Montreal Canadiens Forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi was loaned to Pori Assat of Finland’s elite league La Liiga on October 16. He played 10 games during this period.
Due to the end of the NHL season in early October and the absence of on-site hockey for at least several months, several players have been loaned to Europe to secure pre-camp playing time. ‘coaching. With the NHL’s expectation and hope that the 2021-22 regular season can begin in early January, many of those loans are now coming to an end.
One example is the young Montreal Canadiens forward Jesperi Kotkaniemi who spent time in his hometown of Pori, Finland, with the team he played for before being drafted third in the 2018 NHL Draft.
From the video analyzes, it wasn’t the 20-year-old’s most impressive, which was probably due to the need for a period of adaptation; However, there were glimpses of his return and signs of what would have been a promising period in La Liiga had the loan not ended.
Nonetheless, we have both positives and negatives associated with Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s loan that are worth a closer look.
How did Jesperi Kotkaniemi fare while on loan to Porin Assat?
In 10 games played for Porin Assat, Jesperi Kotkaniemi has participated in 10 games and during that period the Montreal Canadiens forward has registered 2 goals and 6 assists for a total of 8 points. At first glance, it looks like the forward was not far from becoming a point per game player. While this was an impressive feat, it wasn’t smooth along the way.
In his first four games played, Jesperi Kotkaniemi would end October without registering a single point. Although he did not find his name on the scoresheet, he played an effective game from center position with a face-off of at least 50 percent. Likewise, as these matches progressed, Kotkaniemi started to complete most of his passes. At that time, it was hard to see the non points coming at any given time.
November would see an improvement for one of the Montreal Canadiens’ youngest players. Against JYP Jyväskylä, Jesperi Kotkaniemi received his first assist. The following match against Hämeenlinnan Pallokerho, Kotkaniemi recorded two more assists.
It appeared that at this point Kotkaniemi’s fleeting success was starting to bear fruit. Excluding clashes against Lukko and Lahti Pelicans, that would hold true as Jesperi Kotkaniemi would go on to record three assists in his last two games.
While Kotkaniemi’s play didn’t translate to the two-game scorecard, his game against the Pelicans will prove to be one of the best on his loan from the Montreal Canadiens. It was not until November 18 that Jesperi Kotkaniemi found his place in the goals scored column.
His first goal would be accompanied by a second as Kotkaniemi would score while Assat was shorthanded. Likewise, this match would prove to be good looking at Kotkaniemi’s underlying numbers as he completed his 14 assists and 8/14 faceoffs (57%). Unfortunately for Assat, it would prove to be another loss as they lost 5-3 to the Pelicans.
Was this loan successful?
One question that is on everyone’s mind is whether Jesperi Kotkaniemi did enough to make his loan to the Montreal Canadiens considered a success. Although he recorded 8 points in 10 games played, there have been instances where he has been unable to stand out among his teammates, which many expected given his two seasons in the NHL.
However, those 8 points came in the span of 6 games, which showed the young striker to improve and adapt to European ice. This raises the question of whether it was the right time to end the loan when there is still no specific date for the NHL’s resumption.
As Jesperi Kotkaniemi began to ramp up his intensity, his loan was cut short. Considering there is no specific date and the prospect of a January start date is wishful thinking, it’s hard to see training camp begin as well. If he had spent a bit more time playing for Assat, we got a more definitive answer as to whether Kotkaniemi’s loan was a success.
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As it stands, this was more of an opportunity to get rid of the rust than anything else, but with no NHL hockey in sight, being called back so early may have it. -be rendered useless.