Jesperi Kotkaniemi



Birthdate: 2000-07-06
Birthplace: Pori, Finland
Shoots: Left
Height: 6′-2″
Weight: 201 lbs
NHL Draft: 2018 | Round 1 | 3rd overall
Waivers Eligibility: 2023-24 or 160 NHL GP


2018-19 $3,425,000 $2,500,000 $92,500 $832,500 $925,000 $70,000
2019-20 $3,425,000 $2,500,000 $92,500 $832,500 $925,000 $70,000
2020-21 $3,425,000 $2,500,000 $92,500 $832,500 $925,000 $70,000
2021-22 RFA

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Jesperi Kotkaniemi’s Elite Prospects Stats Page




“His vision, playmaking. He can make plays in traffic. He thinks the game so quick and has such quick hands. And, he’s not just an offensive guy. He can play defense, too. He also likes the physical game,” – Hannu Laine, Montreal Canadiens Finnish scout (

“A smart forward with a dangerous shot, Kotkaniemi possesses a high hockey IQ and determination with the skills to back it up. Positions himself well and often seems to be a step ahead of plays. Stickhandling and creativity allow him to split professional defences as a teenager. Decent size and frame, yet a very capable skater.” – Matias Strozyk (Elite Prospects)

“The big-bodied forward used his size as an advantage as well while protecting the puck…His skating has also improved significantly, and while it isn’t elite, it certainly won’t become a problem for him either. He also has good work ethic and doesn’t cheat on defence. All in all, a very good modern centermen with very few weaknesses.” – Miika Arponen (FinnProspects)

“While Kotkaniemi makes impressive dangles, his game is not based on flashiness. He has high work ethic and he is pretty much always the first forward who comes to help defenders. He plays solid defensive game, backchecks well and he often got the puck at the own end. He isn’t afraid to go to the dirty areas either and there is a fair share of physicality in his game already.” – Asko Huuki (FinnProspects)

“Alert and versatile forward with good speed and a wide range of attributes who has performed well beyond expectations as a 17-year-old playing key minutes in Finland’s top league. Kotkaniemi comes across as a smart, clean player with or without the puck and can play either center or wing. He is used on the penalty kill and in late-game situations, showing defensive prowess regardless of the job he’s assigned. He has a nose for sniffing out opposing intentions, and his quick hands and keen vision can turn a run-of-the-mill enemy breakout into a quality chance for him or his mates. One skill that stands out is his playmaking ability — Kotkaniemi is quite creative with the puck and threads the needle with ease. Kotkaniemi is a central figure on the power play, where he likes to control the puck along the wall and look for backdoor cutters or point men open in the high slot. Although he comes across as a playmaker rather than a finisher, Kotkaniemi has an excellent shot/release combination and can corral a puck in traffic and still wire it on net. He makes up for an average first step with excellent awareness and anticipation, and he’s difficult to knock off the puck once he maintains control. Strong on his skates and heavily involved in puck battles, Kotkaniemi is highly reliable on odd-man rushes but also nimble enough to cut sharply across the grain and throw defenders into a state of confusion.” – Steve Kournianos (The Draft Analyst)