Marcus Kallionkieli’s hockey journey took him from Finland to Sioux City, Iowa. His next destination could be Manitoba.
The Golden Knights prospect was selected by the Brandon Wheat Kings during the first round of the Canadian major junior leagues’ Import Draft on Thursday, opening the door for him to play there next season.
“I know that I got drafted, and now I have to talk to my agent, my family and all the coaches here,” Kallionkieli said.
Brandon, which is part of the Western Hockey League, is owned by Knights incoming general manager Kelly McCrimmon. Last season, the Wheat Kings took Swedish-born defenseman Erik Brannstrom and Jiri Patera of the Czech Republic in the Import Draft, and Patera was the team’s starting goaltender.
Kallionkieli, a fifth-round pick (No. 139 overall) by the Knights in the NHL draft Saturday, led all rookies in the Tier I United States Hockey League last season with 29 goals for Sioux City.
The 6-foot-2-inch, 195-pound left wing did not record a point in his team’s 6-4 scrimmage victory Thursday during development camp at City National Arena.
Kallionkieli hails from Kankaanpaa, Finland, and his mom is a native of Brazil. The most famous NHL player of Brazilian nationality is defenseman Robyn Regehr, who was born in Recife, Brazil, to Canadian missionaries and played 1,089 games from 1999 to 2015.
Goaltender Mike Greenlay (born in Vitoria, Brazil), who played two games, is the only other Brazilian to appear in the NHL.
Kallionkieli is still adjusting to the North American style of play and the physicality that comes with playing on the smaller ice surface.
Knights coach Gerard Gallant took notice of the 18-year-old on the first day of camp and pulled him aside for a few moments.
“It was nice to meet him,” Kallionkieli said. “He’s a good coach and a good guy, also.”
Nosek deal close
Knights incoming president of hockey operations George McPhee confirmed the team is expected to re-sign forward Tomas Nosek in the coming days.
Nosek was the only player on the NHL roster not offered a qualifying offer by Monday’s deadline.
“We’re so close to a deal on him,” McPhee said. “We’re pretty sure we know where we’re going to end up. We’re still talking, but we’re in a good place there so we didn’t need to do a QO. We’re still talking.”
Nosek scored a career high 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in his second season with the Knights and is one of the team’s top penalty killers.
Glass leaves scrimmage
Top prospect Cody Glass was held out of the second half of Thursday’s scrimmage for precautionary reasons, according to Knights assistant coach Mike Kelly.
Jack Dugan had a goal and set up defenseman Dylan Coghlan’s third-period tally, and Nick Campoli notched the go-ahead goal with 6:36 remaining to help Team White to a 6-4 victory.
Jake Leschyshyn scored twice for Team Gray.
Golden Knights development camp schedule
Joint scrimmage, 10 a.m. (ticket required)
Joint scrimmage, 9:15 a.m. (ticket required)
Tickets are available at nhl.com/goldenknights/tickets/dev-camp.