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03-18-2011, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by Tormentor View Post
Haven’t seen them enough to go in-depth, but overall the 95-born age group seems to have some promising forwards. Many of them are on the smaller size, so it’s too early to talk about NHL potential in most cases. In the end the top forward from this age group might be someone who’s flying under the radar at the moment.

Forwards making the most noise ranked based on my preference at the moment, don’t take it too seriously:

1. Aleksandr ”Sasha” Barkov – A centre forward that has a good head for the game, can be used in all situations. Good puck handling skills, a good wrister and knows how to dish the puck. Looks taller than 183cm. Needs more speed in order to become better involved with the game at Jr.A level. Could develop into a NHL player, if he has enough desire for the game. Not the best comparison, but think of Mikko Koivu with a bit more flair.

2. Artturi Lehkonen – A nifty forward with a good shot and a surprisingly well developed two-way game. Smallish, skinny and not very explosive at the moment, but those things can improve over time. Fairly similar offensive vision and skill level with Markus Granlund and Teuvo Teräväinen, but it seems that Lehkonen has a slightly better overall understanding of the game. Already at this age he’s actively blocking shooting lanes and taking the time and space away from opponents. I have a gut feeling that he’s a winner type.

3. Juuso Ikonen – Possibly the most talented of the bunch, but also the smallest one, so his future is a big question mark. Quick hands, quick feet and a quick head, all working together seamlessly. Intensity, heart, courage and skill.

4. Eetu Koivistoinen – Skill, size and a pretty good skating ability considering his size and age. Handles the puck well and has a decent scoring touch, can take part to some nice offensive plays. The question is; how much of his success is based on size and early development, and how much on pure skill and hockey sense? It’ll be interesting to see him play in Jr.A, because that’ll give a better picture of his value as a prospect.

5. Jonatan Tanus – A racy winger with good intensity in his game, has good puck skills and is a pretty strong/fast skater compared to many of his peers. Looks shorter than 175cm. Sometimes he’s bit of a puck hog, because his desire to be a difference maker is so strong. Overall a good player for his age, but it’s hard to predict his future because of his smallish frame.
Thanks Tormentor, always excellent analysis.

Well, we all are pretty excited, that Finland is now producing skilled (altough small) forwards almost every year. That´s always a good sign. These players should be capable on scoring point per game next year in A-juniors. Interesting to see how they develop.

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