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A lack of Finn-ish in the draft Add to ...

My story on Finland forward Mikael Granlund in today's paper comes equipped with a sidebar on the 12 Finns selected in the first-round of NHL entry drafts throughout the 2000s, and their struggles.







But I could've gone further. The 1990s weren't exactly banner years for the Finns either. Eight players were taken in the first round, and only two panned out. Here's a look:







1999 (13th) F Jani Rita (Edmonton)



Played 66 NHL games - 30 with the 2005-06 Pittsburgh Penguins - before returning home to Jokerit in the Finnish league.







1999 (27th) G Ari Ahonen (New Jersey)



The 28-year-old struggled in four-plus AHL seasons, and never made the NHL.







1997 (3rd) F Olli Jokinen (Los Angeles)



Among skaters, a rare Finnish hit.







1997 (21st) G Mika Noronen (Buffalo)



Played 71 NHL games over five seasons, but never became a No. 1 goalie.







1995 (3rd) D Aki Berg (Los Angeles)



He played more than 600 NHL games, but was never more than a third-pair defenceman and offered nothing offensively. A huge scouting-miss given that he went third overall in a draft that also featured Jarome Iginla (11th overall).







1995 (12th) F Teemu Riihjarvi (San Jose)



Never played in the NHL and has been out of hockey since 2006.







1995 (23rd) D Miika Elomo (Washington)



He played two NHL games before returning home.







1993 (21st) Saku Koivu (Montreal)



Habs captain was never a dominant offensive player, but more than 800 NHL games makes this a successful pick.



Follow on Twitter: @mattsekeres

 

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