The Winnipeg Jets selected Sami Niku at 198th overall in the seventh round.
Niku is a 6’0 tall, puck-moving, offensive defender that played for the for both JYP’s team in the Mestis and the Liiga leagues. The Liiga is one of the toughest men’s leagues in the world, and the Mestis is Finland’s tier-two men’s league.
Check out some of Niku’s highlights last season.
Niku scored 3 goals and 22 assists in the Mestis league in 39 games and had a single assist in 12 games in the Liiga league. Interestingly there was another player drafted from JYP who played similar number of games and scored at similar rates and drafted much earlier, but was a forward.
Niku was originally thought as a candidate for the early non-first rounds, but likely fell in the draft due to not meeting expectations. As a trend with players who don’t quite meet expectations, Niku fell a lot further than his talent or numbers suggest he should have.
The left-hand shot defender will likely be playing a full season in the Liiga. When he makes the jump to North American pro remains to be seen but could happen whenever the Jets feel like he is ready.