With the start of the AHL season being delayed until early December, some teams are starting to loan their international prospects overseas to give them some playing time. The Habs have done this with Otto Leskinen as they’ve loaned him to KalPa Kuopio of the Finnish SM-liiga to start next season. He will rejoin the Canadiens for training camp.
This season was Leskinen’s first in North America after spending four years with KalPa where he did well enough for the Habs to sign him as an undrafted free agent. In 2018-19, he had 31 points in 57 games before signing with Montreal.
The 23-year-old spent the majority of this season with Laval where he had two goals and 20 assists in 52 games. He did well enough with the Rocket to earn a five-game recall in December. Leskinen looked overmatched at times but still managed to log a little more than 10 minutes a night.
2020-21 will be the final season of his entry-level contract so he’ll be looking to make an impact when training camp gets underway which is slated to be sometime in November as things stand. An opportunity to get a couple of months worth of games under his belt will certainly help from a development perspective although if the AHL has a full season despite the delayed start, fatigue could become a concern as the year progresses. That’s a concern for later on though as for now, Leskinen can focus on getting ready for camp in Finland next month.