Saku Salminen
Image: Jokerit

Saku Salminen

Hometown:

Helsinki Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1994-10-20

Position:

C

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2013

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

7th round (184th overall), 2013

Weight:

187 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream
History

2009-10: Saku Salminen skated for the HIFK U18 and U16 teams in Finland and played eight games for Finland’s U16 team. Playing for HIFK’s gold medal-winning U18 team he scored 8 goals with 10 assists and had 22 penalty minutes in 25 games. He scored 4 goals with 1 assist and 2 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. Salminen played 15 games for HIFK’s U16 squad, including six playoff games, and scored 12 goals with 15 assists and 58 penalty minutes. He had 1 goal and 6 penalty minutes skating for Finland’s U16 team.

2010-11: Salminen played 13 games for HIFK in Finland’s U20 SM-Liiga as a 16-year-old and was with the club’s U18 team. He scored 2 goals with 2 assists and was +2 with 2 penalty minutes for the U20 team. In 16 games with HIFK’s U18 team he scored 7 goals with 9 assists and 30 penalty minutes and had 1 assist and 6 penalty minutes in four playoff games. Salminen played for Finland’s U17 team; scoring 1 goal in three games at the 2011 Europe Youth Olympic Festival and scoring 5 goals with 4 assists in 14 international games.

2011-12: Salminen went from HIFK to crosstown Helsinki rival Jokerit and represented Finland in the 2012 U18 World Junior Championship. Playing for Jokerit’s U20 team he scored 9 goals with 17 assists in 44 games and was +11 with 16 penalty minutes. Jokerit lost to HIFK in the U20 SM-Liiga finals and Salminen had 1 assist and was +1 with 2 penalty minutes in 12 playoff games. He played four games with Jokerit’s U18 team and had 1 goal with 1 assist and 4 penalty minutes. In seven games at the U18 WJC he had 5 assists and was +1. Finland advanced to the bronze medal game, falling to Canada.

2012-13: Salminen made his pro hockey debut, skating for Jokerit in the SM-Liiga and Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis, and played for Finland’s U20 team at the 2013 U20 World Junior Championship. Salminen opened the season with Jokerit, skating in 12 games before being loaned to Kiekko-Vantaa, and also appeared in one SM-Liiga game in December. He scored 1 goal with 1 assist and had an even plus/minus with 12 penalty minutes; averaging 10:44 minutes of ice time in 13 SM-Liiga games. In 16 games for Kiekko-Vantaa, including four games in the relegation playoffs to avoid demotion, Salminen scored 2 goals with 9 assists and was +7 with 2 penalty minutes. Playing in a lower line, checking role for Finland at the WJC, he was -1 with no points in six games. Salminen was ranked 74th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings and was selected by Tampa Bay in the seventh round (184th overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

2013-14: Salminen skated in 13 games for Kiekko-Vantaa in Finland’s second league, Mestis, missing most of the season after suffering a knee injury in October. He had 2 assists and was -7 with 16 penalty minutes. Salminen returned at the end of the season to play for Jokerit’s U20 team in the A juniors playoffs, scoring 1 goal with 2 assists and finishing -3 with 2 penalty minutes in four games. 

2014-15: Salminen was loaned to Liiga club HPK Hameenlinna by Jokerit, which left the league to play in Russia’s KHL. In 36 games he scored 5 goals with 8 assists and had an even plus/minus with 4 penalty minutes. HPK finished 11th in the 14-team league, 12 points behind Ilves for the final playoff spot. 

Talent Analysis

Salminen has the prototypical size of a power forward and skates well for a player his size. His development was slowed by a knee injury, which kept him out almost all of the 2013-14 season. He does not play an overly abrasive style for a player his size and is not a pure goal scorer. He is still developing as a prospect at this point.

Future

Salminen had a solid if nondescript first pro season as a 20-year-old skating in Finland's Liiga in 2014-15. In terms of his NHL status, he has yet to sign an entry-level contract with Tampa Bay and would re-enter the 2015 NHL Draft if not signed by the Lightning before then. Salminen has one year remaining on his contract with Jokerit and will attempt to crack the KHL club's lineup in 2015-16. Long-term he has some potential as a lower line, two-way forward but he is still very raw as a prospect at this stage in his development.

Aho, Hintz among top NHL properties competing in Finland in 2015-16

by Tony Piscotta
on
Sebastian Aho - Karpat Oulu - Champions Hockey League Round Of 32

Photo: Karpat Oulu forward and Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sebastian Aho (#16) turned in a strong 2015-16 season, winning gold at the U20 World Junior Championship and finishing among the top scorers in Liiga (courtesy of Karpat Oulu/Champions Hockey League via Getty Images)

 

 

If there was a theme to the season in Liiga in 2015-16 it can best be described by the old adage, “Youth shall be served.”

Much of the attention focused on 17-year-olds Patrik Laine and Jesse Puljujarvi — who barring any major surprises will be among the top three players picked in the 2016 NHL Draft. In terms of drafted forward prospects, three of their teammates on the gold medal champion U20 team also had big seasons and could be signing NHL contracts in the near future. Read more»

Tampa Bay Lightning has thin selection of NCAA and European prospects

by Chris Roberts
on
Photo: Junior Johnathan MacLeod had a minus-4 rating this season, but he remains a top defensive prospect for the Lightning. (Courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

Photo: Junior Johnathan MacLeod had a minus-4 rating this season, but he remains a top defensive prospect for the Lightning. (Courtesy of Richard T Gagnon/Getty Images)

 

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning have primarily gone to the CHL in making draft selections over the past two drafts. 12 of the team’s 16 picks were taken from the top junior league in Canada, two were drafted out of Europe (though one is now playing in the CHL) and while the other two players, Kris Oldham and Ryan Zuhlsdorf, had commitments to NCAA schools, so they will not join the collegiate ranks until next season.
Read more»

Lightning pipeline loaded with talent at AHL and major junior levels

by Chris Roberts
on
Photo: Since the Brayden Point was selected 79th overall by the Lightning, he has grown into one of the WHL’s premiere talents. (Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

Photo: Since the Brayden Point was selected 79th overall by the Lightning, he has grown into one of the WHL’s premiere talents. (Courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

The Tampa Bay Lightning‘s prospect pool has maintained good health despite the continual graduation of top-notch prospects. A number of close-to-ready prospects played small roles with the team last season, while others like Nikita Kucherov and Ondrej Palat emerged as top-six forwards. Players like Vladislav Namestnikov and Nikita Nesterov, still considered prospects, are expected to make the leap this season, but there’s still quality and quantity at other levels. Read more»

2015-16 KHL Prospect Preview: Buchnevich, Samsonov among notable NHL draftees in Russia

by Alessandro Seren Rosso
on
Pavel Buchnevich - Team Russia

Photo: Severstal Cherepovets forward and New York Rangers prospect Pavel Buchnevich produced 13 goals and 30 points in 48 KHL games in 2014-15 (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

 

 

The eighth KHL season has begun as this year, the league’s first game – the Opening Cup game between SKA St. Petersburg and CSKA Moscow – took place on August 24th. The reason for the early start is that the 2016 IIHF World Championship will be held in Russia, and therefore the league will need to finish a bit earlier than usual to accommodate the international competition. Read more»

Kapanen the best NHL-affiliated forward prospect coming out of Finland’s Liiga

by Tony Piscotta
on
Kasperi Kapanen - Pittsburgh Penguins

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins forward prospect Kasperi Kapanen had a somewhat disappointing 2014-15 season in Finland’s Liiga but finished well competing for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in the AHL playoffs (courtesy of Justin Berl/Icon Sportswire)

 

 

Liiga has steadily seen some of the top young forward prospects in Finland head elsewhere rather than pursuing careers in the nation’s top domestic pro league. That happened once again in 2014-15 as two of the heroes from the 2014 World Juniors — KalPa Kuopio left wing Artturi Lehkonen (Montreal) and Teuvo Teravainen (Chicago), Liiga’s sixth-leading scorer skating for Jokerit in 2013-14 — are no longer playing in Finland. Read more»

Related Articles