After four years of draft eligibility, the Jackets' 2015 seventh round draft pick, Finnish defenseman Markus Nutivaara has signed a two year entry level deal with the organization. My guess is because of his age, he signed to a lesser term, but it is good to see the Jackets lock up a young defenseman. The funny part is all this is another Finn is buying into Finnish general manager Jarmo Kekalainen's system.
Here is some scouting reports and stats on him:
Nutivaara, 21, was the 189th overall selection in last summer’s NHL Draft held at BB&T Center in Sunrise, Florida. He registered six goals and 16 assists for 22 points with 14 penalty minutes and a +10 plus/minus rating in 50 games with Kärpät in Finland’s top professional league, Liiga, during the 2015-16 regular season. He ranked second among club defensemen in goals (tied), assists and points (tied), while adding 1-4-5 and was +5 in seven postseason contests.
The Oulu, Finland native made his Liiga debut with Kärpät in 2014-15, collecting 0-2-2 with four penalty minutes and was +7 in 35 regular season games and helped the club capture the Liiga Championship with 1-5-6 in 16 playoff contests. That year, he also recorded 0-2-2 and two penalty minutes in two contests with Hokki in Mestis, Finland’s second-highest professional league and notched 2-6-8 and was +5 in seven games with Kärpät U20 (Jr. A. SM-liiga).
The 6-0, 185-pound blueliner represented Finland at the 2014 IIHF World Junior Championships, posting 0-1-1 with four penalty minutes and was +1 in three contests.
Per Hockey Future:
Nutivaara has blossomed into a skating defenseman with some playmaking ability in his second Liiga season after playing a carefully calculated game as a rookie in 2014-15. He does not get overly involved physically but has gained confidence as his role increased playing against men; building on his strong playoff run when Karpat captured the 2014-15 championship.
Nutivaara has gone from a late round reach pick to an intriguing prospect after a big season for Karpat as a 21-year-old in 2015-16. Drafted in his third year of draft eligibility, he has yet to sign a contract with a Blue Jackets' organization that is fairly deep in defense prospects. What makes him interesting is his combination of skating ability and playmaking which suggests he can be an effective second pairing defenseman.
What are your thoughts on the Finnish defenseman?
More to come…
Thanks to hockeyfuture.com and bluejackets.nhl.com