NY Islanders prospect Jesse Nurmi drafted by London Knights of the OHL

2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
2023 Upper Deck NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7 / Bruce Bennett/GettyImages

Each summer following the NHL Draft, the CHL hosts the annual CHL Import Draft, which this year saw the London Knights of the OHL select NY Islanders 2023 fourth-round pick, Jesse Nurmi, 58th overall.

By rule, CHL teams are allowed to dress two import players (who are classified as players who have residency outside Canada or the United States) each season.

Nurmi, a 6'0" high-energy winger out of Finland, spent last season with KooKoo of Liiga, the top professional league in Finland. He totaled just two points in 19 games, missing over four months of action due to an injury that required surgery.

Last month it was reported that Nurmi was leaving Finland, signing his entry-level deal with the Islanders. Nurmi, who is represented by Gold Star Management, reached out to the 19-year-old, presenting him with his first NHL contract.

"After the call, a few days passed, and the contract was sent by email," said Nurmi as translated from the Finnish website Yle.fi. "I signed it and even then I didn't believe it was true. When I finally got the paper in front of me, I had to vent a little."

Nurmi being selected by London may be the best possible scenario for Nurmi and the Islanders. The Knights are considered one of the premier CHL organizations, with facilities that are considered better than most AHL teams.

The Knights are run and coached by Dale Hunter, who Islanders fans over 30 years old are all too familiar with.

Isaiah George, a fellow 2023 draft pick, played in London last season as part of the team that won the 2024 OHL Cup and runners-up for the Memorial Cup. George is set to join the Bridgeport Islanders this season.

Giving Nurmi a season to adapt to the North American game before jumping straight into the professional ranks should do wonders for his game, before making the transition in 2025-26.

Expect to see Nurmi at Islanders rookie camp in September.