The New York Islanders announced the signing of prospect Jesse Joensuu to a three-year entry level contract on Monday. The deal takes effect at the start of the 2008-09 season. The Isles selected the 6′ 4″, 207 pound right wing in the second round of the 2006 NHL entry draft with the 60th overall selection.
Joensuu spent the last four seasons in the Finnish Elite League playing for his hometown team, Assat Pori. This year, he leads the club in scoring with 17 goals and 35 points in 56 games. In his career, Joensuu has already played more than 200 professional games and has scored 43 goals with 44 assists for 87 points.
“We are excited to have Jesse signed as an official member of the New York Islanders organization,” said Ryan Jankowski, the Islanders assistant general manager and Director of Amateur Scouting. “We have seen Jesse’s commitment and improvement since drafting him and along with his talent, Jesse brings to our franchise many aspects we are looking for in future Islanders.”
Joensuu did join the Islanders the past two summers for summer rookie camps and training camp before returning to Finland for the season. He also played for his native country in the World Junior Championships the past three years, scoring four goals and adding three assists.
“The Islanders have worked with me every step of the way since they drafted me two years ago and have really helped my development,” said Joensuu. “Now that we have agreed on a contract, I’m very excited about starting my career in the Islanders organization and playing in North America.”
Joensuu is considered one of the Islanders’ top prospects behind Kyle Okposo, who is now playing with the Islanders’ AHL affiliate in Bridgeport. The Isles think Joensuu has the potential to develop into a top six forward.
“Jesse is a skilled winger with great size and versatility,” Jankowski added. “He is a high-character person and has always shown a commitment to better himself as a player both on and off the ice. He skates well straight ahead, generating good speed and complementing his skill level to be very dangerous on the rush and in the offensive zone.”