The Checkers added yet more forward depth on the eve of their first Calder Cup Playoff game, with junior forward Janne Kuokannen the latest to arrive.
Kuokkanen, 18, completed his junior season on Tuesday when his London Knights team suffered a Game 7 overtime loss to the Erie Otters in the second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs. The Hurricanes’ second-round draft choice (43rd overall) in 2016, Kuokkanen is eligible to play for the Checkers in the AHL Calder Cup Playoffs beginning with Game 1 against the Chicago Wolves on Thursday.
A 6-foot-1, 188-pound native of Oulunsalo, Finland, Kuokkanen (full name pronounced YAH-nee KWOH-kuh-nehn) ranked fourth amongst Knights skaters with 62 points (26g, 36a) in 60 games over the course of his first North American season. In the playoffs, he led the team and is tied for first among OHL skaters with 10 goals, while his 16 points also led the team and are tied for second in the league.
Prior to joining the Knights this season, Kuokannen totaled 68 points (25g, 43a) in 82 career games with Karpat Jr. in the Finnish junior league. He has represented Finland in several international tournaments including the 2017 World Junior Championship.
Should the Checkers have a completely healthy lineup for Game 1 – Kris Newbury (flu) and Erik Karlsson (upper body) were the only players who did not practice fully on Wednesday – the Checkers could have as many as 18 forwards available, including Kuokkanen.