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Top 25 Under 25: Number 16 Sami Niku

Will the Finnish defender find success in North America?

Winnipeg Jets Install Logo And Lines In MTS Centre Ice Photo by Marianne Helm/Getty Images

Another recently signed prospect defenceman, Sami Niku was drafted in the seventh round in 2015 by the Winnipeg Jets. The fact he was signed to an entry-level contract and will be in North America next season is a win unto itself. He spent last year in the Finnish Liiga where he recorded five goals and 27 points in 59 games.

Expect Niku to go through an adjustment period and need some time to get used to the North American game. However, Niku is used to playing in a professional league and should only have to adjust to the style of game played on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. All that said, he probably needs at least a year before he is ready for a call-up.

Tim: Niku is 20 years old. Niku has already played 4 years of pro hockey agaist men. Niku finished 7th in Liiga defensive scoring last year. He will start the season with the Manitoba Moose and he will have to adapt to the North American game, but nobody should be surprised if he makes his presence felt in relatively short order. Niku has some very real top 4 upside.

Brian: Sami Niku was, and still is a very good draft pick. Quite possibly the best draft pick the Jets have made after Round 3. At 20, he has four years of pro experience, which is incredible. I'd like to see a lot of Niku in the NHL this season.

Andy: I don't know alot about Sami Niku. But, what I do know is that he's a newer version of Toby Enstrom in playing style. Niku is a lower drafted thin framed D man that is consistent in play and doesn't make alot of mistakes. The Moose need someone like this to help them become a winning team.