Santeri Saari
Image: Jokerit

Santeri Saari

Hometown:

Helsinki Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1994-10-18

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2013

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

2013

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

6th round (173rd overall), 2013

Weight:

191 lbs.

Probability of Success
  • D

History

2009-10: Santeri Saari played one game for Jokerit’s U18 team and was part of the U16 team that won the Finnish championship. He had no points or penalty minutes in his only U18 game. Saari scored 3 goals with 14 assists in 31 regular season games and had 5 assists in 12 U16 playoff games.

2010-11: Saari played three games for Jokerit’s U20 team as a 16-year old, spending most of the season with the club’s U18 squad, and played for Finland’s U17 team in the 2011 Europe Youth Olympic Festival and World Hockey Challenge tournaments. He was +1 with no points and 2 penalty minutes in U20 play. Saari had 1 assist with 24 penalty minutes in 14 regular season games for the Jokerit U18 team and had 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. Skating in eight U17 games for Finland he had no points nor penalty minutes.

2011-12: Saari played 13 games for Jokerit in Finland’s U20 SM-Liiga and was one of the top scorers from his defense spot with the club’s U18 team. He had 2 goals and 2 assists and was +1 with 10 penalty minutes in U20 play. Saari scored 7 goals with 17 assists in 33 games for the Jokerit U18 team. Jokerit captured the U18 championship. Saari scored 3 goals with 2 assists and had 2 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. He skated in 11 games for Finland’s U20 and U18 teams but did not participate in the World Junior Championships at either level.

2012-13: Saari made his SM-Liiga debut, appearing in two games for Jokerit, and played in Finland’s second league, Mestis, with Kiekko-Vantaa. He played most of the season with the Jokerit U20 team. He was +1 with no points nor penalty minutes, averaging 11:37 minutes of ice time in his two games for Jokerit. He had no points and was +1 with 6 penalty minutes in seven games for Kiekko-Vantaa. Saari was the third-leading scorer for Jokerit’s U20 team, scoring 5 goals with a team-high 18 assists in 46 games, and was -5 with 34 penalty minutes. Jokerit finished 12th in the 16-team U20 SM-Liiga. Ranked 116th amongst European skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings Saari was selected by St. Louis in the sixth round (173rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Draft.

2013-14: Saari played 25 games for Kiekko-Vantaa on loan to the Mestis club from Jokerit and skated for the Jokerit U20 team. He scored 1 goal and was plus-2 with 12 penalty minutes in Mestis play. In seven games for the Jokerit U20 team he scored 1 goal with 5 assists and was minus-5 with four penalty minutes. Saari played five games with the Finland U20 team, finishing with no points and 4 penalty minutes, but was not part of the gold medal-winning team in Stockholm. 

2014-15: Saari played for four different clubs in three countries in his first full season of pro hockey. Beginning the year with Jokerit as the club made the move from Liiga to the KHL, he skated in nine games and was -2 with 1 goal and 6 penalty minutes. Saari was loaned to HPK in Liiga in Finland and in 13 games he scored 2 goals with 1 assist and was -4 with 4 penalty minutes. He played one game with Kiekko-Vantaa in Mestis and also played in Sweden — skating for Bofors IK in Allsvenskan. In 18 games he was -8 with 5 assists and 12 penalty minutes. 

2015-16: Saari played for HPK Hameenlinna in Liiga in his second pro season. In 45 games he scored 3 goals with 6 assists and was -9 with 12 penalty minutes. HPK finished 13th in the 15-team league, missing the playoffs.

Talent Analysis

Saari is a tall defenseman who moves well for his size and is strong on his skates. He understands the game well and is strong at making a first-pass to start the transition. His shot is average but he plays well in all three zones and is willing to join the offensive rush. He is still developing but has a nice all-around game.

Future

Saari was loaned to HPK Hameenlinna in Liiga by KHL club Jokerit in 2015-16. Playing on the third pairing for one of the league's weaker clubs he made steady progress but is still a project. Saari's potential is that of a lower pairing defensemen with some offensive elements to his game. He he has yet to sign an entry-level contract with the Blues and could spend his entire career in Europe.

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