2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup Preview
Finland will begin the 2017 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup tonight against the host team Slovakia. The Group B also features Canada and Russia. Here’s a preview of the Finnish team with notes on all 22 players.
Justus Annunen – Kärpät – 2018 NHL Draft
Annunen has very good poise and quick footwork. He is technically sound and performed consistently this past season. Expected to be starting goalie at the Hlinka tournament.
Kalle Nurmi – Lukko – 2018 NHL Draft
Nurmi has good rebound control and positioning in the crease. He doesn’t have many considerable weaknesses in his game, but could work on his quickness and athletic ability.
Anttoni Honka – JYP – 2019 NHL Draft
The younger brother of Dallas Stars defenseman Julius Honka, Anttoni is also an offensive-minded blueliner with a lot of offensive ability. His defensive reliability requires work and is very much a work in progress, however.
Juuso Ketola – Ässät – 2018 NHL Draft
Ketola has solid two-way potential given his strong skating ability and physical tools. He does occasionally try to do too much with the puck and needs to simplify his game, but his defensive zone coverage is above-average.
Mikko Kokkonen – Jukurit – 2019 NHL Draft
Kokkonen had an excellent season for Jukurit U20, recording 26 points in 38 games. He has an impressive, polished offensive skill set and great vision on the power play. He is physically strong for his age and can be a force in his own end, too.
Kim Nousiainen – KalPa – 2019 NHL Draft
Nousiainen was called up to KalPa U20 from the U18 team last season and really impressed at both levels. An agile, smooth skater with really good puck skills and can run a power play.
Jasper Rannisto – HIFK – 2019 NHL Draft
A late 2000 born defenseman, Rannisto has good overall mobility, a hard point shot and can play physically. However, his puck management and decision making are ares for improvement.
Iivari Räsänen – Tappara – 2019 NHL Draft
Räsänen is the other 2001 born defenseman alongside Kokkonen who made the final roster. The brother of Edmonton Oilers prospect Aapeli Räsänen is really strong, smart defensively and has some puck skills.
Santeri Salmela – KooKoo – 2018 NHL Draft
Salmela is a reliable blueliner who makes effective plays with the puck and a good first pass. He’s not a flashy player, but has adequate puck skills and good mobility.
Toni Utunen – Tappara – 2018 NHL Draft
Utunen was the only underage defenseman who represented Finland at the past U18 World Championships. He’ll be a key defenseman for the U18 team. He’s not the swiftest skater but solid all around and can move the puck quickly out of the zone.
Kaapo Kakko – TPS – 2019 NHL Draft
A top 2019 draft eligible Finnish forward, Kakko is an excellent skater with great acceleration and footwork. He can handle the puck at varying speeds, has good hockey sense and a heavy wrist shot.
Karri Kapanen – KalPa – 2019 NHL Draft
Kapanen is a good two-way player who won’t wow you with high-end plays, but still has some skill and a quick wrist shot. He will likely play on the third or fourth line.
Lenni Killinen – Espoo United – 2018 NHL Draft
Killinen is a tall, athletic winger with excellent mobility. He can beat defensemen by skating past them before driving towards the net. He has quick hands and great poise with the puck. A high upside prospect for next year’s draft.
Jesperi Kotkaniemi – Ässät – 2018 NHL Draft
Kotkaniemi is a complete center with great work ethic and awareness in all three zones. He carries the puck confidently and can both set up scoring chances and score goals. He could already play Top 6 minutes with Ässät in the Liiga this season.
Rasmus Kupari – Kärpät – 2018 NHL Draft
One of the top Finnish prospects for next year’s NHL Draft, Kupari is a reliable and versatile two-way forward. A powerful skater with strong work ethic and hockey sense. The Finnish U18 team has two excellent centers in Kupari and Kotkaniemi.
Matias Maccelli – TPS – 2019 NHL Draft
Maccelli is a highly skilled winger who is very elusive with the puck. He can stickhandle in tight spaces and has above-average speed and agility. Not a complete player at the moment, but has a lot of individual skill.
Jesse Moilanen – Jokerit – 2018 NHL Draft
Moilanen stood out with Jokerit U18 because of his playmaking skills and smooth skating. The center lacked size and strength to truly make an impact defensively, but he’s a smart player and can make high percentage plays in the offensive zone.
Eetu Mäki – Sport – 2018 NHL Draft
Mäki has very good puck handling skills and is a smooth skater. However, he is also small and thereby not very physical. He’s a forward who needs some time to develop, but has the skills to be a good pro player down the road.
Ville Petman – Lukko – 2018 NHL Draft
Petman had a solid season for Lukko U18. He plays a physical game, can get into traffic areas and drive to the net with the puck. He gets up and down the ice well. Has a hard shot and plays a dependable defensive game.
Sampo Ranta – Sioux City (USHL) – 2018 NHL Draft
Ranta is a very fast and smooth skater who handles the puck well and can attack to the net with speed. He put up six goals and nine points in 30 games for Sioux City Musketeers last season.
Samuel Salonen – Sioux City (USHL) – 2018 NHL Draft
At 6’3, Salonen has excellent size and utilizes it well to protect the puck and win battles. Great work ethic. He has a quick and hard wrist shot that can surprise goalies. He’s a pretty good, powerful skater, but mobility could get better. He’ll join teammate Ranta in USHL’s Sioux City.
Kristian Tanus – Tappara – 2018 NHL Draft
Tanus usually plays center but could be on the wing at the tournament. He’s a quick skater with very good hands and technical skills, but can be ineffective physically due to his lack of size.