2007-08: Jere Sallinen made a name for himself as a 17-year-old – appearing in six SM-Liiga games with Espoo Blues, scoring 11 goals with 19 assists and 94 penalty minutes in 20 games for the Blues U20 team and playing for Finland’s U18 team at the 2008 World Junior Championship. Sallinen had no points and had an even plus/minus with 2 penalty minutes in limited ice time for Espoo’s men’s team. He scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was +2 with 31 penalty minutes in six games for Finland.
2008-09: Sallinen saw his season come to an ending after just nine games with the Espoo Blues U20 team after he suffered a back injury that required season-ending surgery. An assistant captain, he had 1 goal with 2 assists and 31 penalty minutes before going down with the injury. Ranked 77th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings, he was selected by the Minnesota Wild in the sixth round (163rd overall) in the 2009 NHL Draft.
2009-10: Sallinen had a season of highs and lows in his first SM-Liiga season with Espoo Blues. Playing on a team with his older brother Tomi Sallinen, his biggest moment came in the playoffs when he assisted on Tomi’s game-winning goal against Karpat in triple overtime; one of two points he had in three playoff games. Jere Sallinen scored 5 goals with 6 assists and was -4 with 18 penalty minutes in 38 regular season games. On the downside he played for Finland in the 2010 World Junior Championship but appeared in just two games — suffering an injury when he was checked from behind that kept him out of the rest of the tournament.
2010-11: Sallinen struggled to crack a veteran lineup for Espoo Blues in his second SM-Liiga season and skated for Espoo’s U20 team in the A juniors playoffs. He scored 6 goals with 8 assists and was +5 with 28 penalty minutes in 55 regular season games. After finishing ninth in the regular season the Blues made an unlikely run to the Kanada Cup finals against third-place HIFK. A healthy scratch to start the playoffs, Sallinen appeared in 11 playoff games and was +2 with 1 goal and 10 penalty minutes. He scored 5 goals and was +3 with 4 penalty minutes for the Espoo Blues U20 team in three A juniors playoff games. Sallinen was not signed by the Wild and re-entered the 2011 NHL Draft but was not selected.
2011-12: Sallinen split the year between the re-christened Liiga and second division Mestis in his third pro season. In 21 games for Espoo Blues he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and was -2 with 39 penalty minutes. He finished the season on loan to 13th-place HPK Hameenlinna, scoring 1 goal with 2 assists, 2 penalty minutes and a -3 plus/minus. Sallinen skated in 15 games with Jokipojat Joensuu in Mestis. He scored 4 goals with 5 assists and was +6 with 4 penalty minutes skating for the River Boys.
2012-13: Sallinen had a breakout season playing for surprising HPK in his fourth Liiga season. One of the league’s big turnaround stories, HPK finished sixth and reached the playoff quarterfinals. Sallinen was the club’s second-leading scorer in the regular season behind veteran Ville Viitaluoma. He scored 15 goals with 27 assists and was +26 with 30 penalty minutes in a career-high 57 regular season games. In five playoff games he scored 1 goal with 1 assist and was -3 with 6 penalty minutes. Sallinen made his first appearance with the Finland men’s national team — skating in five games during the Europe Hockey Trophy tournament.
2013-14: Sallinen returned to Hameenlinna for his second season with HPK and finished the year playing for Orebro HK in Sweden’s SHL. He played for Finland’s men’s team in the Europe Hockey Trophy and 2014 World Championship tournaments. Sallinen scored 5 goals with 14 assists and was +5 with 88 penalty minutes in 51 Liiga regular season games. HPK finished 10th, securing the final spot in the “pity playoffs” and reaching the quarterfinals. Sallinen was with Orebro to finish the season, scoring 2 goals with 1 assist in six regular season games and adding 4 goals with 3 assists in 10 games in the Kval Series. He signed a two-year contract to play for Jokerit in the KHL in April 2014. Sallinen was -1 with no points and 4 penalty minutes in nine games for Finland during the World Championship.
2014-15: Sallinen skated in 48 regular season games for Jokerit Helsinki in his first KHL season. He scored 8 goals with 7 assists and was +4 with 28 penalty minutes, averaging 11:44 minutes of ice time. Competing in the Russian league for the first time, the Finnish club finished second in the Bobrov Division and reached the second round in the playoffs. Sallinen scored 1 goal with 3 assists and was -2 with 6 penalty minutes, averaging 13 minutes of ice time in 10 playoff games.
2015-16: Sallinen skated in 50 of 60 regular season games for Jokerit in his second KHL season, chipping in offensively and leading the club with 79 penalty minutes. he scored 8 goals with 11 assists and was +8, averaging 15 minutes of ice time in the regular season. Jokerit finished first in the Bobrov Division, falling to Torpedo in a quarterfinal playoff series. Sallinen was -6 with no points and 8 penalty minutes, averaging 17:15 minutes of ice time in six playoff games. He signed a one-year two-way contract with the Edmonton Oilers in March 2016.
Sallinen is a big-bodied forward with some hard elements to his game. He has some stick handling skill and skates well for a player his size but can take unnecessary penalties. His game could be a better fit in North America than in the KHL. Serious injuries early in his career hampered his progress but he appears to have put them in the past.
Sallinen will make his debut in North America in 2016-17 after signing a one-year contract with the Edmonton Oilers. His combination of size, skill and physical play could provide a much needed commodity in Edmonton but he is equally likely to spend the year in the AHL.