Vegas’ latest signee sees hard work pay off following rookie season in USHL
by Garrett Calloway @GoldenKnights / VegasGoldenKnights.com
The game of hockey can take you to significant places. Marcus Kallionkieli knows that about as well as any other 18-year-old.
The Golden Knights latest signee is both a dual citizen and an elite goal scorer. Originally from Helsinki, Finland, he also owns citizenship in Brazil where his mom was born just outside of Sao Paulo.
Growing up, the Golden Knights forward prospect played all of his youth hockey in Finland before moving to the United States last year to play the 2018-19 season with the United States Hockey League’s Sioux City Musketeers.
Despite the transition into the North American sized rink, the move proved worthy for him as he collected 53 points (29 G, 24 A) in 58 regular season games. His production went far from unnoticed, starting with him being selected to the USHL All-Rookie Team along with fellow Vegas prospect Isaiah Saville.
“It’s a nice thing, it’s definitely an honor,” said Kallionkieli, whose 29 goals led all USHL rookies. “I worked hard all season long and to see the results is nice.”
The recognition continued into the summer, as he heard his name called during the fifth round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft when Vegas selected him with the 139th pick overall. Days later he packed his bags and headed to the desert for his first professional development camp.
“It’s a great organization here. The building is new, and the team is elite along with the staff, coaches and everything,” Kallionkieli said.
While in Vegas, the 6-2 forward heard his name was selected yet again, this time by Kelly McCrimmon’s Brandon Wheat Kings as the 22nd overall pick of the Canadian Hockey League’s Import Draft, an annual event in which CHL teams select players without residency status in the US or Canada.
“Marcus is a really talented player,” said Wheat Kings Director of Scouting Darren Ritchie in the team’s press release. “He’s a big body, skates well and has a heavy shot. He’s a drafted NHL player and we’re hopeful that we can get him to Brandon this season.”
The summer for Kallionkieli wasn’t over just yet, as the Golden Knights signed their draft pick to a three-year entry level contact on July 31. He expects to return to Vegas in September for rookie camp, looking to build on a memorable summer.