The Montreal Canadiens have inked one of their most interesting prospects, agreeing to terms with Jesse Ylonen on a three-year entry-level contract. Ylonen had previously been loaned to the Laval Rocket but failed to play in a single AHL game before the season was suspended. He spent the earlier portion of the season with the Lahti Pelicans of Finland’s top league.
Ylonen, 20, actually could have an outside shot at making the Canadiens next season if he proves his overseas experience has prepared him for the North American professional ranks. Selected 35th overall in 2018, he’s quickly shot up prospect rankings with his strong play in Finland and at the World Juniors in 2019 where he helped bring home the gold medal.
With Cole Caufield returning to college for another year, Ylonen should receive every opportunity to star as a key prospect for the Canadiens, even if it is at the AHL level to start. Nick Suzuki successfully made the jump to the NHL last season, but it’s not always so easy—just ask Jesperi Kotkaniemi, who was sent back to the AHL to continue his development.
Speaking of Kotkaniemi, he did play on some of the same tournament teams as Ylonen in the past and it will be interesting to see if the two ever get a chance to play together for the Canadiens.