Team Finland 2018?
I got to create this thread becouse of a comment in a thread concerning your team next year in Sochi, how it would be virtually impossible for you guys to win the gold there. In 2018 however many of your recent draftpicks will have turned at least 20 years of age, and i would like to see if you can present a team for 2018 here.
I have some players that have come to mind, no goalies since that probably wont be a problem:
Mikael Granlund (C)
Markus Granlund (C/LW)
For sure there must be more defensemen, maybe european based, although your group do seem to become very young.
I have too little knowledge about your young guys to have a try at a lineup right now, maybe if it goes slow i'll publish one.
On (currently) European side, Teemu Eronen and Jori Lehterä come to mind.
Here's one plausible way a lineup could pan out...
Pitkänen - Vatanen
Määttä - Ristolainen
Järvinen - Hakanpää
Korpikoski - Granlund - Armia
Teräväinen - Barkov - Kapanen
Filppula - Koivu - Ruutu
Komarov - Haula - Hartikainen
There are bound to be quite a bunch of newcomers born in the mid to late 80s in this year's WHC squad. Some of 'em might be making enough ripples to become NT staples.
Janne Jalasvaara is one of them. A two-time KHL champion. I basically threw him there because I wanted to take a stab at someone from the elder guard rather than go into the years yet unknown.
And there are probably more plausibles on D, but they're the kind who are yet to emerge - and not necessarily prospects only. For example, if someone had thrown Järvinen's name out there a year and a half ago, most of us would have just laughed at it.
Kasper Kapanen is a possibility, as well as Erik Haula who just signed a deal with minnesota wild. Pulkkinen is plausible, it depends on next years alot.. But time will show who will pop up to elite players.
I feel pretty confident on Barkov, Armia, Granlund Mikael and Vatanen popping out good or very good players.. *knocking wood*
On young goalies, right now it seems Aittokallio, Ortio and Olkinuora will have a shot to become world elite goalies, Aittokallio already had decent first game in NHL. Hope at least some of them does it! *knocks wood* These goalies might pop up every now and then like they have this far *knocks wood*.
Especially when it comes to D and goalies, there's a chance late bloomers emerge so they're IMO harder to predict than the forward corps.
Kapanen is probably the youngest we can even think of taking along in 2018, although I'd like to leave the door ajar for Aleksi Saarela. His physical development looks very good so far, which could mean that he might be able to play on a high level at a younger age than many other prospects.
My list of possible candidates, some of them are long shots and some will spend most of their careers in Europe rather than in the NHL. I also added in their ages based on birth year, so some of them will in reality be younger than what I'm listing here:
We also have guys like Korpisalo, Saros and Kähkönen, but I think they're all going to be too young.
M. Koivu (35)
T. Ruutu* (35)
Mi. Granlund (26)
Ma. Granlund (25)
Aaltonen (not Juhamatti) (25)
J. Ikonen (23)
* Tuomo's so injury-riddled that I have serious doubts about him still being able to play at the age of 35.
Forwards/I have doupts on:
I'm pretty sure the team Finland will look very much better on paper in 2018 than 2014. There are so many young players coming Granlund, Armia, Vatanen and Barkov leading the new generation. I'm sure not all of them will reach their potential, but some definetly will. We can only wait to see what the future holds.
Still I would really like to see Finland competitive also on paper. Then we would not have to be the underdogs. In that kind of situation, losing would not hurt that much because the skill would still be there, even if the result came up weak.
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