By Mick Hatten
ST. CLOUD, Minn. — The St. Cloud State men’s hockey team has received a verbal commitment from a forward from Finland who is projected to go in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft.
Veeti Miettinen, who turns 18 on Sept. 20, told The Rink Live via text that he has committed to play for the Huskies.
Miettinen, who is listed at 5-foot-9 and 160 pounds, has played for the Finnish national teams at the Under-18 and Under-17 levels. In the 2019 at the IIHF U18 World Championships tournament held in April in Sweden, he had a goal and three assists and was a plus-2 in five games. In the U17 World Hockey Challenge held in Canada, Miettinen had three goals and two assists in five games.
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) March 3, 2019
Last season, he played for the Blues U20 in the Jr. A SM-liiga, the top junior league in Finland. He had 27 goals and 34 assists and was plus-24 in 48 regular season games. His 61 points were fourth in the league and he had the sixth-best plus/minus in the league, which has 18 teams. The three players who finished with more points were 19 and 20 years old.
In the playoffs, Miettinen had five goals and six assists and was a plus-5 in 11 games.
In 2017-18, he played four games for the Blues in the U18 league, but also played 38 games for the Blues U20 team. With the Blues U20 team, he had 11 goals, 24 points and was a plus-11.
Projecting ahead to the 2020 NHL Draft, Miettinen is listed as a top 50-pick (there are 31 picks per round), including being listed at No. 41 on a list compiled by Sporting News.
The former St. Cloud State players to be taken in the NHL Draft in the first two rounds are defenseman Dennis Cholowski (Detroit, No. 20 overall, 2016), forward Ryan Poehling (Montreal, No. 25, 2017), forward Matt Cullen (Anaheim, No. 35, 1996), forward Andreas Nodl (Philadelphia, No. 39, 2006), defenseman Josh DeWolf (New Jersey, No. 41, 1996) and defenseman Brian Gaffaney (Pittsburgh, No. 44, 1997).
Miettinen is from Espoo, Finland, the same hometown as former St. Cloud State player Mika Ilvonen. Miettinen plans on playing one more season in the U20 league in Finland before playing for St. Cloud State in the fall of 2020.
Miettinen would become the latest in a line of Finnish players to play for St. Cloud State. This fall, Jami Krannila, an 18-year-old forward from Pori, Finland, will be part of a 10-player freshman class for the Huskies. Krannila played last season for the Sioux Falls Stampede in the United States Hockey League and helped them win the league’s playoff title, the Clark Cup.
Besides Ilvonen (2014-19), other recent players from Finland to play for St. Cloud State include forward Kalle Kossila (2012-16), defenseman Niklas Nevalainen (2013-17) and goalie Rasmus Reijola (2012-16).
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) March 2, 2019