Finnish supremacy will be duked out in the homeland of Patrik Laine and Aleksander Barkov next season. The NHL is sending four teams to Europe during the 2018-19 season, with a marquee matchup that will pit two of the best Finland-born players currently plying their trades in the NHL for a battle in the Land of the Midnight Sun come November. The Winnipeg Jets and the Florida Panthers will play a two-game set in Helsinki, roughly two hours north of Laine and Barkov’s hometown of Tampere. And while the battle for the best Finn title will take place between both superstars, more could be in the mix. The Jets boast forward Joel Armia, a fellow Finn from Pori, who has become a staple on the roster this season. Winnipeg also has prospect forward Kristian Vesalainen, a first-round pick in the 2017 draft, and defenseman Sami Niku in their system, although both would have to secure roster spots out of training camp next year to make the trip home. The Panthers, meanwhile, have goaltender Harri Sateri on their roster currently, but have Roberto Luongo and James Reimer ahead of him in the pecking order at this point. In their system, 2016 first-round pick Henrik Borgstrom hails from Helsinki, while fellow prospect forward Henrik Haapala comes from Tampere.
Laine, Barkov heading home for regular season games next year
Pro Hockey Talk | Jan 27