NHL Players

15 Best Finnish Hockey Players Of All Time

By Biraj Khanal / 4 January 2024 10:46 AM

Source : pin

From Selänne's scoring wizardry to Barkov's modern mastery, Finland's hockey legacy shines bright.

Skillful skaters like Aho and Rantanen light up the offense with their cannon shots and weave magic on the rink, while defensive rocks like Koivu and Jokinen shut down the opposition with grit and grace 

Don't forget legends like Kurri and Tikkanen, five-time Cup champs raising the bar. And goalies like Rinne? Impregnable fortresses, denying goals and stealing victories.

From past legends like Kurri and Tikkanen to rising stars like Aho, Finnish hockey delivers heart-pounding action and national pride.

1. Jari Kurri

Source : twitter

Jari Kurri is a legendary Finnish ice hockey player widely considered one of the greatest of all time.

He was drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980 NHL Entry Draft and joined the team that same year.

Kurri formed a dominant scoring duo with Wayne Gretzky leading to five Stanley Cups with the Edmonton Oilers (1984-85, 1987-88, 1990).

He led the NHL in goals scored in the 1985-86 season with 68 goals.

Kurri played for 17 seasons in the NHL, also suiting up for the Los Angeles Kings, New York Rangers, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, and Colorado Avalanche.

2. Teemu Selänne

Source : instagram

Teemu Selänne is the all-time leading scorer for Finland in the NHL with 684 goals and 1,457 points. 

He began his professional career in the Finnish SM-liiga in 1988 and was drafted by the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the 1988 NHL Entry Draft.

Selänne went on to have a Hall of Fame career in the NHL. He was a consistent goal scorer, leading the league in goals twice (1992-93 and 1995-96).

He retired from the NHL in 2014, but he continued to play professionally in Finland until 2018.

His accolades include 10-time NHL All-Star, 9-time NHL First Team All-Star and, 2-time NHL goal-scoring champion (1992-93, 1995-96).

3. Teppo Numminen

Source : instagram

Teppo Numminen was a Finnish professional ice hockey defenceman who played in the NHL) for 20 seasons for the Winnipeg Jets, Phoenix Coyotes, Dallas Stars, and Buffalo Sabres.

He made his NHL debut with the Jets in 1988–89. He was also a capable scorer, with 117 goals and 520 assists for 637 points in his NHL career.

Numminen was a key member of the Phoenix Coyotes teams that reached the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998 and 2002.

Teppo retired from the NHL in 2009. He was inducted into the IIHF Hall of Fame in 2013.

4. Saku Koivu

Source : instagram

Saku Koivu played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for 19 seasons for the Montreal Canadiens, Anaheim Ducks, and Minnesota Wild.

Koivu was a skilled two-way center who was known for his passing ability, his vision, and his leadership.

He was the captain of the Canadiens for 10 seasons, from 2002 to 2012, and a member of the Finnish national team that won the bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

He was inducted into the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017. He was a 10-time NHL All-Star, 1995 SM-liiga Player of the Year, 1995 SM-liiga Championship, and  2003–04 NHL Lady Byng Memorial Trophy winner.

5. Raimo Helminen

Source : instagram

Raimo Helminen is a retired Finnish professional ice hockey player often called "Raipe" or "Maestro" by his fans.

He is the world record holder for most international games played by a hockey player, as well as tied for being the hockey player in the most Olympic Games. 

Raimo was drafted by the New York Rangers in the second round (35th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft and debuted in 1985–86.

He was a key member of the Finnish national team that won the gold medal at the 1995 World Championships and the bronze medal at the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Helminen could play both center and wing. He was a skilled passer and playmaker, and he was also a capable scorer.

6. Mikko Rantanen

Source : instagram

Mikko Rantanen is a Finnish professional ice hockey player for the Colorado Avalanche known for his offensive prowess, size, and skating ability.

He is a two-time NHL All-Star and a Stanley Cup champion.

Rantanen made his NHL debut in 2015–16 and quickly established himself as one of the Avalanche's top players.

He has since become a perennial top-scorer, with 55 goals and 50 assists in 2022–23.

He is a dynamic player who can score goals, set up teammates, and is also a clutch performer, with several memorable playoff goals.

7. Esa Tikkanen

Source : instagram

Esa Tikkanen played in the National Hockey League (NHL) for teams, including Edmonton Oilers, New Jersey Devils, Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers, and the Washington Capitals.

He is the five-time winner of the Stanley Cup in his career, including in 1985, 1987, 1988, 1990 with the Oilers, and 1994 with the Rangers.

Tikkanen quickly established himself as a key member of the Oilers, forming a formidable scoring line with Wayne Gretzky and Jari Kurri.

In 1993, Tikkanen was traded to the Rangers, where he won his fifth Stanley Cup. In 1993, Tikkanen was traded to the Rangers, where he won his fifth Stanley Cup.

He was a two-time NHL All-Star and a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.

8. Petteri Nummelin

Source : instagram

Petteri Nummelin played in the NHL for the Minnesota Wild, Columbus Blue Jackets, and New York Rangers. He also played in the Swiss National League A for HC Lugano and EHC Biel.

He was a two-time Finnish champion and a member of the Finnish national team that won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

He could play both the power play and penalty kill and was a skilled passer, playmaker, and capable shot blocker. 

Nummelin is considered one of the best Finnish defensemen of all time. He was a key member of the TPS dynasty of the 1990s and won two Finnish championships. 

9. Jere Lehtinen

Source : instagram

Jere Lehtinen is a Finnish former professional ice hockey forward who played 15 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL) for the Dallas Stars.

He made his NHL debut with the Stars in 1995–96. He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy as the NHL's best defensive forward three times (1998, 1999, and 2003).

Jere was also a member of the Stars' Stanley Cup championship team in 1999.

Lehtinen helped Finland win the gold medal at the 1995 World Championships and the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics. 

He retired from professional hockey in 2010.  Besides NHL, he is also a 10-time Finnish Champion and a 2-time SM-Liiga regular season MVP.

10. Olli Jokinen

Source : instagram

Olli Jokinen is a Finnish former professional ice hockey player who played 20 seasons in the National Hockey League (NHL).

He made his NHL debut with the Kings in 1997–98. He was a two-time NHL All-Star and a member of the Finnish national team.

Jokinen played for 11 teams during his NHL career, including the Los Angeles Kings, New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, Phoenix Coyotes, and Toronto Maple Leafs. He also played for KalPa and HIFK of the Finnish SM-liiga.

He was a 2-time NHL All-Star, 2003 World Championship gold medalist, 2006 Winter Olympics silver medalist, and 1998 World Junior Championship gold medalist.

11. Pekka Rinne

Source : instagram

Pekka Rinne established himself as one of the NHL's best goaltenders, winning the Vezina Trophy as the NHL's best goaltender in 2018.

Rinne's arrival in Nashville in 2005 coincided with the Predators' emergence as he led the team to their first playoff appearance in 2007 and their first Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 2017.

He also holds the record for the most NHL wins by a Finnish-born goaltender. Rinne is one of only 15 NHL goaltenders to score a goal in either the regular season or the playoffs.

Pekka is a member of the Finnish Hockey Hall of Fame and the Nashville Predators Hall of Fame.

He was the team's starting goaltender for 16 seasons and helped them become one of the most successful teams in the NHL.

12. Sebastin Aho

Source : instagram

He's consistently among the league's top scorers, with a career-high 55 goals in 2023 and a knack for clutch play. His offensive prowess is undeniable.

Aho was a key contributor to the Colorado Avalanche's Stanley Cup victory in 2022, showcasing his ability to thrive on the biggest stage.

At 27 years old, Aho has the potential to surpass the career achievements of older players.

He is ranked 5th in all-time ranking based on the points per game with 0.911 with 199 goals, and 242 assists totaling 441 points in 484 games played. 

13. Kimmo Timonen

Source : instagram

Kimmo Timonen played 16 seasons in the NHL for the Nashville Predators, Philadelphia Flyers, and Chicago Blackhawks.

Known for his skating ability, offensive skills, and leadership, he was a three-time NHL All-Star and a member of the Finnish national team that won the silver medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

He helped the Flyers win the Eastern Conference championship in 2010 and the Stanley Cup in 2010.

In 2015, he with the Blackhawks won the Stanley Cup 2015, becoming the oldest defenseman to win the Stanley Cup.

Timonen retired from professional hockey in 2015. He was a two-way defenseman who was a force on both ends of the ice and his legacy is one of greatness and accomplishment.

14. Valtteri Filppula

Source : twitter

Filppula is a versatile forward who can play both center and wing and is a skilled playmaker and scorer.

He has been a consistent contributor throughout his career, averaging over 0.5 points per game over 10 seasons with the Red Wing.

In 2008, Filppula helped the Red Wings win the Stanley Cup. He also won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2015.

Filppula has been a member of the Finnish national team. He helped Finland win the bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics and the gold medal at the 2022 Winter Olympics.

In 2022, he became the first Finnish player to be inducted into the Triple Gold Club, which is an exclusive group of players who have won the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold, and the World Championship.

15. Ville Peltonen

Source : instagram

Peltonen is a respected player who is known for his skill, intelligence, and leadership. He made his NHL debut with the Sharks in 1993–94.

He was a skilled offensive player who was known for his speed, vision, and passing ability. He had a productive career in the NHL, scoring 272 goals and 394 assists in 802 games.

Peltonen was also a key member of the Finnish national team. He helped Finland win the gold medal at the 1995 World Championships and the bronze medal at the 2006 Winter Olympics.

He was a captain of the Finnish national team for six years. Peltonen retired from professional hockey in 2011.

Related post of NHL Players