New York Rangers General Manager Jeff Gorton announced today that the team has agreed to terms with free agent forward Ville Meskanen.
Meskanen, 22, skated in 48 games with Ilves in Liiga this past season, registering 24 goals and 20 assists for 44 points, along with a plus-three rating and four penalty minutes. He established Liiga career-highs in several categories in 2017-18, including games played, goals, assists, points, and plus/minus rating. Meskanen was the only player in Liiga who tallied at least 40 points and was assessed four or fewer penalty minutes during the past season. He ranked third in Liiga in goals, tied for sixth in power play goals (nine), tied for eighth in the league (min. 20 games played) in points per game (0.92), and tied for 15th in the league in points in 2017-18. In addition, Meskanen ranked first among Liiga players 22 years old or younger in both goals and points during the season. He led Ilves in goals and shots on goal (253), tied for the team lead in power play goals, ranked third on the team in points, and ranked fourth on the team in assists this past season. Meskanen also posted 13 multi-point games in 2017-18.
The 6-1, 190-pounder skated in 141 career games in Liiga over parts of four seasons (2014-15 - 2017-18), all with Ilves, registering 42 goals and 38 assists for 80 points, along with 14 penalty minutes. Meskanen's games played, goals, assists, and points totals increased in each season over his four years in Liiga. He also skated in 10 playoff contests with Ilves in 2016-17, and he recorded seven points (four goals, three assists), along with a plus-five rating, in the 10 games.
The Tampere, Finland, native has played at several levels in Ilves' organization since the 2009-10 season, including Liiga and Nuorten SM-Liiga (Finland's top junior league). In 2015-16, Meskanen helped Ilves win the league championship in Nuorten SM-Liiga, as he registered seven points (four goals, three assists) in seven playoff games. In his final full season in Nuorten SM-Liiga in 2014-15, Meskanen recorded 62 points (30 goals and 32 assists) and a plus-25 rating in 35 games and notched 12 points (three goals, nine assists) in 10 playoff contests; he led the league in points per game (1.77) and was named to the league's Second All-Star Team. In addition, Meskanen received the Keijo Kuusela Award during the 2011-12 season for scoring the most goals in the C-Nuorten SM-Sarja (U16 league), as he tallied 33 goals and added 21 assists for 54 points in 29 games during the season.