The Montreal Canadiens added another talented Finnish national to their organization on Tuesday morning, signing 22-year-old Otto Leskinen to an entry-level contract. Leskinen was a free agent coming off of a career season in Finland’s top league, the Liiga. Leskinen, a native of Pieksämäki, Finland, played for KalPa this season where he contributed to a Spengler Cup championship.
Leskinen finished the 2018-2019 season tied in seventh place amongst defensemen in scoring. In 57 games, Leskinen scored eight goals and added 23 assists, making for a total of 31 points registered. His previous career high in points was 13 recorded in 53 games. Leskinen has spent four seasons in the Liiga where he has combined for 55 points in 178 games played.
Leskinen went undrafted to the NHL back in 2018, but has impressed management enough to earn him a two-year entry-level contract with the Canadiens. Since then, he has participated in development camp in Brossard while he was considered to be one of the top European free agent defenders on the market.
Leskinen was the highest scoring defender on KalPa’s active roster this season while he also finished the year as the fourth highest scorer on the team. Leskinen adds depth to the Habs defence which is arguably the biggest positional weakness in the organization.
Leskinen is an average sized defender who can be a strong offensive presence. He is not an overly physical player and his defensive game does need some improvement, however, that goes without saying it is nothing he cannot fix. As many have cited about Leskinen’s skillset, it’s his offensive talents that are best viewed. Leskinen possesses a good shot and does a good job putting pucks on net as well.
He is a strong skater who is quick to join the rush while he can handle large amounts of ice time as he averaged 21:52 of ice time throughout the season. Leskinen will likely start the 2019-20 season in the AHL, but will have a chance to make Montreal’s roster if he can continue to build off of his successful campaign back home.