Markus Hannikainen, signed last summer from Finnish club JYP, has the potential to be a bottom six contributor for the Blue Jackets someday. He was the focus of extensive scouting by Blue Jackets General Manager Jarmo Kekalainen, who even invited Hannikainen to the development camp in Columbus in 2014, one full year before signing him.
Hannikainen brings size and some offensive ability to the prospect pool on the left wing. He registered 7-13-20 in 50 games for Lake Erie. He made his NHL debut on November 28 against the St. Louis Blues, playing 6:15 before suffering a shoulder injury. In 3 games after his return, he was 0-0-0 with a -2.
Hannikainen brings a two way presence that a coach craves in a bottom six role, and with his offensive upside, Hannikainen could become a role player in the future in the vein of Matt Calvert.
Outlook for 2016/17
With the glut of forwards, expect Hannikainen to start the season with the Cleveland Monsters (man, that’s weird to type). However, if his offensive production continues to improve, Hannikainen could see himself called up to the Blue Jackets if any of the bottom six are injured over the course of the season.