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.

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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.

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