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Prospect Update: Kalle Kossila
By Thomas Harrington
Since signing with the Ducks as a free agent in 2016, Kalle Kossila has scored over 100 points in the AHL over the last two seasons.
Last year, Kossila had a strong training camp and was among the final players cut and sent back to San Diego. He had a good start to the season with the Gulls, scoring six points in five games in October. Kossila played so well that he was called up to Anaheim and made his NHL season debut on October 24th in Philadelphia and recorded his first career assist. Two nights later in Florida, he followed that up with his first career goal. Overall, he played in 10 NHL games with the Ducks and scored one goal and two points. Most nights, he played about eight or nine minutes, but played a career high 12:41 in San Jose. In mid-November, Kossila returned to San Diego, where he played a few games before coming back up to Anaheim. He played in three more games with the Ducks before heading back to the Gulls, where he spent the rest of the season.
In San Diego, Kossila played in 55 games and scored 21 goals, 33 assists, and 54 points, averaging nearly a point per game. His 21 goals and 54 points were both career highs for him, and he led the Gulls in goals, assists, and points. He was one of the few players whose offense didn’t dry up in April, scoring seven points in six games, including two three-point nights.
Last year, I said that I expected Kossila to spend most of the season with the Gulls, but to hopefully get some playing time with Anaheim. Well, 10 NHL games certainly meets those expectations. I also hoped for at least 15 goals and 40 assists out of him. He didn’t meet that assist mark, but he bested the goal mark, so I’d say he met those expectations as well. Overall, Kossila had a very strong season as a member of both the Gulls and Ducks.
This coming season, my expectations for Kossila are similar to what I had a year ago. When he’s in San Diego, he needs to be one of their best players. If he plays enough games with them, he should lead them in points for the second season in a row. If he stays with the Gulls for most of the season, it would be great if he could lead San Diego back into the playoffs, especially after last season’s disappointing finish. When he’s in Anaheim, Kossila needs to show that he belongs in the NHL. Playing less than 10 minutes a night and scoring two points in 10 games won’t be enough this season; he needs to force his way into more ice time with solid play and by putting up more points. As a center and left winger, he’s one of the players who could be used to help fill in for Ryan Kesler if he misses significant time.
As a 25-year old, Kossila’s time as a prospect is nearing an end. With that in mind, this season Kossila really needs to show whether or not he’s got a shot at a full-time NHL job, or if he instead will forever be a very good player in the AHL who gets some NHL games every now and then. I’m confident that we’ll see him in Anaheim at some point this season, but it’s up to him to show that he deserves more time with the Ducks, both this season and in the future.
Kossila’s entry-level contract expired this summer, but he re-signed with Anaheim shortly after, becoming a restricted free agent on a one-year deal. He’ll be a restricted free agent again next summer. Assuming he has another strong season, I believe that the Ducks will want to extend him again next summer. However, whether or not Kossila looks like he’ll be in the NHL or AHL most of the time will greatly influence the type of contract he gets. If the Ducks feel like he’s an AHL player going forward, they may try to sign him to an AHL only deal, similar to what Corey Tropp signed in July. Or, if he shows that he belongs in the NHL, he could be in line for a similar deal to the one he just signed. Unless he absolutely scores at a stunning pace with the Ducks, I don’t think he’ll get a one-way contract next summer.
The next prospect update will be on Maxime Comtois. For more prospect articles visit DucksNPucks.com
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September 2nd, 2018