Connect with us

Montreal Canadiens

Canadiens Prospects News & Rumors: Kotkaniemi, Ikonen, Norlinder & Caufield

How are the Montreal Canadiens young prospects doing? Who’s injured and who’s playing well in either Europe or in NCAA hockey?

Featured Video Play Icon

In this edition of Montreal Canadiens Prospects News & Rumors, I’ll look at news about four of the Canadiens young prospects and how they’re doing – or sadly not doing because of injury – this season wherever they’re playing.

Related: Should Canadiens Worry About Kotkaniemi’s Early Overseas Struggles?

Item One: Jesperi Kotkaniemi Is Starting to Play Well in Finland

Jesperi Kotkaniemi and his Assat Pori team of the Finnish league didn’t win their game, losing 5-3 on Wednesday. But that doesn’t mean Kotkaniemi is playing well. In fact, he scored two goals during the game.

Kotkaniemi’s first goal was a power-play marker, and he accepted a pass at the top of the circle and beat the Lahti Pelicans’ goalie. Kotkaniemi’s second goal came on a great move – a toe drag where he used his defender as a screen.

Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Montreal Canadiens

However, these were Kotkaniemi’s first two goals of the season and came in the team’s eighth game – so, one can hope that one-game success might give the young a shot of confidence as he tries to bring back his 2018-19 form that he showed when he played the entire season with Montreal. That season, he scored 11 goals and 23 assists, for 34 points in 79 games.

Until the playoffs, Kitkaniemi’s 2019-20 season was less to write home about. He split his time between the big team and the Laval Rocket. During his time with the Canadiens, in 36 games, he only scored six goals and two assists.

The 20-year-old center has also had a slow start in Finland. He’s now played 10 games, and he’s stuck with two goals and eight points in total. The Canadiens have to hope his time playing at home (in Finland) can help him prepare for the upcoming NHL season. He’s a lock to make the Canadiens top-six if he can show during the regular season again what he showed in the playoffs when he scored four goals.

Item Two: Joni Ikonen’s Mystery Setback Injury

Canadiens prospect Joni Ikonen isn’t playing, and we’re not certain why. There’s been no update on his injury status, and after missing all of last season recovering from a knee injury he’s down with an “undisclosed injury.” It’s one of those you can’t win for losing deals with this young Finn who was the Canadiens second-round (58th overall) draft pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.  

It hasn’t been an easy time for Ikonen. In fact, he’s only played 13 games in more than two-plus seasons. If his original prognosis is correct – but who can tell now – Ikonen should be able to sometime in December or January. When he was hurt during October, the word was it would take him between eight and ten weeks to return to action. 

Item Three: Mattias Norlinder Does Not Need Surgery to Repair Injured Shoulder

There’s good news for Canadiens 20-year-old, left-shot defensive prospect Mattias Norlinder. He won’t require surgery on his injured shoulder. The third-round (64th overall) Canadiens draft pick during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft was injured during the Karjala Cup.

Mattias Norlinder, Montreal Canadiens

At the time, the injury didn’t seem serious; however, Norlinder hasn’t returned to play with his Frolunda team. So far, in 13 SHL games this season, he’s score a goal and two assists prior to his being hurt.

Item Four: Cole Caufield Scores Assist in First Game at the University of Wisconsin

Cole Caufield, who was a Canadiens’ first-round (15th overall) draft choice during the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, scored an assist in his University of Wisconsin’s (Badgers) 2-0 win over Notre Dame during NCAA action last Friday. It was the Badgers first game of the season.

Caufiend, who’s as enthusiastic a young player as one can find, had his assist on the winning goal by Linus Weissbach. Weissback beat the Notre Dame goalie Dylan St. Cyr who one can only hope is as good as his mother – the great Manon Rheaume.

Manon Rheaume, great women’s goalie

It’s St. Cyr’s third season as a Fighting Irish goalie. And, so far this season – although it’s only been two games – he isn’t faring well. His record is 0-2, with a 3.82 goals-against-average and a save percentage of 0.841.

But this post is about the Canadiens good-looking prospect Caufield. He’s a gifted scorer in his second season at Wisconsin. There’s a hope he will turn pro at the end of this NCAA season and might join the Canadiens roster right away. He has that much potential.

Related: It’s Time for Montreal Canadiens’ Goalie Charlie Lindgren to Leave

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

More News

More in Montreal Canadiens