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Red Wings add free agent defenseman Oliwer Kaski

Blueliner named Finnish league MVP with 51 points in 59 games

by Kyle Kujawa / DetroitRedWings.com

DETROIT - The Detroit Red Wings today signed defenseman Oliwer Kaski to a one-year entry-level contract.

Kaski, 23, spent the 2018-19 campaign with the Lahti Pelicans in the SM-Liiga, Finland's top professional league, ranking sixth overall in league scoring with 51 points (19-32-51) in 59 games. Kaski posted the third highest-scoring season ever by a defenseman in that league, trailing only Pekka Rautakallio (25-28-53 in 1978-79) and former Red Wings defenseman Brian Rafalski (19-34-53 in 1998-99). He won the Lasse Oksanen Award as the league's best player during the regular season after leading all defensemen in goals and points. The 6-foot-3, 190-pound blueliner has played parts of three seasons in the SM-Liiga for HIFK Helsinki and the Pelicans, totaling 73 points (30-43-73), a plus-15 rating and 20 penalty minutes in 144 games. Kaski also made his national team debut in 2018-19 and won a gold medal with Finland at the 2019 IIHF World Championship in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia, collecting two assists in 10 games.

The Pori, Finland, native also has a connection to the state of Michigan, producing 12 points (4-8-12) at Western Michigan University during the 2015-16 season and skating in one game the following season before returning to Finland to make his professional debut for HIFK. Kaski worked his way up the Finnish junior ranks with Assat prior to attending college, totaling 59 points (23-36-59) in 88 games at the under-20 level, 24 points (14-10-24) in 37 games on the under-18 circuit and 30 points (16-14-30) in 17 games at the under-17 level between 2011-15 and in 2016-17 following his return from Western Michigan.

Oliwer Kaski, Defenseman

Born Sep 4 1995 -- Pori, Finland

Height 6.03 -- Weight 190 -- Shoots R

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