2022-23 Team: Pelicans (Liiga, Finland)
Date of Birth: Aug. 23, 2005
Place of Birth: Hollola, Finland
Height: 6-foot-0, Weight: 187 pounds
Position: Right Wing
NHL draft eligibility: first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 12th
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 49th
- TSN/Craig Button: 37th
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 49th
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 35th
Jesse Kiiskinen is a Finnish right winger who plays in Pelicans’ system in Finland. He’s primarily played for Pelicans’ U-20 team in the Finnish junior league (U20 SM-sarja), where he’s totaled 20 goals and 43 points in 31 games. Because of those impressive counting totals, he’s gotten a look with Pelicans’ senior team in the Liiga, where he has one assist in seven contests.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
As a 16-year-old in the U18 SM-sarja during 2021-22, Kiiskinen posted ten goals and 17 points in seven games, earning him a promotion to the U20 SM-sarja. He totaled impressive numbers given his age, finishing with 13 goals and 25 points in 38 games.
It probably doesn’t come as a surprise that the most impressive part of Kiiskinen’s game is his offensive toolkit. He’s a solid skater, and it should only get better as he matures and adds more strength to his frame. He can put the puck in the net with an impressive shot, but he’s not just a shooter. While that may be the best feature of his game, he’s also a decent passer, both in the offensive zone and through the neutral zone in transition:
It’s also important to note that on top of his skill set, he is one of the youngest players in this draft, with an Aug. 23 birthdate. If his birthday were a couple of weeks later, he’d be a 2024 draft-eligible prospect. History has shown that younger prospects in any given draft class have more runway for development than older ones. He has plenty of room to improve an already intriguing skill set.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jesse Kiiskinen – NHL Draft Projection
It’s still early in the 2023 draft process, but given Kiiskinen’s production, projecting him to go somewhere in the early to mid-second round seems reasonable, especially based on his draft rankings. He could sneak into the later part of the first round, depending on what teams value and if they see upside in him being one of the youngest players in the 2023 draft.
“In my opinion, there are a lot of similarities in the way Stenberg and Kiiskinen play the game. Kiiskinen is also a relentless player who looks to make a difference every time he hits the ice. He doesn’t back down from anything and can bump his way out of traffic if required. The puck seems to follow him around. I really appreciate his “lead by example” way of playing the game.
Kiiskinen was one of the top scorers at the tournament. He was used in all situations and produced two goals and six assists.” – Sam Cosentino, Sportsnet.
Latest News & Highlights
“Kiiskinen is a scoring winger with a good set of hands and an effective shot. He displayed his offensive abilities in a versatile way in the game against Team USA. His skating allowed him to beat opposing defenders and force takeaways on the forecheck…” – Rasmus Tornqvist, FC Hockey.
“It’s been a solid year for Kiiskinen, who kicked things off with a great Hlinka Gretzky. He was the top scoring player outside of the United States with two goals and eight points. He’s now sitting at 16 points in 15 games with the national team, good for first among all Finns. It’s not surprising, given he’s third among U-18 scorers in the U-20 Finnish league…” – Steven Ellis, Daily Faceoff (Nov. 17, 2022)
- Passing in the offensive zone and in transition
- Compete level
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Consistency, especially offensively
- Adding strength to his frame
- Rounding out two-way game
The low end of Kiiskinen’s potential is a third-liner winger who can pot 15-20 goals and 40-45 points. But because he’s so young and has plenty of room for development, turning into a second-line winger isn’t impossible if he ends up with an organization that will develop him properly.
Risk: 3.5/5, Reward: 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense: 7.5/10, Defense: 6/10