Edmonton’s last pick in the 2018 NHL draft came at pick 195, coming in the seventh round of the selection process. With that pick, the Oilers selected a little-known player from Finland in the form of Patrik Siikanen.
The 18-year old Finn is a left-shot forward who can play both center and left wing and skated for the Espoo Blues U20 team in the Junior SM-liiga last season. Siikanen won’t be attending rookie camp later this week and won’t be in main camp following that, as he’s already three games into his junior season back home.
This is a player we really haven’t seen before, and likely won’t see moving forward for at least another two years. In the internet and information age, it is rare that a player has this little information available on him. Alas, the mystery of Siikanen begins.
So…..Just Who Is Patrik Siikanen?:
As mentioned above, Siikanen is an 18-year old Finnish forward who shoots left and can play both the left wing and center. He played in 24 Junior A SM-liiga games with the Espoo Blues U20 team last season, registering 10-7-17 in the process.
Prior to that, Siikanen dressed in two games for the U18 squad in the Junior B SM-liiga, tallying three points. He’s played three games for the U20 team this year, and has posted 2-2-4. Siikanen has been an impact player a few games into his draft +1 season. That’s a pretty good sign for the youngster.
Siikanen clocks in at 6′ and 198 pounds, so he does possess some size. That, along with his ability to post offense at the junior level in Finland, likely made him an appealing late round target for GM Peter Chiarelli and his scouting staff.
Here are some words on Siikanen from the website Finnish Junior Hockey.
Siikanen had a pretty good, yet slightly inconsistent game for Blues U20 in a 5-0 preseason win over Pelicans. He displayed offensive prowess in the first period and made one clever wraparound scoring attempt. He used his stick really well and backchecked effectively to close gaps and apply pressure throughout the game. Siikanen’s skating looked quicker than in the past season, thanks to a more smooth and efficient stride. However, his first few steps, agility and footwork still require work. He turned the puck occasionally over in bad spots, would have liked to see more composure and confidence with the puck.
What Can We Expect?:
Siikanen is a seventh round pick, so of course expectations should be tempered. That said, he’s becoming an impact player at the Junior A SM-liiga level and that is a great sign. If he’s able to keep a point-per-game or better pace during the season, that should be considered a very successful campaign for the Finn.
Perhaps a call to the SM-liiga will be in order as well, which would be even better. The plan for this player should be to dominate the junior level this season and then make the transition to playing against men as a 19-year old next fall. Siikanen successfully accomplishing that would put him on the radar as a prospect worth following for Oiler observers.
Back to this season, maintaining status as an impact forward at the Junior A SM-liiga level absolutely should be the goal. Judging by his early returns at that level, that might not be asking too much.