Niko Mikkola

Hometown:

Kiiminki Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1996-04-27

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-4

Acquired:

5th round (127th overall), 2015

Weight:

185 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2011-12: Niko Mikkola skated for the Karpat Oulu U16 team near his hometown of Kiiminki in northwest Finland. He had 1 assist with 14 penalty minutes in 32 regular season games and had no points nor penalties in two playoff games.

2012-13: Mikkola played for KalPa in Kuopio, skating in 12 games with the club’s top division U18 team. He had no points with 6 penalty minutes in SM-Sarja play.

2013-14: Mikkola stepped into a full-time role with the KalPa U18 team in his second season with the club. He scored 4 goals with 13 assists, amassing 103 minutes in penalties in 46 regular season games. In eight playoff games he had 2 assists with 6 penalty minutes.

2014-15: Mikkola made his pro debut in Finland, skating in 10 Liiga games for KalPa Kuopio and playing for bronze medal-winning Hokki Kajaani in Mestis during its playoff run. He was named the top defenseman for the KalPa U20 team. Mikkola was -1 with 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes for the KalPa men’s team. He scored his first professional goal and was -2 with 8 penalty minutes in five regular season games for Hokki and was -3 with 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes in seven Mestis playoff games. Mikkola scored 9 goals with 14 assists and was +7 with 80 penalty minutes in 37 games for the KalPa U20 team. In his second year of draft eligibility, Mikkola was ranked 110th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by St. Louis in the fifth round (127th overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

2015-16: Mikkola played in 58 games (including all three playoff games) for KalPa Kuopio in his first Liiga season. He was also part of the gold medal-winning Finland U20 team that hosted the 2016 World Junior Championship. Mikkola scored 3 goals with 6 and was -7 with 22 penalty minutes, averaging 17 minutes of ice time during the regular season. KalPa finished eighth, falling to ninth-place Pelicans in a best-of-three preliminary series. Mikkola was +2 with 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes, averaging 20 minutes of ice time in the series. He had 1 assist and was +3 with 6 penalty minutes in seven games for Finland at the WJC. Finland defeated Russia, 4-3 in overtime, in the gold medal game.

Talent Analysis

Mikkola is a big defenseman who plays at a high compete level and will block shots and do the things necessary to help his team win. His inability to change directions quickly and lack of skating speed can leave him vulnerable against fast forwards in open space. He has a hard shot from the point and is capable of generating an attack off of the transition.

Future

Mikkola skated in Finland's Liiga as a 19-year-old in 2015-16, appearing in 55 games for KalPa Kuopio, and was a part of the gold medal Finland U20 team at the 2016 World Junior Championship. He has yet to sign an entry-level contract with St. Louis and will likely return to KalPa for at least one more season before heading to North America. He projects as a solid, stay-at-home defender with the ability to support the play and create a transition with a strong first pass.

Several St. Louis Blues prospects have found success in Europe and NCAA hockey

by Suraj Sukumar
on
Mackenzie MacEachern - St. Louis Blues

Photo: St. Louis prospect Mackenzie MacEachern had three tough seasons in East Lansing, but the team’s leading scorer proved his skill and character (courtesy of Dave Reginek/Getty Images)

 

 

The St. Louis Blues have several European defensemen in the pipeline and a few are making a name for themselves in Europe. Finnish goaltender Ville Husso is certainly the biggest name in terms of talent in Europe but the Blues have never shied away from drafting international players. The team has had great success scouting various European leagues over its history, including 1978’s selection of Risto Siltanen, and 1995’s picks of Michal Handzus and Jochen Hecht. Not all their European picks have ended up playing for the Blues, but those that have recently (Jori Lehtera, Patrik Berglund, Dmitrij Jaskin, and Vladimir Tarasenko to name a few) are impact players in the NHL. Read more»

Plenty of players making a jump in St. Louis Blues Top 20 rankings

by Suraj Sukumar
on
Ivan Barbashev - St. Louis Blues

Photo: St. Louis Blues prospect Ivan Barbashev had just one point in February as part of the tough apprenticeship of becoming a pro (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

 

The St. Louis Blues prospect pool has seen some ups and downs over the past season but the positives have certainly made a difference for the NHL club. Robby Fabbri and Colton Parayko have been welcomed additions to the franchise and do not seem to be moving anytime soon. With their NHL careers taking off in style, both players have hit graduation, which has opened the door for other Blues prospects to move up the list. Read more»

Trio of U20 players among top NHL-drafted defensemen out of Finland

by Tony Piscotta
on
Sami Niku and Antti Kalapudas - Team Finland - 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship

Photo: JyP Jyvaskyla defenseman and Winnipeg Jets prospect Sami Niku (R) is one of a trio of defensive NHL prospects that competed for Finland in their gold medal run at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship (courtesy of MARKKU ULANDER/AFP/Getty Images)

 

 

The 2015 NHL Draft saw six defensemen from Finland selected for only the second time since the draft was reduced to seven rounds in 2004. Though none of those players were selected in the top two rounds — as current Pittsburgh Penguin Olli Maatta was in the 2012 draft class that was previously the largest — the 2015 draft class has increased the number of NHL-drafted defensemen playing in Liiga. This has helped to expand this list to a top 10 after listing just five players last year. Read more»

St. Louis Blues prospects making the most of NHL opportunity this season

by Suraj Sukumar
on
Joel Edmundson - St. Louis Blues

Photo: St. Louis Blues prospect Joel Edmundson has been an understated stabilizing presence in the lineup this season (courtesy of Scott Grau/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

The St. Louis Blues have had a few prospects at the NHL level due to their injuries woes this season. With significant time missed by Jake Allen, Patrik Berglund, Kevin Shattenkirk, Paul Stastny and Jaden Schwartz, the Blues have turned to some younger players. While some made the most of their limited opportunities, others have been impressing since the very start of the season. Colton Parayko has been the big story out of St. Louis this season and Joel Edmundson has been a welcomed addition to their defensive group.

Read more»

St. Louis Blues have positions of strength on display in the minors

by Suraj Sukumar
on
Ivan Barbashev - St. Louis Blues

Photo: St. Louis Blues prospect Ivan Barbashev scored 58 goals and 119 points last season in all his QMJHL action, and has been good and reasonably prolific as a rookie pro (courtesy of Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

The St. Louis Blues have a plethora of talented prospects and many of them play in the AHL. While a few have received NHL opportunities over the last year, others are still finding their footing at the ripe age of 21 or 22. The goaltending prospects are incredibly talented and the defensive group looks very promising. At forward, the Blues have plenty of big names on the prospect front but will be patient with their development. Several of these young players will benefit from larger opportunities which will likely happen at the minor league level.

Read more»