2000 born KooKoo defensemen Santeri Salmela and Peetro Seppälä
Santeri Salmela stood out to me in the 2015-2016 season as a prospect who improved in each viewing and consistently made a positive impact on the ice. He was the captain of the Finnish U16 national team at the U16 four nations tournament in April. Salmela has excellent poise with the puck and he makes hard, accurate passes, whether it be a long or short one. His strong gap control and stick positioning make him difficult to get around. A consistent and defensively aware defenseman who can be used in key situations, I think he has more offensive upside than his stats in the U18 league would suggest. Salmela is also a good skater: he skates well laterally and backwards, plus he can stop and start quickly.
Peetro Seppälä was another player from KooKoo U18 and U16 teams with a few interesting qualities. His overall game was at a pretty strong level; puck skills could use some work. If I compare Salmela and Seppälä, they are pretty similar players in many ways: both make a good first pass, both have good size and they can shoot the puck from the point with quite good results. However, in my viewings Seppälä was more physical of the two in the corners and in front of the net, playing with more of an edge. I think Seppälä is more defensive minded and he is already fairly effective defensively. While Salmela was the better skater and more efficient/active in carrying the puck up the ice.