It will be a while yet before Joni Ikonen comes to North America as he has signed a two-year contract with Ilves of the Finnish SM-liiga.
This season was one to forget for the 2017 second rounder. He missed the entire year due to a leg injury and that came off the heels of a 2018-19 campaign that saw him limited to 13 games with KalPa due to injury. That’s not a lot of development time for someone who, when healthy, has been one of Montreal’s more intriguing prospects.
Of course, the term here is particularly noteworthy. This deal takes him through the 2021-22 season but the Canadiens only have until June 1, 2021 to sign him to an entry-level deal. If they don’t, they’ll lose his rights. Fortunately, there is a transfer window in which the Habs could sign Ikonen to his entry-level deal and supersede the contract in Finland or he could be signed and then loaned back for his final year with Ilves.
A lot will depend on whether or not he can stay healthy for the upcoming season though. One more injury-plagued year would sharply decrease the likelihood of the Habs extending him that contract and if he struggles to find his form after basically missing two years, that won’t help either. Suffice it to say, there will be a lot of pressure on Ikonen for next year and the Canadiens will certainly be watching him closely.