected in the 7th-round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, it looks like the Jets got themselves another steal. Jamie Zadow

 

September 2017 – Niku was assigned to the AHL and will join the Manitoba Moose for his first pro season in North America. He shares a similar game to fellow countryman, Tobias Enstrom, and could push for a Top four role on the Jets blue line one day. Of course, Niku will need some seasoning before he is comfortable with the North American style and will gain plenty of experience with the Moose this season.  Jamie Zadow

July 2017 – The Jets signed Niku to a three-year entry level deal this offseason. The 20-year-old appeared at Jets development camp at the end of June and is expected to join their AHL affiliate the Manitoba Moose to start the season. Niku wrapped up his third professional season in Finland with five goals and 27 points in 59 games. The defenseman also shares some chemistry with Patrik Laine, as the two were part of the 2016 Finnish team that struck gold at the World Junior Hockey Championship. – Jamie Zadow

September 2016 – The small Finnish defender has a game suited for the offensive side of the puck, however his slight build at 176 lbs. means he will need to add some muscle before even thinking of making the jump over to North America. He is very calm and has a great ability to get shots off from the point and could be a great asset for the Jets long term if he can crack the lineup. David Dickenson

 

December 2015Sami will be returning for Finland this WJC and will be taking on an expanded role. His development path has been steady and this holiday season will be a great time to evaluate just how far he has come in the past year. He has been playing in the Finnish Elite League this season in a limited role and has been mostly irrelevent from a offensive perspective. Niku is a prototypical small and quick finnish defender. He is no Vatanen or Timonen but he most definitely has the ability to move the puck from the back-end in a very quick and efficient manner. Niku has a deceptively strong shot and has a tendency to stay calm and collected in high pressure situations. Although he was drafted at the very tail-end of the draft he should be considered as a potential future fantasy option. It may be a longshot but he does has abailities that if properly developed could be wanted at the highest level.Niku will have to prove some people wrong on his journey if he is ever to make an impact in high-end pro hockey on canadian soil. This years world juniors should be a great test for young Sami. Chris Hartley

 

 

Fantasy Outlook: B

A high-risk, high-reward long-term fantasy selection.

 

 

Footage:

Some highlights of Sami from the 14/15 season

 

Nice play by Niku

 

 

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