Former 5th Overall Pick Gives Up on His NHL Dream

Published October 5, 2023 at 12:22

2016 was a pretty good draft year in the NHL, with Auston Matthews, Patrik Laine, and Pierre-Luc Dubois going first, second, and third respectfully. However, a player picked just behind those three has decided to give up on playing in the NHL, and has returned to Europe.

After being released from a professional tryout with the Arizona Coyotes in late September, Olli Juolevi has now signed a contract with Timra IK of the Swedish Hockey League (SHL).

Juolevi, a defenceman, was taken 5th overall by the Vancouver Canucks in 2016 (Jesse Puljujarvi was 4th overall). A number of names chosen after him have gone on to have successful NHL careers, including Matthew Tkachuk (6th), Clayton Keller (7th), Mikhail Sergachev (9th), and Charlie McAvoy (14th).

Juolevi would spend his first two years in North America in the AHL, where he missed several games in 2018–19 due to knee surgery. He missed three weeks the following year with another injury before the season was cut short due to COVID. After 23 regular season games with Vancouver in 2020-21, he was traded to the Florida Panthers. He played just 10 games with the team before being placed on waivers and picked up by the Detroit Red Wings. In July of 2022, Juolevi signed a two-year deal with the Anaheim Ducks. After a year in the minors, he was dropped from the team, leading to the PTO with Anaheim.

October 5   |   37 answers
Former 5th Overall Pick Gives Up on His NHL Dream

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