50 Players, 50 Days: Niclas Puikkonen
March 24, 2020
During the current and unforeseen cancelation of the 2019-20 season, the players in the NAHL saw their seasons cut prematurely short. In some cases, players saw their junior hockey careers come to an end as well. However, the NAHL got together a decided to highlight some of those players, who were born in 1999 and were in their final season of playing junior hockey.
As a result, we present a new series entitled: 50 players in 50 days.
50 players in 50 days will select 50 players from each of the 26 NAHL teams this past season that were born in 1999, are currently uncommitted, and deserve some recognition during their time spent playing and developing in the NAHL. Over the course of the next 50 days, we will take time out to look at their accomplishments, review their season, and provide some background on their NAHL careers. Players will be initially highlighted in alphabetical order by team. Enjoy!
Niclas Puikkonen, forward, Amarillo Bulls
While not a rookie, the 2019-20 season was the first in the NAHL this season for Amarillo Bulls and NAHL Top Prospects forward Niclas Puikkonen. The 21-year-old from Stockholm, Sweden, made an instant impact for the Bulls this season.
Puikkonen (6’1/198) finished 3rd in team scoring this season with 44 points (12 goals, 32 assists) in 54 games played. His 32 assists tied for the team lead and his +24 rating was 2nd.
Puikkonen was selected to and played in the 2020 NAHL Top Prospects Tournament for the South Division team, where he had one point in two games.
“Niclas was a huge part of our success this season. He is a 200-foot center that defends well, makes plays, wins his draws and generates offense. He is very good in pressure situations and is impactful every time he touches the ice. I have no doubt that he will be an excellent player at the NCAA Division 1 level,” said Bulls head coach Rocky Russo.
This is Puikkonen’s first season of playing hockey in North America, as prior to this season, he played junior hockey in Finland for Jokerit and also in Sweden for Djurgardens.