October 4, 2023

Top 2024 draft-eligible Kiviharju sidelined long-term with injury requiring surgery

Aron Kiviharju has been sidelined.

Kiviharju, one of the top defensemen eligible for the 2024 NHL Draft, will miss about four months after sustaining an injury in training that will require surgery, HIFK announced Wednesday.

He had two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games with HIFK in Liiga — Finland’s top men’s circuit — and is expected to miss the 2024 IIHF World Junior Championship as a result of the injury.

“Kiviharju’s injury couldn’t have happened at a worse time. He got his season off to a good start with HIFK’s high-level team in the Finnish Liiga, so the injury feels really frustrating,” Finland-based FCHockey regional scout Arttu Myllymaki said. “He is considered one of the most talented defenseman in his age group and has been at least a top 10 prospect in several rankings before the season. Being sidelined for an estimated four months, this also means that he will not be able to participate in the World Junior Championship.

“The injury and missing the World Juniors will certainly have a negative impact on his draft stock as well. However, he will be back on the ice around February and his performances in the spring will carry a lot of weight for him in terms of the draft. The Under-18s will be played in his home country of Finland and by playing well there, he still has time to impress scouts and management. Most likely, however, after such an injury, he will have to compete seriously to be drafted in the first round.”

Kiviharju was given an ‘A’ rating in FCHockey’s preliminary ranking for the 2024 draft.

The 17-year-old had previously represented Finland at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship and again at the 2023 Under-18s. He also played for Finland at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup, and more recently represented his country at the World Junior Summer Showcase in the summer.

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