Montreal Canadiens: Joni Ikonen Scores First Goal In Two Years

DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 02: Joni Ikonen
DETROIT, MI - AUGUST 02: Joni Ikonen /

Montreal Canadiens prospect Joni Ikonen has been through a lot in the past two years.

The once highly regarded prospect has more or less fallen off the radar, and it’s because he has barely played hockey in the past two years.

The Finnish forward has battled a series of knee injuries that ended his 2018-19 season early and forced him to miss the entire 2019-20 campaign. He missed the start of this season as well, but finally was able to play a game last weekend.

His injuries started at an awful time as the then 19 year old was just finding his stride in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league. He had scored ten points in his last 11 games, but he was then out of the lineup with knee injuries from February 22, 2019 to January 23, 2021, finally being able to return to play for Ilves last week.

Having not score a goal since February 15, 2019, Ikonen was able to find the back of the net for the first time in about 100 weeks when he scored Friday night.

The 5’11” winger was a promising prospect a couple years ago. He was drafted in the second round of the 2017 NHL Draft and played at the World Juniors as an 18 year old. He has a great shot and could beat goaltenders from a long distance, scoring at nearly a point per game pace as a 19 year old back in 2018-19.

It will obviously take a lot of time for Ikonen to feel comfortable on the ice again and he may never return to the player he was when the injuries began. Ikonen has played three games in Liiga so far this season and is averaging just over 13 minutes per game playing on the fourth line.

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Once he has some time to adjust, it will be interesting to see how much offence he can provide. The once forgotten prospect is healthy for the first time in 23 months, and could re-establish plenty of value in a short time if he shows some flashes of skill and scoring like we saw in years gone by.