Today, it was announced that Mikko Kokkonen will join the Toronto Marlies on a tryout contract. He is due to fly to Toronto tomorrow and begin quarantine, and won’t necessarily miss a lot of time since the Marlies are also shut down right now due to COVID-19 protocols.
Before you get too excited, this will only be for the rest of this season, since Kokkonen’s team in Liiga have finished their season. The 20 year old Leafs’ prospect played top minutes for Jukurit, but they were one of the worst teams in the league. He had a single goal and 10 points this year.
This news comes the same day that Kokkonen was signed to a new two year contract with the Pelicans in the Liiga. They’re a better team than Jukurit has been, which likely means less of a role for Kokkonen but perhaps some better development. Some context here from a Finnish hockey writer:
Pelicans placed sixth in the regular season with a rather inexperienced roster and the team has done a very good job at bringing along and developing young talent this season under the new head coach Tommi Niemelä. These signings should benefit both the players and the team.— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) April 15, 2021
Before you ask — no, Tommi Niemelä does not appear to have any relation to the Leafs’ other Finnish defensive prospect, Topi Niemelä.