New York Rangers draft Leevi Aaltonen

New York Rangers draft Leevi Aaltonen

By: New York Rangers @NYRangers

During the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, which was held at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia on Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, the Rangers selected eight players. With their eight picks in the Draft, the Blueshirts selected five forwards and three defensemen.

The Blueshirts used their fifth-round pick (130th overall) to select forward Leevi Aaltonen. Aaltonen, 18, skated in 29 games with KalPa’s U20 team in Jr. A SM-liiga this past season, registering 12 goals and 24 assists for 36 points, along with a plus-nine rating and 28 penalty minutes. Among players in their U18 season or younger in Jr. A SM-liiga, he ranked third in points per game (1.24) in 2018-19. Aaltonen also recorded three points (one goal, two assists) in six playoff games during the season. He tallied one assist in seven games with KalPa in Liiga during the past season, and he was one of 12 players in their U18 season or younger who notched at least one point in Liiga in 2018-19.

The 5-9, 177-pounder has played in KalPa’s organization for four seasons (2015-16 – 2018-19). Aaltonen helped KalPa’s U20 team win the Jr. A SM-liiga Championship in 2017-18 and KalPa’s U18 team win the Jr. B SM-sarja Championship in 2016-17. In 2015-16, Aaltonen won the Timo Jutila Award as the Jr. C SM-sarja (Finland’s U16 league) Rookie of the Year, and he led the league in points during the season (70; 26 goals and 44 assists in 27 games).

Internationally, the Mikkeli, Finland native has represented his country in several tournaments. Most recently, Aaltonen registered five points (one goal, four assists) and a plus-four rating in five games while representing Finland at the 2019 IIHF U18 World Championship. He led Finland in assists and tied for the team lead in points in the tournament. Aaltonen recorded two assists in five games at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and he also registered five points (three goals, two assists) in four games at the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament. He helped Finland win a gold medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship, as he tallied two goals and posted a plus-two rating in seven games during the tournament. In addition, Aaltonen was teammates with Kaapo Kakko at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship.

Entering the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Aaltonen was ranked No. 29 on NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of European skaters eligible for this year’s Draft.