By the Numbers will highlight the on-ice accomplishments in the 2018-19 season for the Detroit Red Wings' prospects. Twice a week during the offseason, By the Numbers will profile a different player in the system, focusing on his statistical highs. This week we focus on center/right wing Otto Kivenmaki.
Otto Kivenmaki may stand a mere 5-foot-8 and weigh a svelte 154 pounds, but the Red Wings' seventh-round draft pick, 191st overall, from the 2018 NHL Entry Draft has a skill level which nullifies any concerns about his stature.
Kivenmaki is a player who utilizes every bit of his frame to maneuver around the ice and make things happen.
In his draft year, Kivenmaki was rated No. 102 by NHL Central Scouting among all European skaters and he didn't believe he would get drafted, but the Wings saw enough upside in his game - 37 points in 37 games, including 11 goals for Assat U20 in the Finnish Jr. A SM-Liiga - to take him as their last pick in the 2018 draft.
Last season, the left-handed shooting center/right wing split his time between Assat U20 and Assat's pro team in the Finnish Liiga. He made his professional debut for Assat on Sept. 30, 2018.
Kivenmaki realizes he will need to bulk up and build his strength to compete in the NHL, but his relentless drive coupled with a high compete level make him a late-round pick to keep an eye on.
34 - Total number of games Kivenmaki appeared in for Assat.
2 - Kivenmaki registered two goals in his first pro season with Assat and was only assessed one two-minute minor penalty when he played for Assat U20.
14 - His 14 assists were third highest on Assat.
16 - In his 34 games, Kivenmaki's 16 total points ranked fifth on his team.
8 - A disciplined player, he received eight total penalty minutes in his 34 games played.
-12 - He was minus-12 for Assat during his rookie campaign.
23 - Total number of games he played for Assat U20.
11-24-35 - In his 23 games for Assat U20, Kivenmaki notched 11 goals and doled out 24 assists for 35 points, which placed him in a three-way tie for most points on the club. One of the players Kivenmaki shared the team lead in points with was Antti Tuomisto (45-9-26-35), whom the Red Wings drafted in the second round, 35th overall, in last weekend's 2019 NHL Entry Draft in Vancouver.
+5 - Kivenmaki was plus-5 for Assat.
Quotable: "I think we drafted him at about 140. The good news is he's in the gym, he's working out. I think he's probably up to about 165 right now. He's hoping to put on another 5-10 pounds by the end of the year. He's a kid, he started off slow. Obviously stepped in, playing in the men's game, his strength wasn't there. Being 145 pounds made it really tough for him to do what he wanted to do out there. But to his credit, he worked hard. He went and got sent down to juniors, played there for a while, really worked on his game, on his strength and then had a really good second half. I saw him at the end of the season there in February and he went on an 11-point run in his last 11 games, was running the power play on the point and really was getting a lot of ice time playing on the top line, playing upwards of 17, 18, 19 minutes a night, which is what he needs to do. He's a really, really skilled player, he's got great vision, great sense. For being as light as he is, he's very strong on the puck, he's got great balance. He's a great passer. I just think with added strength we can hopefully improve his shot, but he's a guy that runs a power play over there, really offensive player and we're excited about his talent level.
"I think there's room for small players in today's game. I just think the biggest thing in front of him is he just needs to put strength on. Really doesn't matter, he's 5-8. It's not going to be his height as much as it's going to be his strength. It doesn't matter how big you are, as long as you can protect the puck and not get knocked off it, you're fine. So that's just going to be his biggest thing, his core strength and his lower body strength have to increase. He knows that. It's not something that's going to happen overnight. It's going to take some time, it's going to take a few years. So he is a bit of a project in terms of that but if we can add that to him, that's going to give him a real chance to play because his skill set's definitely NHL." - Shawn Horcoff, Detroit's director of player development