The Canadiens have signed centre Joonas Nattinen to a three-year, two-way contract today.  Nattinen is the third European-developed player to be put under Canadiens contract in the last two weeks, joining Russian defenseman Alexander Yemelin and Swiss defending Raphael Diaz.  Nattinen was the Canadiens second pick (65th) in the 2009 draft.

According to 2011 scouting reports,

“Nattinen has size (6’2” – 182 pounds) and has a good touch with the puck.  Will need to bulk up.   Very competitive. Defensively responsible.  Finishes his checks and enjoys that part of the game.  Some have him in the top five among Finnish players still playing in their native country.  Good at faceoffs.  Centred the Finnish Juniors top line at the 2011 WJC.    He’ll join another big European centre, Andreas Engqvist at Hamilton next season as the Canadiens continue to address their lack of size at the centre ice position.”

From the Canadiens Publicity Department –

 

MONTREAL (May 26, 2011) – Montreal Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier announced today the signing of centreman Joonas Nattinen to a three-year, two-way contract. As per club policy, financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

“We are very pleased to have reached an agreement with Joonas Nattinen. Joonas is a promising young

player with size and skills. Despite his young age, he proved to be a very good player in a competitive

professional league in Finland for the past two seasons, and also was a key member of the Finnish national team at the World Juniors last year,” said Canadiens general manager Pierre Gauthier.

Nattinen registered two assists and served 12 penalty minutes in 21 games with Espoo and Hämeenlinna

of the SM-Liiga (Finland) in 2010-11. Nattinen, 20, added two assists in four games with Espoo (Junior A SMLiiga) and Suomi (Finland2).

In three seasons with Espoo and Hämeenlinna in the SM-Liiga, the 6’2’’, 186 lbs centre totalled 5

assists with 20 penalty minutes in 58 games. Nattinen recorded 55 points (16 goals, 39 assists) in 51 career games in the Junior A SM-Liiga.

Nattinen was part of the Finnish team at the last three World Junior Championships (Ottawa – 2009,

Saskatchewan – 2010 and Buffalo – 2011). He registered 10 points (4 goals, 6 assists) in 18 contests, including three goals in six games at the 2011 Championship.

A native of Jämsä, Finland, Nattinen was the Canadiens’ second pick (third round, 65th overall) at the 2009 NHL Entry