It seems every few weeks the Montreal Canadiens get bad news on the injury front, and this time it’s top prospect Joni Ikonen. The team announced today that Ikonen underwent surgery on his right knee on Monday, and is expected to be out six months. The surgery was performed in Finland, but Ikonen will come to Montreal later this month for a rehab program.
Ikonen, 19, was selected in the second round last summer and played this year for KalPa in Finland. Scoring 14 points in 52 games—a relatively high total given his youth and role on the team—he also joined the Finnish World Junior team where he recorded a pair of points. There was consideration that he could make the jump to the AHL next season, but with an injury of this magnitude one might think another year in Europe is in order.
There is considerable talent in Ikonen, who has shown a knack for getting the puck to teammates in dangerous situations. The Canadiens desperately need help down the middle, and the young Ikonen does have considerable experience at center. If he can develop into the crafty playmaking option the team expects, he’ll help them fill out a glaring need in the organization. Hopefully he’ll be back in time for the next World Junior tournament, where he could play a larger role.