NHL Draft: Finland

Some reference links

  1. Finnish Junior Hockey blogger Marco Bombino (Twitter Account – ‎@marco_bombino) has written about junior prospects.
  2. Hockey’s Future mid-season review of Finnish hockey players eligible for this years draft.
  3. Hockey Prospectus Miika Arponen wrote detailed scouting reports on four Finnish forwards.

The players in bold played in the Finnish elite league.  All other players PPG are in the Junior league.

Player PPG DOB H S
Patrik Laine (LW/RW) 0.72 4/19/1998 6’4 R
Jesse Puljujärvi (RW) 0.56 5/7/1998 6’3 R
Henrik Borgström (F) 1.38 8/6/1997 6’3 L
Otto Mäkinen (C) 0.64 5/21/1998 6’1 L
Eetu Tuulola (RW) 0.48 3/17/1998 6’3 R
Janne Kuokkanen (C/LW) 1.13 5/25/1998 6’1 L
Aapeli Räsänen (C) 0.76 6/1/1998 6′ R
Kasper Björkqvist (LW) 1.47 7/10/1997 6’1 L
Joona Koppanen (C) 0.65 2/25/1998 6’5 L
Otto Koivula (LW/RW) 1.18 9/01/1998 6’4 L
Markus Nurmi (RW/LW) 0.73 6/29/1998 6’3 R
Sebastian Repo (C/RW) 0.56 6/23/1996 6’2 R
Tarmo Reunanen (D) 0.55 3/1/1998 5’11 L
Antti Kalapudas (C/LW) 0.14 7/22/1996 6′ L
Niclas Almari (D) 0.26 5/11/1998 6’2 L
Niko Kuiri (F) 0.54 6/5/1998 6’2 L
Miska Siikonen (C/RW) 0.09 5/12/1996 6’3 L
Jesper Mattila (D) 0.79 10/9/1997 5’10 L
Jere Innala (LW) 0.88 3/17/1998 5’9 L
Juha Jääskä (LW/RW) 0.62 2/9/1998 5’10 L
Mikko Juusola (F) 0.79 3/17/1998 5’9 L
Radek Koblizek (RW) 1.11 10/20/1997 5’9 R
Arttu Ruotsalainen (C) 0.20 10/29/1997 5’8 L
Julius Mattila (C) 1.22 10/9/1997 5’10 L

Here is a list of players that might be selected in this years NHL draft.

Patrik Laine (LW/RW)

  • Corey Pronman:  Laine is everything you want in a high-skill power forward. First, he’s built like a truck at 6-foot-4, 206 pounds, with broad shoulders and great core strength. It’s a joy to watch film of Laine shrugging off checks left and right, and easily winning loose puck battles. He’s equally adept at being a playmaker as he is being a goal scorer. Laine’s offensive IQ is high-end, bordering on elite. He’s a very creative puck handler who anticipates pressure well, and knows how to create space for himself. He moves the puck quickly with few errors.
  • Laine has been compared to Ovechkin in style.  He’s a goal scoring power forward that is not afraid to play physical.  He’s likely to be selected by Winnipeg as the second selection in this years draft.

Jesse Puljujärvi (RW)

  • The Draft Analyst:  Puljujarvi is a strong, powerful forward with an outstanding burst of speed and first step.  Puljujarvi is an extremely dangerous player who can be used in any situation, and being 6’3 doesn’t hinder his ability to adapt to a variety of situations; he can play on the power play, kill penalties, take a man out with a hit or cleanly stickhandle in very tight spaces.  Puljujarvi’s at his best when he’s got the puck in full flight, but that doesn’t mean he’s rendered useless during the slogging matches. He’s really mature and has a genuine “die hard” mentality.
  • Puljujarvi’s is a complete player, a hardworking winger, with size, skill, playmaking ability, scoring touch and elite skating ability.  There has been questions about his offensive production at even strength, while he may not have the high-end scoring touch of Laine, he should be a top six forward.  He’s drawn comparisons to Teemu Selanne.

Henrik Borgström (F) (50 – 100)

  • Hockey Prospectus: Aside from the physical aspect (not very strong and does not really get involved in physical battles) Borgström is a complete package. He is a constant threat for the defenders with his great vision and quick and accurate wrist shot. If he could add more muscle and learn how to use his large frame, he could be very well turn out to be a steal in the upcoming draft. He has committed to University of Denver for next season.
  • This is Borgstrom is in his second year of draft eligibility.  He is a raw prospect with lots of upside, a boom or bust pick.  He needs to improve his strength and defensive aspects of the game.  He’s projected to go in the third round.

Otto Mäkinen (C)

  • Mik Portoni, European Scout for Hockey Prospects, described him as enigmatic, lacks consistency and questioned his conditioning on the Pipeline show.  (Starts talking about Makinen at the 7:30 mark)
  • Last Word On Sports:  He is often matched against the other team’s best lines, and plays a key role on the penalty kill. He is good in the face-off circle, and plays a smart positional game in his own end of the rink. Again, he’s not a big hitter, but he does get involved in battling on the boards, and using his body to keep his man to the outside on the cycle.  His quick feet help him to always stay between his man and the net.
  • Makinen is a two-way center with good hockey sense.  He’s projected to go in between late second or early 4th.  He is likely projects as a third line center due to his sound defensive acumen, PK skills and limited offensive upside.

Eetu Tuulola (RW) (100 – 150)

  • Elite Prospects:  A sizey winger with great offensive instincts. Drives to the net hard and leans into his hits. Displays slick puckhandling skills and a hard shot that he needs to use more. Skates with balance, but needs to get faster. Works very hard and doesn’t take shifts off. Needs to be more active in his own end and pressure the opposition into making more rushed plays. All-in-all, a competitive winger with the size and skills to be a difference maker in games. (Curtis Joe, EP 2015)
  • Hockey’s Future:  A powerfully-built forward, he has been a goal scorer more than a playmaker at the junior level with a willingness to go to the net to make plays. He has a hard, accurate shot. Like many young prospects his size the key concern is whether Tuulola will have enough mobility and skate well enough to keep up at the pro level.
  • Tuulola has physical goal-scoring winger with good size  He played 10 games in the Finnish Elite league but only recorded one point.  There’s enough of a skill-set to be considered a mid-late (5th – 7th) round pick, but I’m not sure I would use a pick inside the top 100.

Janne Kuokkanen (C/LW) (50 – 70)

  • Brendan Ross: Quick skating winger gave Canada trouble as he really pushed the pace and attacked with great confidence. Deceptive puck skills and an ability to handle well at top speed was the direct result of his goal.
  • Hockey Prospectus:  Kuokkanen is a very smart player that has an extremely good vision of the game. His lack of physicality prevents him from being a top-round pick, but there definitely is NHL potential hiding underneath.

Aapeli Räsänen (C) (50 – 100)

  • The Draft Analyst;  Rasanen was a delight to watch in all three zones, using his speed, awareness and strong playmaking skills to create room for both himself and his teammates. He killed penalties, manned the wall of the power play, and was used in most of Finland’s critical situations. His bank pass to a streaking Eeli Tolvanen caught the speedy winger in stride, enough for the wing to out-position Russian defensemen Nikita Makeeyev and score a beautiful goal. Rasanen also scored the lone goal in the shootout to clinch a win against rival Sweden.
  • Rasanen is a 6′ two-way center that is scheduled to play in the USHL next season.  The Hockey Writers have him compared in style to Frans Nielson.  I’d like to see a little more offense but he played extremely well at the U18 with 9 points in 7 games.
  • Craig Button, The Hockey Writers, Steve Kournianos & Corey Pronman have him rated as a late 2nd or 3rd round pick.

Kasper Björkqvist (LW) (100 – 150)

  • The 6’1 overage winger is committed to Providence College in the NCAA next year.  He was second in the Finnish junior league in scoring this past year.  There’s enough offense to warrant a selection, also with him coming to North America he’ll get acclimated to the culture and style of play.  Bjorkqvist has been described as playing North American style of game. 
  • Over the Board:  Björkqvist is a powerful two-way forward. An extremely versatile player who’s able to adapt to various roles, Björkqvist is a strong skater with the speed required for college hockey. Not always extremely flashy but has a presence in the offensive zone and wins battles along the boards.

Joona Koppanen (C) (150 – 200)

  • Koppanen is a big center who is solid defensively but has limited offensive upside.  He can kills penalties, uses his size and reach but isn’t overly physical.
  • Finnish Junior Hockey:  Koppanen shows impressive awareness, attention to detail and positioning without the puck. He applies pressure on the puck carrier, not being afraid to play some physical game. However, he also anticipates oncoming plays really well and almost always has his stick in the right position. He’s a tremendous penalty-killer and very good at face-offs.

Tarmo Reunanen (D) (100 – 150)

  • Reunanen is a player that was injured this past season. Mar 15 ‘Tarmo Reunanen will finally return to the lineup after being injured for 5 months’He might be a sleeper in this years draft. The year before he put up .71 PPG in the Junior A.  Which is in the same range as Olli Juolevi (.73) in the same league.
  • Elite Prospects:  Reunanen is an offensive minded defenceman who can carry the puck, dangle through traffic and set up his teammates. While he relies on his offensive skills, he is not a defensive liability. Poised and calm in his own end. Doesn’t shy away from physical play. (EP 2015)
  • Brendan Ross: Defenseman with slick lateral agility, quick hands and confident in possession, Reunanen shined on the PP as he operated as its quarterback. His ability to make opponents miss and open up time and space is a rare asset for a defenseman.


Otto Koivula (LW/RW) (100 – 150)

  • A big forward that can score.  Koivula will need to improve his conditioning and skating at the next level.  He scored 12 points in 7 games in the play-offs.  Could be a power forward and could be worth a look as a late round draft choice.


Markus Nurmi (RW/LW) (150 – 200)

  • Over The Boards: Nurmi is a 6’3 winger who will need to add some more muscle into his frame. However, he impressed me a few times this season. He already knows how to use his size and reach, with and without the puck. Shows flashes of skill and has a pretty quick release. Lacks some agility; however, once he adds some strength, I think his skating will improve. Could be a good late round pick as I think he projects well for the pro game.

Long Shots


  • Sebastian Repo (C/RW) big defensively responsible double overager (born 96) played and produced well this season in the the Finnish elite league.
  • Antti Kalapudas (C/LW) per Bill Placzek he has good vision and can beat you with soft pass, or snap shot or by stickhandling through you.  He’s was born in 96 so this is his final year of draft eligibility.
  • Niclas Almari (D) good sized, mobile defender that needs to improve in the defensive zone.
  • Jesper Mattila (D) offensive puck-moving defenseman is committed to Boston College with his twin brother.  He needs to improve in the defensive zone.
  • Julius Mattila (C) He and twin brother Jesper are committed to Boston College.  Does well in the faceoff circle, good speed and decent offensive numbers.
  • Niko Kuiri (F) big center that can win draws.  He will turn 18 just a few weeks before the draft but likely would need to bring more offense to get drafted.
  • Miska Siikonen (C/RW) was passed over in two drafts.  He is a defensively responsible forward with good size, but doesn’t bring much offense.  He scored relatively well, 16 points in 18 games, in the lower league this past season.
  • Radek Koblizek (RW) a small goal-scoring winger from the Czech Republic.
  • Juha Jääskä (LW/RW) solid vision and good puck skills.
  • Mikko Juusola (F) is an undersized, playmaking winger with good speed.
  • Arttu Ruotsalainen (C) a small playmaking center.  He averaged 1.78 PPG in the Junior league this season.  Played a regular shift for Assat Pori in the Finnish elite league.  His vision is impressive and he can make plays at high speed.
  • Jere Innala (LW) small goal-scoring, creative winger, hasn’t been part of Finland’s international team.

One thought on “NHL Draft: Finland

  1. Pingback: NHL Draft: Top 130 Forwards | Oiler's Future

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