WHL – Defense

Juuso Välimäki (6 – 15)

  • DOB: 1998-10-06 / H: 6’2 / SH: L
  • Excellent two-way defenseman … Calm, smart defender … Has had an excellent offensive season … Smooth skater … Solid puckmoving ability … He could play with a little more of a physical edge …
  • Hockey Prospect scout Andy Levangie:  “I appreciate a lot of things about Juuso. He’s got fluid feet and I find him mobile, and a smart player as well. He’s a strong communicator. He’s a guy that’s always pointing, kind of looking around. He’s vocal on the ice. He’s intelligent, but he’s a safe player as well. He’s quite often the last guy up the ice, he wants to be the last line of defense.”

Callan Foote (6 – 15)

  • DOB: 1998-12-13 / H: 6’3 / SH: R
  • Son of former NHLer Adam Foote … Plays a physical brand of hockey … Decent mobility for his size .. Good offensive instincts, solid shot and can move the puck …
  • Elite Prospects: An assertive two-way defenceman that reads plays quickly and understands both the offensive and defensive sides of the roles he is put into. He plays a consistent game, and can be trusted to create chances from the back end on special teams. He uses his size to gain leverage against other players, though he isn’t an overly physical force. His hockey sense is outstanding, and his ability to not just read but start and, on the odd occasion, finish plays is overtly indicative of his high talent level. (Curtis Joe, EP 2017)

Henri Jokiharju (16 – 30)

  • DOB: 1999-06-17 / H: 6′ / SH: R
  • Solid defensive dman … Has offensive upside … Late birthday he’s over six months younger than Foote & Välimäki … Skating is a plus … Size might be a concern …  Like a late first or early second round pick …
  • Finnish Junior Hockey: Jokiharju uses his strong skating and gap control to keep plays alive in the offensive zone. He might not always be very aggressive in the defensive zone, but he’s assertive with his positioning and has an active stick. He gets to loose pucks effectively because of his quick reactions and first steps. However, physically there’s some work to be done, since he can lose some battles due to lack of strength. He thinks the game very well, though. Once he adds more muscle, I think he’ll be able to play even more effectively in his own zone.

2nd – 3rd Round

  1. Artyom Minulin: DOB: 1998-10-01 / H: 6’2 / SH: R
    • Smart two-way defenseman … Willing to block shots … Makes a good outlet pass … Good size and a right hand shot is also a plus … Questionable decision making …
  2. Josh Brook: DOB: 1999-06-17 / H: 6’2 / SH: R
    •  Solid offensive numbers … Smart defender with good speed … Good vision a two-way defender will play physical …
  3. Jarret Tyszka: DOB: 1999-03-15 / H: 6’3 / SH: L
    • Good size and skating ability … Sound defender  … Makes good decision plays a calm game … Right now he’s projecting as more of defensive defender but can make good pass …
  4. Cale Fleury: 1998-11-19 / H: 6’1 / SH: 6’1
    • He was his +/- was -61 this past season … Good skater … Plays a physical game … Nice shot … Brother Haydn was a first round pick ….

Late Round Picks

  1. Scott Walford:  Good size (6’2) and decent offensive numbers.  Plays a simple game
  2. Will Warm:  Smart hardworking defenseman that plays with a physical edge.  Smooth skater, improved throughout the season and has offensive upside.
  3. defensively, will play physical.  Solid vision and puck moving ability.
  4. Brayden Gorda:  Good size (6’2), solid skating two-way defender.  Plays a physical brand of hockey.  Did not deliver much offense this past season.
  5. Mark Rubinchik – Solid defenseman will engage physically very tough … He’s below average size (6′).  Like to see more offense.
  6. Jonathan Smart – Solid defensive d-man, hardworking player. Size and skating are concerns.
  7. Dylan Plouffe:  Smaller (6′) smooth skating defenseman.  Has questionable decision making.  Good in a lot areas but not elite in any one.
  8.  Zack Hayes:  Big (6’3) physical shutdown defender.  Likely will need to improve his skating and he’s limited offensively.




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