Finns in the 2011 NHL draft - A draft preview

Discussion in 'NHL Draft - Prospects' started by Tormentor, Apr 29, 2011.

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  1. Tormentor

    Tormentor Registered User

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    1. RW - Joel Armia (Ässät), 31-MAY-93, 6’4’’ / 192 lbs, R
    Has the tools of a goal scorer in a big frame; composure, very good hands, an accurate and hard wrist shot with a good release. And what’s even more important; he loves shooting and has no problem going to the net. Creates some scoring chances with his ability to challenge defensemen in one-on-one situations, but becomes more effective when lined up with a good playmaker. He’s well aware of his surroundings and knows how to set up plays as well, but by nature he’s more of a goal scorer. Not an elite two-way player, but knows what is required from him and fulfils his defensive duties. There are times when he’s not the most visible player on the ice, but he’s a big threat in the offensive zone. Already a good player among men and will likely just get better once he gains more experience and adds some muscle to that somewhat scrawny frame. Has definite NHL potential - he’s talented, determined, focused and confident. Projection: 1st round.

    2. GK - Christopher Gibson (Chicoutimi Sagueneens), 27-DEC-92, 6'0.5" / 193 lbs, L
    An athletic goalie with good technique and quickness. He’s balanced, his moves are controlled and he has an excellent net coverage. He moves really well on his skates and has a strong command of his crease. He fights to get a good view of the game, reads the play quite nicely and has a pretty good rebound control. It’s hard not to like what he brings to the table, he’s a big time competitor and on a good night a true difference maker, a star of the game. He needs to improve his lateral movement from post to post. His below average performance during the key events of the season might have left some room for speculation, i.e. the play-offs, U20 national team games in August and the CHL top prospect game. His reoccurring knee injury could in someway affect his valuation as well. Goalies are hard to predict, but Gibson has many qualities which should help him make the transition to pro level. Projection: 2nd or 3rd round.

    3. GK – Samu Perhonen (JYP), 07-MAR-93, 6’4’’ / 172 lbs, L
    A huge butterfly goalie with good athletic ability, flexibility and technical prowess, it's rare to see such a big goalie showing so much promise at such an early age. He’s composed, confident and plays with a wide stance that covers the lower corners really well. Often goes down quite early and has bit of a tendency to stay there for too long. He needs to improve his stick work and handling of the puck. He’s a Jr.A champion from this season, so he can definitely be a winning goalie behind a strong team defence, but as the WU18C’s showed, he’s still fairly green and inexperienced so he needs to get more tough games under his belt. A lot of work is required, but he doesn’t have any alarming flaws in his game. He has a very nice foundation for future development, so one might say that he has plenty of potential and could very well develop into a NHL goalie someday. Projection: 3rd or 4th round.

    4. C/W - Miikka Salomäki (Kärpät), 09-MAR-93, 5’11’’ / 194 lbs, L
    A hard working smallish power forward with a tremendous drive and desire. Reliable and a steady performer, tough, extremely competitive and has a good physical presence on the ice. Strong on his skates, has a good balance and knows how to protect the puck. Shows willingness to engage in puck battles and isn’t afraid of going full throttle to the net. Can play all forward positions and is reliable defensively. His skating speed has improved by leaps and bounds during the last year, but he’s still slightly heavy footed, which could impose a problem going forward, since his potential NHL role is seen first and foremost as an energetic checking line forward. He needs to work on his shot in order to become a better scoring threat. Spent the season playing 3rd/4th line minutes and it really didn’t help develop his offensive game that much. He’s a strong player for his age, so you probably won’t see too much improvement in that sector. Projection: 3rd, 4th or 5th round.

    5. D – Jyrki Jokipakka (Ilves), 20-AUG-91, 6’3’’ / 192lbs, L
    A mobile, big, rangy defenseman with a good sense for the game. A true late bloomer, two years ago as a first time draft eligible player he was still playing in a U18 league and no one probably paid much attention to him. Has grown since then and moved up a level per year, ending to SM-liiga this season. He has good awareness and plays a solid positional game. Moves the puck pretty well under pressure and is a pretty good puck rusher. He’s active, disciplined and able of playing big minutes. Uses his stick well in defensive situations, but isn’t very physical which could be a turn off for some NHL teams. His play during WJC’s showed that he can contribute offensively if given the chance, so if his development continues, he might turnout to be a viable two-way defenseman. As of now he’s a decent PP quarterback, but his shot isn’t anything special and it often takes too long to get it off. Projection: 4th, 5th or 6th round.

    6. CE - Markus Granlund (HIFK), 16-APR-93, 5’10’’ / 170 lbs, L
    A smallish playmaking centre forward, younger brother of Minnesota’s first rounder from last year; Mikael Granlund. Has very good offensive instincts and creativity, an able passer and at his best on power play where he can play the point as well. Calm and skilled with the puck, has a pretty nice wrister. Not very shifty, explosive or dynamic, as a smallish player he should be a better skater. He needs to get faster and stronger, so that he can open more ice for himself and succeed better in puck battles. Overall his physical game is poor, he likes to stay inside his comfort zone and on most nights he doesn’t look like a full blooded hockey player, could definitely have a higher competitive drive. He has plenty of offensive potential and his future in hockey depends largely on how much he’ll be able to improve his weaknesses. Nevertheless he’s still years away from reaching his prime. Projection: 4th, 5th or 6th round.

    7. CE - Alexander Ruuttu (Jokerit), 09-DEC-92, 6’1’’ / 183lbs, R
    A competitive and smart centre forward with good wheels, strong in the face-off circle and can be used in all situations. Son of a former NHL’er Christian Ruuttu and was actually born in Chicago while his dad played for the Blackhawks. He plays a fairly straightforward game and is a pretty good checker, his style of play should be fitting for North American rinks. He’s fairly aggressive, doesn’t hold back and plays with a slight edge. He has a nose for the net and a decent shot, so he can provide secondary scoring. He has grown a lot during the last two years. Getting bigger and stronger has helped his game, and improved his confidence and courage on the ice. He’s still a pretty scrawny kid and it’s going to take some time for him to grow into his body. He’s still very much a project and needs improvement in all areas of the game, but there’s enough potential to warrant a draft pick IMO. Projection: 5th, 6th or 7th round.

    8. RW- Sami Salminen (HIFK), 12-APR-93, 6’5’’ / 203 lbs, R

    A huge forward with a nice set of hands and fairly good offensive instincts. He’s not very physical, but it’s not easy to tail him when he uses his reach advance together with his puck skills. Good around the net and has a good scoring touch, but needs to improve his shot from further away. He’s still growing into his body and having slight problems with coordination. Technically his skating is pretty good, but he needs more speed, continuity and reaction quickness to his movement. He could have better anticipation of how the play develops, because this alongside with his lacking mobility means that he’s quite often left behind the play and therefore unable to contribute fully, both offensively and defensively. Needs more confidence. A boom or bust type of prospect, I think some team will try to hit a home run with a late round pick and drafts him. It’s unlikely that he ever makes it, but if he does, the reward could be grand. Projection: 5th, 6th or 7th round.

    9. D – Samuli Piipponen (Saipa), 13-FEB-93, 6’3’’ / 180 lbs, L
    A big all-around defenseman. His game is far from polished, but that’s understandable given his extensive injury history. He could be a surprise, if he manages to stay healthy for a change and work on his game. There’s plenty of untapped potential and under the right coaching he could develop into a fine player. He’s a hard working player who wants to make a difference on the ice. Played over 25 minutes a game for the last placed team in Jr.A and carried a lot on his shoulders, exhibited leadership and contributed in all areas of the game. Moves pretty well and has adequate puck skills. Has a good physical presence and balance, does well in puck battles. His lack of exposure (played only 21 games during the regular season) and the fact that he’s so raw means that it’s fairly unlikely that he gets drafted, but IMO he’s worth keeping an eye on. He’s the only 93-born Finnish defenseman that I really like. Projection: Possible late round pick.


    Honorable mention:

    -. RW/LW - Mika Partanen (Mississauga St.Michael's Majors), 18-OCT-92, 6’2’’ / 200 lbs, L
    A big winger with pretty good wheels, has good acceleration and straight line speed. Knows how to shield the puck and has pretty good puck handling skills. Has good size and strength, but doesn’t use them as an asset as much as he should. Was unable to acquire a top-6 role in one of the top teams in CHL and didn’t really shine enough in other roles.

    -. D – Henri Auvinen (JYP), 21-FEB-93, 6’1’’ / 185 lbs, L
    Not a very strong skater, has some tendency of trying to play the physical game, but doesn’t really have the means to do so yet. Knows how to give a decent first pass, but doesn’t show much creativity offensively. Fairly reliable defensively and has solid positioning. Apparently he has received some attention form scouts, but personally I don’t see what the fuss is about. Maybe I’ve been watching the wrong games.

    -. CE – Joel Mustonen (Skellefteå), 18-SEP-92, 5’10’’ / 170 lbs, L
    An energetic forward with good skating ability. Has a pretty good skill set, wants to be involved with the game and plays for the team. Has suffered form back injuries during the last few seasons and it has affected his development. He’s an interesting prospect, but based on what I’ve seen I’m not sure if he’s a NHL prospect.

    -. GK – Timo Niemi (HIFK), 16-SEP-92, 6’1’’ / 185 lbs, L
    One of those Finnish goalies that don’t receive much attention behind the more hyped ones. Forced the U18 national team goalie Richard Ullberg to change team, because of his good play. Played his first national team games with the U19 team just two weeks ago. It’s worth keeping an eye on how he develops from now on.
     
  2. Latex*

    Latex* Guest

    Very much appreciated!


    Again.
     
  3. HalbertGil*

    HalbertGil* Guest

    Nice list.
     
  4. No Kokkonen in the HM's?
     
  5. good to see some upcoming prospects with decent size from Finland. Too many smurfs coming from there.
     
  6. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    Great read :handclap:

    Hoping if a D-man with a better upside isn't available Tampa takes Armia in the first round. Hopefully they take Gibson or Perhonen as well
     
  7. McDNicks17

    McDNicks17 Moderator

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    Unfortunately, I think it's safe to say Tampa's pick will be about 10-14 spots too late for Armia.
     
  8. Pajicz

    Pajicz Registered User

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    Agree, I've seen Niemi playing couple times, and he obviously has some potential. Don't know why he hasn't been mentioned earlier.
     
  9. Tormentor

    Tormentor Registered User

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    As I stated earlier, he almost regressed from last season. He seemed lost on the ice, doing wrong things at a wrong time. Had a very poor season and didn't show much if any progress in his game.
     
  10. Eyelanders

    Eyelanders Registered User

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    That list is very well done and includes excellent descriptions of the players, plus good projections. It´s actually pretty much in the same order as I see this year´s draft´s Finnish players. I don´t know much about Piipponen, he moved to play for SaiPa, but it´s nice to see that he has some good potential. Good to see that Niemi is on the "Honorable Mentions" - unlikely gets drafted, but he´s a good goalie.
     
  11. Man, Tomi Wilenius and Jesper Kokkonen... I had some high high high hopes for you guys. :(
     
  12. SurMartin

    SurMartin Registered User

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    Anders Östberg, a respectable swedish journalist who watches the junior-leagues, has Joel Mustonen is at 13th on his list of players in Sweden.
    http://translate.google.com/transla...n-anders-ostbergs-****giltiga-topp-50-ranking
    I think he's pretty right in his assessment that he could just as easily be drafted in the third round as he could be completely overlooked. Very difficult to say how far he can go.

    Got to play a couple of games with his SEL-team in january and did show promise though. He has signed a 3-year development contract with his SEL-team but I think he will be loaned to a team in SEL-2 next season.
     
  13. chasespace

    chasespace Registered User

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    If I were to bet I think it'd be safe to say you'd clean out my wallet but here's to hoping he slides just enough down the board.
     
  14. helicecopter

    helicecopter Registered User

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    thx tormentor, your contribution is always appreciated.

    One name i was expecting to see here somewhere is Hannikainen, when i saw him it looked to me he could eventually develop into a player.. but obviously it was way too little of a sample so i guess there is something missing there, as he doesn't even get a HM..

    hands maybe? that's the one thing that seemed most suspect to me.
     
  15. Tormentor

    Tormentor Registered User

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    Markus Hännikäinen has good size, works hard and has very good chemistry with his Jokerit buddies Rekonen and Henritius. As a line they have a good checking game and know how to cycle the puck along the boards. As an individual he's not the most creative player and his puck skills could be better. Not the smoothest skater either, for example his pivots could be better coordinated. He scored a nice goal against Czech Republic at the WU18C's, but he's not a constant offensive threat and I don't think he has top-6 potential. He has some potential as a checking line forward, but personally I wouldn't draft him. That's not to say that he couldn't go in the 6th or 7th round, but that applies to Heikki Liedes as well, who’s a somewhat similar player with Hännikäinen.
     
  16. helicecopter

    helicecopter Registered User

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    oh, never implied that either ;)

    thx for the reply btw
     
  17. Lukas

    Lukas Registered User

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    Niklas Kekki

    What about Niklas Kekki-G he plays for Assat U-20
    He is small 5'10, but had a relitivley good season with a 2.47 G.A.A. and .926 Save %
    I remember him at the end of last year being touted as a top Finnish goalie along with Ullberg, We have all seen Ullbergs slide, but Kekki just faded away, for no good reason. In my opinion besides the fact that he is small Kekki is still solid and the 3rd best finnish goalie available behind Gibson and Perhonen. Any insight on him would be helpful?
     
  18. Czechexpert

    Czechexpert Registered User

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    I have seen Hännikäinen on several occasion and I entirely agree with your opinion. I would only add that I like him as penalty killer.
     
  19. Korkki

    Korkki Registered User

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    Kekki is quite small, but Ässät has quite good goalie coaching at the moment. For goalie of 21st century he seems to be too small.

    If thinking only from local side I would consider Santeri Arousva as a long shot, he has battled with injuries and he is also quite small but he still has the skills. However, I think if everything goes well next season he might get drafted then. He was a lot bigger prospect than Armia two years ago, but past two seasons have not been very good.
     
  20. Tormentor

    Tormentor Registered User

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    If a goalie like Benjamin Conz goes undrafted, I don't think there's any hope for Kekki. To me Kekki looks more like 5'9'', a small goalie in modern era hockey. Small Finnish goalies like Jani Nieminen, Mika Järvinen, Sasu Hovi and Petri Koivisto are doing fairly well in Europe, so Kekki might develop into something similar, but NHL seems far-fetched.
     

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