Kings were “very active” in scouting draft pick Helenius
Samuel Helenius is a power forward for Finnish major league team, JYP Jyväskyla. Last season he played his first full season in the top level and in his 54 regular season games he scored 14 points (seven goals, seven assists). He was also a part of Finland’s entry at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship, winning bronze in the process.
The second-generation professional was plucked in the second round (No. 59) of the 2021 NHL Draft, and signed his entry-level contract shortly thereafter.
Helenius is right now focusing on his upcoming season with his current club JYP, but the recently signed contract gives him the opportunity to spread his wings towards the best best league in the world and to compete with the best players in the sport.
FCHockey recently caught up with Helenius.
FCHockey: How did it feel to get picked by the Los Angeles Kings? What is your schedule for going to North America? And what are your main things to focus on right now regarding the NHL?
Samuel Helenius: Getting picked felt so great. I had been waiting for it a while, because I was kind of expecting it as I had been talking to so many scouts from there — they were very active. The entry-level contract that I signed is one big step towards the big league. I am going to spend this season here in JYP and start looking for North America, when the games here are over.
FCHockey: You are a big guy at 6-foot-6 and 201 pounds. The size matters in today’s ice hockey and there sure are a lot of players who are pretty sturdy. Not many though are as bulky as you are. How do you deal with your size considering your future in the NHL?
Samuel Helenius: As I am as big as I am, I need to learn to develop and upgrade the qualities needed. Protecting the puck is a huge thing for a guy like me. Also playing shorthanded and being able to reach the puck effectively in different situations are in key roles, when it comes to things to develop.
FCHockey: Your father, Sami Helenius, also had a professional career as a defenseman playing also in the NHL. Knowing that he is mostly remembered about his defensive game, but also fighting, perhaps the only similarity you share as players with your dad is the size as. What kind of tips has he been giving to you?
Samuel Helenius: He doesn’t give any tips anymore. He is encouraging and supporting me of course, but he has let the coaches give the advice.
FCHockey: As you are heading towards being an NHL ice hockey player in the near future, what kind of skills or things you have been focusing outside of the ice and the game itself?
Samuel Helenius: I mean, I speak English rather decently. I understand it well, but I just haven’t happened to speak it that much here in Finland as I may have hoped. English is not that crucial to handle here in Finnish league. However, I have wanted to focus on playing here in JYP for now and will start to take care of that kind of stuff, when the time comes. It is still very good that we got a few North American players to play here in JYP this season. Defenseman Andrew O’Brien and forwards Braden Christoffer and Reid Gardiner have been very helpful and understanding towards our young team – in both, game-related things and for example the language.
FCHockey: What are your expectation for the upcoming season in Liiga? Your team is very young and doesn’t have the most of experience among the clubs.
Samuel Helenius: We have given ourselves some goals within the team. The big thing is to fight for the spot in the playoffs this season. We are focusing on hard work and we believe that doing that on a daily basis will become something fruitful. The process will be a long one, but we got to believe in ourselves and keep doing our own thing, as the cliché goes.