FinnProspects

Prospect ranking 7 / 2018-19

Published 2019-06-18

1. (▶) Kaapo Kakko

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-02-13 / Turku, Finland
Height 187 cm
Weight 84 kg
Team: TPS

“One of the most talented, if not the most talented Finnish player ever. Skilled and smart winger should deserves at least a consideration for the first overall pick.” – Asko Huuki

“Kakko shined almost all season and deserves the top spot. Kakko is a big-bodied forward with tremendous potential in the NHL. He has extremely solid puck skills and shooting abilities. His skating is a bit above average. He has all the tools to be a possession monster with dangerous playmaking and effective goal scoring. Kakko is truly a game-breaking prospect.” – Markus Suhonen

“Elite playmaker with high-end goal-scoring abilities. Puck-possession beast with high-end puck skills and creativity.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Best Finnish draft-eligible prospect since Aleksander Barkov. Extremely well-rounded and mature, doesn’t have any real weaknesses.” – Lassi Alanen

“A very complete player with almost no weaknesses. Protects the puck like Peter Forsberg, shoots accurately and sees the game at an elite level.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: picks 1-2

2. (▶) Ville Heinola

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-03-02 / Honkajoki, Finland
Height 180 cm
Weight 80 kg
Team: Lukko

“I see glimpses of Miro Heiskanen in him, but he’s not as flashy as the Dallas Stars rookie. More of a great overall package than a superstar in any area.” – Antti Wennström

“Offensive defenseman with great edge work and puck-skills. Needs to add strength to his arms and legs, and also improve defensive play.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Reads the game very well and adapted his game well at the Liiga level. He is good at everything, but lacks high-end offensive tools. ” – Lassi Alanen

“A prototypical modern defenseman with good mobility, high hockey IQ and above-average offensive skills. Relies on his stick and skating quite a lot in the defensive zone, but excels on the power play and joins eagerly in the rushes.” – Miika Arponen

“Smart and mobile defenseman, who plays solid all-around game with his strengths. Heinola is an offensive threat combined with a high IQ. He could improve in the defensive zone but he has all the qualities to be an effective two-way puck mover.” – Markus Suhonen

“Heinola is probably the most interesting Finnish defender in this draft class. His performance in a pro game was exciting and he continued to improve as the season progressed. He needs to improve his game at the own zone, but he most likely offers enough offensively to be selected in the first round.”  – Asko Huuki

Where we think he should be picked: picks 15-30

3. (1) Patrik Puistola

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-01-11 / Tampere, Finland
Height 183 cm
Weight 79 kg
Team: Tappara

“Dangerous, smart and crafty. These are the words I would describe Puistola when talking about his game. Puistola excelled in Mestis, Finland’s second-highest league, and U18 World Championship this season. He has great playmaking skills but he separates himself from others with his nose for goal scoring. Puistola has to improve his skating in order to make it to the NHL.” – Markus Suhonen

“A good all-round forward with nose for the net. A lethal shot and good vision as well. Needs to get more explosiveness in his first strides.” – Miika Arponen

“One of the most skilled players in the entire draft. High-end puck skills, dangerous release and underrated vision. His skating is ok, but stride could use a bit more explosiveness. ” – Lassi Alanen

“Puistola is very raw, but I am really interested in his offensive skill. He needs to refine his game a bit and he needs at least couple of years of development, but his skill, smarts and shot should make him a very good player when it’s all said and done.” – Asko Huuki

“Excellent goal-scorer with good playmaking abilities. Competes really well, a great backchecker, and a good penalty-killer.”  – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: picks 25-45

4. (1) Lassi Thomson

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2000-09-24 / Tampere, Finland
Height 182 cm
Weight 84 kg
Team: Ilves

“He has developed into a very good skater over the past two seasons. Has a very powerful slap shot from the point and uses his body well in the defensive zone.” – Lassi Alanen

“Offensive defenseman with a bomb of a shot. A very good skater who needs to improve his playmaking and defensive play.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“He is a mobile defenceman with really good puck-handling skills. His passing and poise are very good and he gives everything he have on ice. He makes occasionally bad decisions at the defensive zone, but that should improve in time.” – Asko Huuki

“Thomson specializes in moving puck and being the player who can be counted on to deliver the puck to the offensive zone. Thomson also shines with his skating abilities and quick first steps, which creates separation speed.” – Markus Suhonen

Where we think he should be picked: 2nd round

5. (2) Mikko Kokkonen

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-01-18 / Mikkeli, Finland
Height 181 cm
Weight 90 kg
Team: Jukurit

“Kokkonen is pretty complete package already and he had a good season in Liiga. However I have to question his ceiling. He occasionally shows flashes of excellence at the offensive zone and he has improved his defensive positioning, but none of his qualities really stands out and there might not be as much unused offensive potential left, especially since he is physically very mature for a player of his age already.” – Asko Huuki

“I really like him as a complete defenseman. His hockey sense seems high, which is a very important quality for a modern team player to have. The question is whether his physical skills and skating can still improve to make him a regular core player on the highest level.” – Antti Wennström

“Two-way defenseman who is mature beyond his years both physically and mentally. Lacks high-end tools which limits his upside.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Kokkonen is an all-round defenseman with solid defensive qualities. Kokkonen’s gap control is good and with his skating he can catch opponents with ease. The Finn’s offensive potential is limited, though.” – Markus Suhonen

“Had a great season point-wise, but doesn’t have the same kind of upside players like Thomson and Honka have.” – Lassi Alanen

“A player that is good in everything but not elite in anything. Has as much upside to be a second or third-pairing defenseman as anyone, but despite the promising point totals doesn’t project to be a puck-mover on the highest level.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 2nd round

6. (▶) Anttoni Honka

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2000-10-05 / Jyväskylä, Finland
Height 179 cm
Weight 80 kg
Team: JYP

“Risky offensive defenseman with average size. A great skater with high-end puck-skills and creativity but needs to improve decision-making and defensive play.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“There are very few, if any, defensemen in this draft class with as high offensive upside as Honka. His skating is high-end and his offensive toolbox is very large. On the other hand, he often is a liability in the defensive zone and he also has even too much poise dangling near the blue line.” – Miika Arponen

“Had a difficult season jumping between different teams, but still has tons of offensive potential. Very mobile, has very good hands and can quarterback a power play effectively.” – Lassi Alanen

“Honka’s game focuses on moving puck and generating offensive that way. The Finn has an ability to make flashy and effective passes but his passes lead to turnovers occasionally. Honka’s offensive IQ is still a bit of a mystery, but with patient coaching his strengths can be used on 5-on-5 and power play.” – Markus Suhonen

“It is extremely hard to predict Honka. With his skill and speed, he could become really good player if everything clicks. However his size and hockey sense are questionable and if he is not able to improve his decision-making, he will have big problems in pro game. Potential is there, but he is definitely one of those high risk, high reward players.” – Asko Huuki

Where we think he should be picked: late 2nd – early 3rd round

7. (3) Tuukka Tieksola

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Right
Born: 2001-06-22 / Jääli, Finland
Height 178 cm
Weight 71 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Raw but potential playmaking winger. His passing and vision are stellar. He needs to bulk up and prove himself at the pro level, but the qualities are there.” – Asko Huuki

“Tieksola is one of this year’s black horses. The Finn elevated his game through the season and increased the interest in him. Tieksola’s puck skills are well-rounded and he can make plays on a high level.” – Markus Suhonen

“Playmaking winger with high-end skating, vision, creativity and passing skills. Needs to add a lot of strength and improve his shot and defensive play.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“One of the most underrated players in the draft. Skates well, has high-end vision and playmaking. Lots of potential for growth as well.” – Lassi Alanen

“A raw talent with loads of upside around his skating and puck-handling skills as well as his hockey IQ. Needs to learn to train and live like an athlete and gain a lot of strength to be some day able to make it in the NHL.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: late 2nd – 3rd round

8. (1) Antti Tuomisto

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2001-01-20 / Pori
Height 194 cm
Weight 88 kg
Team: Ässät

“I would draft Tuomisto pretty high just based on potential. He is still very raw, he still needs to become comfortable with his body, fill up his frame and he definitely needs to improve his skating. But if he is able to improve his skating, his overall skill-set, offensive potential, hockey IQ and defensive positioning should make him an excellent defenceman.”  – Asko Huuki

“Tall and lanky offensive defenseman with loads of raw potential. Needs to improve his skating and defensive play.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A lanky two-way defenceman who has surprising amounts of speed for his size. Puck skills are very average, which makes me question his offensive ceiling.” – Lassi Alanen

“I’ve often compared Tuomisto to Esa Lindell, and I’m doing it again. The combination of size, speed and defensive awareness is very intriguing. There are question marks around his offensive upside and skating skills, but he should nevertheless be picked in the early rounds.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 3rd round

9. (2) Leevi Aaltonen

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-01-24 / Mikkeli, Finland
Height 175 cm
Weight 76 kg
Team: KalPa

“Undersized winger who competes hard and can do a lot of things offensively. A great skater and a fine defensive player as well.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A speed demon with a broad repertoire of puck-handling skills, tricks and dangles. Can hold on to the puck with his skating and puck-skills for a long time and also possesses an above-average wrist shot. The size is the obvious question mark, and he also sometimes stays a bit too much on the perimeter.” – Miika Arponen

“Aaltonen has been on the radar for a long time, but his development has not been quite as quick as expected. His vision and skill are bit average, but he is one of the best skaters in this draft class and that trait alone should make him interesting prospect. ” – Asko Huuki

“One of the best skaters in the entire draft class. Speed and acceleration are high-end. Has developed into a dangerous shooter, but has also pretty good vision.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: 3rd – early 4th round

10. (2) Henri Nikkanen

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-04-28 / Mikkeli, Finland
Height 189 cm
Weight 84 kg
Team: Jukurit

“Had an injury-filled season, but has still lots of desirable qualities as a big center who can skate and pass well. Hockey sense has been a bit of a red flag in the past.” – Lassi Alanen

“Talented center with great size. A very good skater who can both make plays and finish them. Injuries are a major concern.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“It was a disappointing season for Nikkanen. He started the season in Liiga, but struggled to get a role and later on he suffered heavy injury. Two-way centerman has some good qualities, he knows how to defend and he has intriguing size, but his draft stock has definitely declined.” – Asko Huuki

“Nikkanen was touted even as a potential top 10 pick as lately as a year ago. His draft season was ruined by injuries and he was struggling in Liiga even before that. The potential is still there, and big centers with good mobility are often a sought-after commodity in the draft.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 4th round

11. (1) Matias Maccelli

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2000-10-14 / Turku, Finland
Height 180 cm
Weight 77 kg
Team: Ilves

“The forward is the kind of player who might wow and frustrate you at the same game. Maccelli still doesn’t utilize his team mates well enough and I would like to see extra shift in his skating. However he gives very crafty passes ath the offensive zone and his skill and stick-handling abilities are joy to behold.” – Asko Huuki

“Definition of high-risk, high-reward. Hands, vision and shot are all very good. Lacks pace in his game which could limit him at the pro level. – Lassi Alanen

“Offensive winger who can score goals and make plays. There are some concerns about his attitude and play without the puck.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: 4th round

12. (1) Marcus Kallionkieli

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-03-20 / Helsinki, Finland
Height 186 cm
Weight 87 kg
Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

“Good complementary goal-scoring winger who needs to play with talented players because he doesn’t drive the offense the way he should.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Goal-scoring winger with a good instincts in front of the net. Production stagnated when he wasn’t able to play with high-end linemates.” – Lassi Alanen

“The winger is bit too one-dimensional in my opinion to be drafted early. But he has the size and especially he knows how to score, a trait that should not be overlooked.” – Asko Huuki

“A prototypical third-line winger with above-average goal-scoring abilities but almost nothing else. Can thrive with good linemates and has the qualities to make in the NHL in right circumstances.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 4th round

13. (2) Antti Saarela

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-06-27 / Laitila, Finland
Height 180 cm
Weight 83 kg
Team: Ilves

“To be honest, I’m not a fan of Saarela. He has the skill, but to me, his play without the puck and the offensive vision are big worries. He might be better as a winger, but I think his NHL potential is questionable.”  – Asko Huuki

“Has played center in junior but projects to be a winger as a pro. A complementary offensive player with very good skating ability and work ethic.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Looked just fine at the U20 level, but picked up things once he got called up to play for the Liiga team. Good skater, decent playmaking and shot. Projects as a winger rather than center at the pro level.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: 4th round

14. (4) Juuso Pärssinen

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-02-01 / Hämeenlinna, Finland
Height 188 cm
Weight 92 kg
Team: TPS

“One of the players that can surprise in the draft by getting picked earlier than most anticipate. Doesn’t have scoring-line upside but has decent to good qualities in all areas of the game.” – Miika Arponen

“The reliable two-way centerman improved his performance as the season progressed and he was one of the better Finns in disappointing U18 World Championship. I would like to see more from him offensively, but his size, vision and defensive reliability are interesting assets.” – Asko Huuki

“Two-way center with great size. Lacks high-end offensive tools which limits his upside but solid defensive game can take him to the NHL.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Well-rounded skill set. Projects as a bottom six center. Big body, good presence around the net.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: 4th round

15. (1) Kalle Loponen

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2001-03-13 / Hämeenlinna, Finland
Height 181 cm
Weight 85 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Good skater who isn’t afraid to throw his body around. Bomb of a slap shot. Still work-in-progress defensively.”  – Lassi Alanen

“What Loponen offers to the table is offense. The defender played this season mostly in Mestis with respectable numbers and he was pretty productive in U18 national team too. He needs to step in in defensive game though.” – Asko Huuki

“Offensive defenseman with a great shot and very good skating ability. Needs to improve his play without the puck.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A very nice shot and sharp passes. A nice-moving defenseman, who just isn’t very good defensively. A long shot project player who might be worth a shot if playing and training under the right guidance.” – Antti Wennström

Where we think he should be picked: late 4th – early 5th round

16. (▶) Kim Nousiainen

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2000-11-14 / Kuopio, Finland
Height 175 cm
Weight 77 kg
Team: KalPa

“Undersized defencemen need to excel at something in order to get drafted and Nousiainen might have enough to offer. Yes, he is small, he needs more muscle and his defensive game is still work in progress, but his speed, acceleration and stickhandling abilities are very good and these abilities might give pretty good reward in the end.”  – Asko Huuki

“Another smallish defenceman who can skate very well. Has some offensive upside and can run a power play” – Lassi Alanen

“Risky offensive defenseman with average size. A great playmaking ability and creativity. Needs to improve his play without the puck.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: 5th – 6th round

17. (2) Aku Räty

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Right
Born: 2001-07-05 / Oulu
Height 183 cm
Weight 77 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Does lots of things well. Speed, compete and playmaking are all good, but lack of high-end qualities might limit him as a NHL prospect.” – Lassi Alanen

“Räty is a winger with limited upside, but he might become an useful role player. He has an excellent work ethic, good wheels and he knows his limitations. He also has pretty heavy shot.” – Asko Huuki

“Complementary two-way winger with no standout skills. Potential to be a bottom-six winger at the NHL level.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A solid late round pick with potential to be an effective bottom-six winger that can be played in all situations.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 5th – 6th round

18. (2) Kristian Tanus

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2000-08-17 / Tampere, Finland
Height 172 cm
Weight 72 kg
Team: Tappara

“Undersized playmaker with improved goal-scoring ability. Very creative and extremely smart as a player but size and skating are concerning.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Tanus was passed in last years draft mostly due to his size. This problem hasn’t changed, but he was over point per game in Mestis and he started to adjust to Liiga level during the season in a loan spell in Jukurit. Tanus is skilled, defensively sound center with really good vision and he deserves to be considered in later rounds thanks to these assets. ” – Asko Huuki

“Got passed over last year, but should get picked this year. High-end playmaker. Tiny and doesn’t skate that well for his size. ” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: 6th round

19. (2) Iivari Räsänen

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-05-23 / Tampere, Finland
Height 183 cm
Weight 88 kg
Team: Tappara

“Team Finland’s captain in U18 World Championship. Räsänen is pretty good for a player of his age and overall he offers decent offensive and defensive skills. However I think it is questionable if he will have the NHL potential.” – Asko Huuki

“Two-way defenseman who is mature beyond his years physically. A reliable player who lacks high-end skills which limits his upside.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Does a lot of things well, but lack of high-end qualities might limit his potential. Can play in any situation and log big minutes. Projects as a third-pairing guy at best.” – Lassi Alanen

“A light version of Mikko Kokkonen. Good in everything, but no high-end potential. Can carve out a good career through hard work and solid play in all areas of the game.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 6th round

20. (NEW) Jami Krannila

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2000-10-03 / Pori
Height 178 cm
Weight 73 kg
Team: Sioux Falls Stampede (USHL)

“Krannila is a smooth-skating centerman with pretty interesting playmaking abilities. Overall, his game needs some refining and he needs to add some muscle as he is pretty small. He had a pretty good season in the USHL so he might have some chances to get drafted.” – Asko Huuki

“Small center who reads the game well. Has good puck skills and playmaking, but skating is not as good as you would like to see from a smaller player.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

21. (2) Matias Mäntykivi

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-06-21 / Lappeenranta
Height 181 cm
Weight 72 kg
Team: SaiPa

“The forward is bit heavy on skates, but his season was really promising nevertheless. His vision, creativity, stickhandling and ability to protect the puck are all in a very good shape. Overall, I think Mäntykivi is one of the most underrated Finnish prospects in this draft.”  – Asko Huuki

“Two-way forward who has played center but likely projects to be a winger. Isn’t overly noticeable but knows how to put up points.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Very good stickhandler and playmaker. Heavy stride and average speed.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

22. (NEW) Santeri Hatakka

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-01-15 / Riihimäki, Finland
Height 184 cm
Weight 79 kg
Team: Ilves

“Defensive defenseman who has flashed some offensive skills but only occasionally. No real standout skills which limits his upside.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Hatakka is a good skater with very good gap control, an active stick and decent puck skills. Offensive upside is very limited.” – Miika Arponen

“Hatakka plays solid two-way game and he especially excels at the own end. His offensive skills might be better than his production this season suggests, but the offensive side of the game is something that might prevent him from being drafted. However he most likely improved his stock being one of the better Finns in otherwise disappointing in U18 World Championship.” – Asko Huuki

“Can lead the rush with his skating and dance around forecheckers. Decent passer from the point. Still very raw in his own end.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

23. (NEW) Aleks Haatanen

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Right
Born: 2000-11-16 / Vantaa, Finland
Height 175 cm
Weight 81 kg
Team: Pelicans

“When the draft progresses, players will have more and more holes in their game. In this situation drafting someone like Haatanen is not a bad idea. He is small, but he is creative, a very smooth skater and he has a very good offensive skill-set. Of course it is a huge question mark if he ever reaches the NHL, but the skill is there and that makes him worthy of drafting in my books.” – Asko Huuki

“Undersized offensive winger with lots of skill and creativity. Great puck-skills but needs to utilize his linemates better.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Tiny winger with a very good vision. Not that quick for his size, but has considerable upside.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

24. (NEW) Aarne Intonen

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-07-17 / Lieto
Height 178 cm
Weight 78 kg
Team: TPS

“Produced at a good rate at the U20 league, but role at the international level hasn’t been big. Has some skill and a decent release.” – Lassi Alanen

“Intonen is not particularly flashy in any way, but despite his smallish size, he is pretty versatile package. He has decent offensive skills with above average speed, but his work ethic and defensive positioning make him useful in more defensive role too. The package is pretty solid overall even without any high end skills, but it remains to be seen if it is enough for him to be drafted.”  – Asko Huuki

“A reliable forward who can play all positions and in any situation but doesn’t have any high-end skills.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

25. (NEW) Lassi Lehtinen

 
Position: goalie
Catches: Left
Born: 1999-02-25 / Lahti
Height 181 cm
Weight 74 kg
Team: Lukko

“A technically sound goalie with average size. Has been good in every level he’s played so far during his career and does not look like he has reached his ceiling. A long shot for the NHL, but that’s what goalies often are anyway.” – Miika Arponen

“Has gone undrafted twice because of his average size but has a great track record and became Lukko’s number one goalie at age 19.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Was steady – not superb, but steady and reliable during his good season with Lukko men’s team. Took the number one job for times when his competitor struggled during the first half of the season. His lack of playing time in the U20 was a surprise. Has progressed since his original draft year.” – Antti Wennström

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds