Saku Salminen
Image: Jokerit

Saku Salminen


Helsinki Finland

Currently Playing In:






Eligible for draft:









7th round (184th overall), 2013


187 lbs.

<<<<<<< Updated upstream

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.


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.

Lehkonen heads short list of drafted wingers playing in Finland

by Tony Piscotta

Artturi Lehkonen - Finland

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward and Montreal Canadiens prospect Artturi Lehkonen played on Finland’s top line at the 2014 World Junior Championship (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Like Sweden's SHL and the Czech and Slovak Extraligas, Finland's Liiga has been hit hard by the defection of top young players to the KHL for bigger contracts.

Read more»

Tampa Bay Lightning prospect pool filled with depth and skill at every position

by Chris Roberts

Richard Panik, Tyler Johnson, and Alex Killorn - Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo: Richard Panik (left), Tyler Johnson (center), and Alex Killorn (right) have been a crucial component of the Tampa Bay Lightning’s success in the 2013-14 NHL season. (courtesy of Mark LoMoglio/Icon SMI)

Armed with one of the top prospect pools in all of the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning are starting to reap the rewards of good drafting, particularly in the mid-rounds. In the past few years they have added high-ceiling players like Jonathan Drouin and Andrey Vasilevskiy in the first round, whom have been complemented nicely with former mid-round selections like Ondrej Palat, Radko Gudas, and Alex Killorn.

Read more»

Tampa Bay Lightning looking for a big 2013-14 season from several prospects

by Chris Roberts

J.T. Brown - Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo: Forward J.T. Brown is one of several Lightning prospects expected to have a strong 2013-14 season. (courtesy of Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman has done his due diligence through the NHL Draft over the past few years. Many of his first round picks, players such as Brett Connolly, Andrey Vasilevskiy, and Jonathan Drouin, all figure to be big components to the Lightning's success in the future. But it is his later-round picks and shrewd free agent signings that could make a more immediate impact for Tampa Bay.

Read more»

Tampa Bay Lightning 2013 draft review

by Jeff Terry

Jonathan Drouin - Tampa Bay Lightning

Photo: Forward Jonathan Drouin was selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning third overall in the 2013 NHL Draft. Drouin finished the 2012-13 season with 41 goals in 49 QMJHL games. (courtesy of Rich Graessle/Icon SMI)

Hardly any mock drafts had Seth Jones (NAS) slipping past the second overall pick. But when the Florida Panthers chose Aleksander Barkov, it left Tampa Bay general manager Steve Yzerman with an interesting choice to make – improve upon the organization's defensive prospects, or add another highly skilled forward to the mix.

Read more»

Finland 2013 draft review

by Tony Piscotta
Artturi Lehkonen - Montreal Canadiens

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward Artturi Lehkonen is expected to eventually bring some offensive skill to the team that drafted him, the Montreal Canadiens (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)


Forward Aleksander Barkov was the top-ranked prospect among skaters from Europe in the 2013 NHL Draft according to Central Scouting, so his being picked early in the draft did not come as a complete surprise.

Read more»