Since KHL contracts started expiring and free agency got underway there have been plenty of reports of NHL teams looking at Russian players that might fill their depth chart next season. The savvy ones will not forget that there are other professional leagues to pick from, and apparently one Finnish talent drawing interest from several teams. Aaron Portzline of The Athletic reports that the Columbus Blue Jackets are one of the NHL teams pursuing Oliwer Kaski, an undrafted defenseman who spent last season playing for the Lahti Pelicans of Finland’s Liiga.
If Kaski does sign with an NHL organization, it wouldn’t be the first time he plays hockey in North America. The right-handed defenseman spent parts of two seasons playing at Western Michigan University, but returned to Finland in 2016 and has played there ever since. While his first two years at the highest level weren’t spectacular, he exploded after a move to the Pelicans and recorded 51 points in 59 games this season.
The 23-year old defenseman would be held to the entry-level system, but could potentially compete for a spot in the NHL right away depending on how the team feels that offensive game translates to North America. It’s not clear what other teams are chasing him, but you can bet his impressive performance had scouts from all over the league turning their heads to get a better look.