An American born winger with Finnish descent and the son of former NHLer Juha, Jesse Ylonen lands in the 44th ranked spot in 2018 CanucksArmy Draft Rankings.
Playing in the second tier of the Finnish leagues, Ylonen put up some decent numbers using his smart offensive skillset to give defenders fits. He may be a bit of a raw player that needs to add strength to make the NHL but there is a lot to like about his potential as a top-six forward.
Given his 1999 birthday, he was unable to represent Finland at the U18’s this April but he was fantastic in the 2017 iteration of the tournament, posting nine points in seven games.
- Age/Birthdate: 17.90/ October 3, 1999
- Birthplace: Scottsdale, AZ, USA
- Frame:6-foot-1/ 168 lbs
- Position: Right Wing
- Handedness: Right
- Draft Year Team: Espoo United(Mestis)
SeasonAwards by season
- Finland2 (Mestis) Bronze Medal
- Jr. B SM-sarja Silver Medal
- U18 WJC Silver Medal
Ylonen was selected by the Muskegon Lumberjacks in the 13th round of the 2017 USHL Entry Draft but chose to remain with Espoo United in Mestis (Finland 2nd division). He signed a contract with the Lahden Pelicans for the upcoming season which will allow us to see how he performs against the best players available in Finland.
Ylonen has been a regular for the Finnish national teams over the last few years and will almost certainly be considered for the World Juniors this upcoming winter.
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Since Ylonen played in the Mestis last season, we lack conclusive data and thus can’t apply that to our various draft analytical tools that are available.
Ylonen is a quick, energetic and skilled forward who strong on his edges. He has quick acceleration with active feet that allow him to create separation and speed. He can adjust his lanes on a dime while maintaining control of the puck. His ability to keep the puck on his stick is something that really stands out. Ylonen wants the puck on his stick and doesn’t want to give it up easily. The Scottsdale born winger has silky hands which he uses to dip and dangle the puck with ease.
He has a well rounded offensive game but is more of a shooter – which is a good thing as he is a quick and deceptive release that ellude goalies regularly. He shoots with volume but is smart with his chances. Despite being on the smaller side, in terms of weight, Ylonen is willing to get to the front of the net and get his hands dirty. As he adds more weight and strength, he will be more effective in this aspect. It’s good to see that despite lacking the weight now, he will go there. Ideally, he would do it more consistently though.
Ylonen’s read of the play is very strong and is quick with his decisions to find gaps in coverage for himself or his teammates.
Next year will be a good test for the winger – he will go up some of the best players in Finland after posting some really good numbers in the second division. Since he will be drafted out of Europe, the team that does select him will have his rights for four years. Which is perfect as it will allow him to improve his consistency and add the needed strength to make the leap to North America.
Ylonen has been a really good player against his peers in international tournaments and will be a player that will turn heads at the next World Juniors. His hockey IQ and offensive skills are electrifying and jump off the ice regularly.
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Ylonen is a slick- skating, dynamic offensive-minded forward…very smooth, fluid and explosive skater…he is agile, accelerates fast and has good top speed…is patience with the puck and waits for open lanes to set up scoring chances showing strong hockey IQ…balance and ability to angle his frame is a big asset in avoiding checks and maintaining possession…not afraid to go to the net and look for second chances, but shies away from any kind of physical punishment…has stretches where he flies around on the exterior of the rink, avoiding checks, looking for holes to penetrate to the center of the ice before making a play…a very strong puck carrier and feels comfortable with the play on his stick…possesses silky-smooth hands and can really dangle with the puck in and out of traffic…has great passing accuracy and distributes pucks in a timely and effective manner…he does need to bulk up and isn’t always effective in a physical style games but his speed and IQ is what sets him apart…he has top-six offensive upside at the NHL level.
Ylönen got his 14th goal of the season against Peliitat with a quick and precise shot that went through the five-hole. He is now the leading goal scorer in his team alongside with Aleksi Järvinen.
Ylönen is bit better player everytime I see him. He is now stronger than before and he has become a lot better in board battles. The forward has high hockey IQ and he already reads the pro game well. For the most part he is inside the game and he makes smart decisions constantly.
Skating is the most intriguing part of his game. The forward has above average top speed but his ability to accelerate quickly, change the direction and at the same keeping the puck with him is an excellent asset. With his skill set, Ylönen could very well be selected in the first round in the forthcoming NHL Draft.