Finn noticed in rugged WHL

RANDY SPORTAK -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:58 PM ET

RALEIGH, N.C. -- It's not the usual route Finnish players take to the NHL. Still, Aki Seitsonen figured he'd try it anyway.

Last fall, in the hopes of improving his NHL draft status, Seitsonen opted to pack his bags for the North American junior ranks.

Selected by Prince Albert in the European draft, he made the move and came away with a respectable season, racking up 16 goals and 24 assists.

Yesterday, his goal was attained when the Calgary Flames selected him in the fourth round, 118th overall, at the entry draft in Raleigh, N.C.

"My agent told me I had a good chance of playing in the WHL so I saw some games on TV and thought the hockey was good," explained the 6-ft. 3-in., 206-lb. centre. "It's good hockey. Lots of hitting, lots of good players, lots of players who get drafted. I'm happy I did it."

Ranked 30th among North American skaters and 53rd by The Hockey News, Seitsonen is a prototypical two-way forward.

"He's got a good level of skill and a good shot," said Flames director of amateur scouting Mike Sands. "He's got some growth to do physically but we like him. He's a solid player."

The Flames used their other fourth-round pick to nab Kris Hogg, a hard-skating left-winger from Kamloops who netted 24 goals and 38 points this year.

"He's a guy that grew on us as the year went on," said Flames scouting director Tod Button. "He's feisty with some skills."

Hogg needs time to grow at 5-ft. 11-in., 174-lb., but has the makings of a tenacious winger.

"My first year in the league was a transition year and I really wanted to take strides forward for the next year. I feel I did that," Hogg said.


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