NYI FUTURE WATCH: JESSE JOENSUU
By Jason Lockhart
Jesse Joensuu is a big kid -- 6-4 -- but his size doesn't detract from his skating. His strength makes him effective along the boards and adaptable to the North American style of physical play. He's been a boy among men while playing in the Finnish Elite League and has more than held his own.
The Pori, Finnish native, who was drafted in the second round (60th overall) of the 2006 Entry Draft, had to wait a little longer to get drafted than he was hoping because he missed the cutoff of the 2005 Entry Draft by less than one month. The extra year, however, gave Joensuu a chance to continue his growth in the Finnish Elite League, where he was the youngest player during the 2004-2005 season.
Islanders Finnish scout Vellu Kautonen speaks highly of the left-handed shooting forward who is considered by many scouts to be "a can't miss" prospect. Kautonen emphasizes how mature he is for his age, despite only being 18. Joensuu has played in the Finnish Elite League for two seasons and participated in two World Junior Championships. We sat down with Joensuu, who discussed the following topics.
On his Draft Day Experience:
"I had a late birthday in 1987, so I had to wait a year longer than most. After 40 names at this year's draft, I was starting to get nervous, so it was a relief when I finally heard my name. It was exciting to shake the hands at the Islanders table with guys like Ted Nolan and Vellu Kautonen who scouted me."
On his strengths:
"I have good size, but can still skate with speed. I like to go one-on-one with the defense. I try to play like Eric Staal and my countryman Olli Jokinen because they are both good power forwards and they also have leadership qualities."
On what he needs to work:
"I would like to gain some more strength over the next couple of years. With the new NHL all about speed I would like to get faster. The most important part of skating is the acceleration, so I would like to get quicker feet. Playing a lot in the Finnish Elite League will help."
On his trip to Long Island:
"I have been to New York City before, but never Long Island. I like it here. There are much more people here than in Finland, but I could get used to the size and of course the fans."
On his goals:
"When I go back to Finland, I would like to stay in the Finnish Elite League. I'm happy up there. I get to play with a lot of older guys and learn a lot from them. I'm hoping to be a first or second line guy in the Finnish League, be an important part of my team and get better."
The Joensuu File
Favorite superpower: Teleporting
Green Day or Eminem? Eminem
All-time Favorite Islander: Janne Niinimaa
Favorite sports other than hockey: Tennis and Rugby
If you didn't play hockey what profession would you pursue? Teaching
Favorite European City (not in Finland): Budapest
Superman or Batman? Batman
Steak or Lobster? Steak
Born: October 5, 1987 -- Pori, Finland
Height: 6-4 -- Weight: 207 -- Shoots: Left
Drafted by the Islanders in the second round (60th overall) in the 2006 NHL Entry Draft
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