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Helenius Enters 2024 Draft Eying Big Leap To NHL

Helenius Enters 2024 Draft Eying Big Leap To NHL

18-year-old Konsta Helenius has entered the 2024 draft eyeing a big leap to the NHL for the new season after putting up numbers last season.

He splited last season between Jukurit in Liiga, the top league in his native Finland, and the junior league.

“Before the season, I went [over] with my dad my goals for the season and we both were on the same page that I’m going to play at the men’s Worlds,” Helenius said. “That sounds crazy, but it’s true. So I really thought that I’m going to play a full season in Liiga.”

Helenius finishd with 36 points (14 goals, 22 assists) in 51 games for Jukurit. 

The center, who turned 18 on May 11, more than a month after his season ended, had the fourth-most points by an under-18 player in Liiga history, behind center Aleksander Barkov (48 points, 2012-13), now of the Florida Panthers; current San Jose Sharks center Mikael Granlund (40 points, 2009-10); and forward Kaapo Kakko (38 points, 2018-19), now with the New York Rangers. 

Helenius also was second for Jukurit with six points (two goals, four assists) in six Liiga playoff games.

I played against NHL guys. Of course it gives me confidence because I think I did a great job against them,” Helenius said. “I think I’m very close to the NHL.”

He capped last season with one assist in four games for Finland at the 2024 IIHF World Championship.

He also had two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games at the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship, and prior to the Worlds, he led Finland with seven assists in five games at the 2024 IIHF World Under-18 Championship.

Helenius was the first player for Finland to play in all three tournaments in one season, and the fifth ever, joining United States forward Jack Hughes (2018-19), now of the New Jersey Devils; Switzerland forward Kevin Fiala (2013-14), currently with the Los Angeles Kings; and Belarus forwards Andrei Kostitsyn (2002-03) and Vadim Karaga (2002-03).

“It’s a long summer coming, so I want to improve my physicality and straight [line] skating speed,” he said. “Because I think I’m a good skater, but I want to be better.”

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