Born in Kuppio, Finland, Kimmo Timonen spent several years with his hometown Kalpa club and TPS Turku before making his NHL debut in 1998. He was originally drafted 250th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in 1993 but opted to stay home. In 1998 he helped his country win the bronze medal at the Nagano Olympics. A few months later he was traded to the expansion Nashville Predators.
In 1998-99 Timonen adjusted well to the NHL and helped the Preds remain fairly competitive. The next year he recorded 33 points and was used in a number of different situations. During the 2000-01, the clever rearguard helped Nashville improve to 80 points and scored 12 goals, including six on the powerplay. An offensively gifted defenceman, Timonen improved his offensive totals to 42 points in 2001-02 and 40 points in 2002-03 despite missing 12 games due to injury.
With five seasons under his belt, Timonen established a career high in points (12-32-44) during the 2003-04 season and helped lead the Preds' to their first playoff appearance in franchise history. He helped a surging Preds' club for another two seasons while setting new career highs in assists (42) and points (55) during the 2006-07 season. However, under new ownership the Predators opted to trade Timonen to the Philadelphia Flyers in the summer of 2007.
Aside his appearance at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, the Kuppio native has represented his homeland on numerous occasions, including; three times at the World Junior Championships (1993-1995), seven times at the World Championships (1996, 1998, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2005), while making a second and third trip to the Winter Olympics in 2002 and 2006 and two trips to the World Cup tournament (1996 and 2004).