Finnish Prospects in the NHL

About Teemu Hartikainen, Scott Reynolds asks:

"how many 19-year-olds put up between 0.45 and 0.75 points per game in the SM-Liiga and never make it to the NHL? I don’t know the answer but I think it would be good to know before you convince the guy to buy a house in Edmonton."

Between 1980 and 2004, 22 players have met this criteria (adjusting to last year's offensive levels - 2.61 G/G, 1.66 A/G.) Here's the list, showing their NHL scoring through age 25:

Season FNL PPG NHL GP NHL G NHL A NHL PTS
Reijo Ruotsalainen 1980 0.61 389 99 217 316
Joni Pitkanen 2003 0.62 340 40 135 175
Mikko Koivu 2003 0.57 282 57 127 184
Jere Lehtinen 1993 0.51 266 65 100 165
Sami Kapanen 1993 0.50 242 68 88 156
Niko Kapanen 1998 0.51 158 6 35 41
Hannu Jarvenpaa 1983 0.47 114 11 26 37
Ville Peltonen 1993 0.70 73 9 19 28
Tony Salmelainen 2001 0.51 70 6 12 18
Juha Lind 1994 0.48 39 2 3 5
Janne Kekalainen 1990 0.50 27 4 3 7
Vesa Viitakoski 1991 0.73 23 2 4 6
Tuomas Pihlman 2003 0.66 15 1 1 2
Jarkko Varvio 1992 0.61 13 3 4 7
Marko Jantunen 1991 0.57 3 0 0 0
Tony Arima 1981 0.57 0 0 0 0
Timo Saarikoski 1989 0.52 0 0 0 0
Keijo Sailynoja 1990 0.49 0 0 0 0
Tommi Pullola 1991 0.60 0 0 0 0
Mikko Luovi 1993 0.45 0 0 0 0
Kimmo Rintanen 1993 0.66 0 0 0 0
Janne Laakkonen 2002 0.57 0 0 0 0
Average 0.56 93 17 35 52

Niko Kapanen and Ville Peltonen were late-bloomers and did more in their late 20s. That gives Hartikainen a 33% chance of having a reasonable NHL career and a 25% chance of playing regularly during his entry-level contract. But don't expect anything anytime soon - only Pitkanen and Ruotsalainen played regularly in the NHL before they were 22.

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