Jackals bring back veteran defenseman Kaunisto

ELMIRA, N.Y. – The Elmira Jackals, ECHL affiliate of the NHL’s Buffalo Sabres and AHL’s Rochester Americans, announced the team has signed veteran defenseman Steven Kaunisto to a contract for the 2016-17 season.

Kaunisto joins the Jackals for his seventh professional season and his second stint in Elmira. During his first campaign with the Jackals, which came during the 2012-13 season, the 29-year-old skated in 30 games and tallied 10 points (3g-7a) while ranking fifth on the team with a +13 rating.

Kaunisto split the 2015-16 season between the Brampton Beast and Kalamazoo Wings. After joining Brampton midseason, Kaunisto registered 22 points (6g-16a) in 49 games. He began the season with Kalamazoo and had four assists in 12 games for the Wings.

The Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.native has skated in 315 career professional games between the ECHL and Central Hockey League. In 128 regular season ECHL games, he has 47 points (11g-36a) and 38 penalty minutes, splitting time with Elmira, Reading, Rapid City, Florida, Kalamazoo and Brampton.

Prior to turning pro, Kaunisto appeared in 154 games at Lake Superior State, where he added 59 points (14g-45a). He spent one season in the USHL with the Cedar Rapids Roughriders, appearing in 57 games.