Skip to main content

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)

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Story continues below advertisement

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.

Story continues below advertisement

1993 (21st) Saku Koivu (Montreal)

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

Report an error
About the Author
B.C. sports correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Matthew spearheads the Globe's sports coverage in B.C., and spends most of his time with the NHL Canucks and CFL Lions. He has worked for four dailies and TSN since graduating from Carleton University's School of Journalism a decade ago, and has covered the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, Grey Cups, the Stanley Cup playoffs and the NBA Finals. More

Comments are closed

We have closed comments on this story for legal reasons. For more information on our commenting policies and how our community-based moderation works, please read our Community Guidelines and our Terms and Conditions.