2018-2019 Player Reviews: Miikka Salomäki

“The Ox” was doing what oxen do best before his season was cut short.

Miikka Salomäki is kind of like comfort food: you know what you’re getting when you order it at the Cracker Barrel, you know exactly what to expect, and you don’t have to take the risk of an unknown food possibly being better offensively because you know you’ve got ol’ number 20 out there takin’ up space for about ten minutes a night.

Season In Review

Okay, okay, maybe I’m being a little hard on Salomäki. I mean, he’s not supposed to be Filip Forsberg or anything; he’s a bottom six winger. Realistically, he spent most of his time on the fourth line until some injuries to the top six wingers forced Laviolette’s hand and the tough decision to move him to the third line had to be made.

Take a look at the report card put together by Bryan Bastin:

You see how the Power Play section is bereft of data...that should probably tell you all you need to know about the next section:


377 minutes is not a huge sample size, but it’s enough to get a solid idea of how things seem to go when Salomäki is on the ice. Now, granted, a lot of this has to do with his teammates on the ice with him, and you have to take into consideration his position on the (defensively-driven) fourth line; however, it is important to note that there’s a lot of blue on there and, in this case, blue is bad. Let’s keep in mind that your fourth line typically isn’t a scoring machine, but if you had your ’druthers, you’d like to ice a line that has a decent chance at finding the back of the net, or at least the front of it.


Once again, taking into consideration all of the coordinating factors that go into this measure, the other guys on the ice factor in here as well. However, as bad as blue is on the offensive chart, blue is good on this one. This chart shows that Miikka Salomäki is actually not bad at playing defensive hockey.

Best Moment

When he made Duncan Keith absolutely lose his cool:

Worst Moment

The moment when he left the game on January 4, 2019 after taking a hard hit along the boards and was unable to return for twelve or so weeks.

I would say given the fact that Peter Laviolette seems to love him and the fact that he isn’t out there to score points, he’s a solid bet for the fourth line unless there’s a huge push to have four scoring lines (which is a possibility if Kyle Turris centers the third line). I would say he’s dead even because his poor offense pushes him down, but his solid defense brings him back to the center. However, his physical style of play often leads him into situations where he finds himself injured and missing months at a time. In that sense, he’s trending down.

Final Grade


I, personally, had always labored under the assumption that he wasn’t very good at hockey in general. In fact, I recall saying things like, “Why are they putting Miikka Salomäki on the ice when they have [insert literally anyone else on the team here] riding the pine?” But after taking a look at his defensive prowess, I’ll take him him on the fourth line...but ONLY on the fourth line!

Fan Grade

How did Shaun do grading Miikka Salomaki’s season?

Shaun was wrong, Miikka was better than that!10
Shaun was wrong, Miikka was worse than that!7
Shaun had it right, slightly below average was perfect for Salomaki.20