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Hurricanes sign Heimosalmi, Koivunen to ELCs

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The Finnish defenseman and forward become the first prospects from the 2021 class to sign with the team.

2021 NHL Draft - Round One Photo by Matt Sutor/NHLI via Getty Images

The Hurricanes have signed one of their 2021 draft picks, as the team announced Sunday that defenseman Aleksi Heimosalmi, the 44th overall pick in the draft, signed his three-year, entry-level contract. He’s the first player from the 2021 class to do so.

The deal will pay Heimosalmi $750,000 in at the NHL level in 2021-22 and 2022-23, and $775,000 in 2023-24. He’d make $80,000 at the AHL level all three seasons, and will have a $277,500 signing bonus.

The official release from the team follows:

‘CANES SIGN ALEKSI HEIMOSALMI TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT

Defenseman was selected 44th overall by Carolina in the 2021 NHL Draft

RALEIGH, N.C. – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed defenseman Aleksi Heimosalmi to a three-year, entry-level contract. At the NHL level, the deal will pay Heimosalmi $750,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and $775,000 in 2023-24. The deal will pay Heimosalmi $80,000 at the American Hockey League (AHL) level for all three seasons, and he will receive a signing bonus of $277,500.

“Aleksi is a highly skilled, two-way defenseman,” said Waddell. “We’re excited for him to take the next steps in his development.”

Heimosalmi, 18, tallied 21 points (4g, 17a) in 35 games with Assat’s junior team in Finland’s top junior league in 2020-21. The 5’11”, 170-pound defenseman ranked first in goals, assists and points among the team’s blueliners while serving as an alternate captain. The Pori, Finland, native was named Best Defenseman at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship after ranking tied for second in goals (2), third in assists (6) and tied for first in points (8) among defensemen at the tournament. Heimosalmi also represented Finland at the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, earning one assists in five games. He was selected by the Hurricanes in the second round, 44th overall, of the 2021 NHL Draft.

Update: The Hurricanes have also signed forward Ville Koivunen, the draft’s 51st overall pick, to an identical contract. Here’s the official release:

‘CANES SIGN VILLE KOIVUNEN TO ENTRY-LEVEL CONTRACT

Forward was selected 51st overall by Carolina in the 2021 NHL Draft

RALEIGH, N.C. – Don Waddell, President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has signed forward Ville Koivunen to a three-year, entry-level contract. At the NHL level, the deal will pay Koivunen $750,000 in 2021-22 and 2022-23 and $775,000 in 2023-24. The deal will pay Koivunen $80,000 at the American Hockey League (AHL) level for all three seasons, and he will receive a signing bonus of $277,500.

“Ville is a skilled, competitive winger,” said Waddell. “He continues to improve every year, and we are excited to watch him develop as a pro.”

Koivunen, 18, recorded 49 points (23g, 26a) in 38 games with Karpat’s junior team in Finland’s top junior league last season while serving as one of the team’s alternate captains. The 6’0”, 168-pound forward was named the league’s Rookie of the Year and selected to the Second All-Star Team after ranking third in the league in goals and points. Koivunen also added four assists in five playoff games, leading the team in that category and ranking tied for first on the team in points during the playoffs. In 2019-20, he was named the Best Forward and Best Player of Finland’s under-18 league after posting a league-high 27 goals and 71 points in 37 games with Karpat’s under-18 team. The Oulu, Finland, native has represented his home country at numerous international tournaments, including the 2019 World Under-17 Hockey Challege and the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Championship. Koivunen was selected by the Hurricanes in the second round, 51st overall, of the 2021 NHL Draft.