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03-28-2011, 09:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Latexi84 View Post
How's Salomäki a better prospect then?
He's a slowish grinder, power and weight as his best assets. Those have much harder times making it in the NHL than speedy, small defenceman.
It’s a good and valid question. I can’t say that Salomäki is a better prospect than Vatanen while comparing the high end potential of these two players, it’s simply not true. However Salomäki is a kind of player that NHL teams fill their lower lines with, so it might be much easier for him to find a regular spot on a NHL roster. I admit that skating speed is one of the issues that still require some work, but overall he’s one helluva player for his age. His physical play, determination, grit, consistency and maturity are all top-notch. He's not afraid of leaving his comfort zone and has shown willingness to work on his weaknesses. You don’t have to raise too many questions about him. In some ways he’s a similar player with Leo Komarov, giving up just isn’t an option.

The Saw Is the Law already brought out the fact that smallish defensemen are a rare breed in NHL and it can take years for them to prove their value. Also it’s extremely rare to see two smallish defensemen on a same NHL team. There aren’t too many jobs for these guys. I might be overreacting based on the WJC’s, but contrary to my old belief, I’m starting to think that his offensive game won’t translate to NA rink without notable growing pains. If he’s not contributing offensively from the get-go, will Anaheim have the patience to withstand the defensive shortcomings while things hopefully improve over time?

Anaheim has an interesting situation with their young defensemen; Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa and Justin Schultz are about the same age as Vatanen. Similarly to Vatanen they are good skaters and have notable puck-moving potential, the difference is that these guys have NHL size. Unless there are some trades, the competition will be really tough.

Originally Posted by FrankTheTank View Post
Interesting that you chose Ristolainen ahead Määttä. I dont know much about Ristolainen so I can't say a word, but I've always thought that Määttä is the most promising 94-born dman. He's versatile and already played in the WJC. Määttä also played games in Mestis. I've understand that Ristolainen got some offensive zone skill and he's got the size, but what kind of player he's in the defensive zone?
Don’t pay too much attention to the fact that I had Ristolainen ahead of Määttä, on a different day it might’ve been the other way around. Ristolainen has some ‘wow factor’ in his game. On a good day you can see offensive rushes, heavy shots from the point and bone crushing hits, an entertaining player similarly to Jere Karalahti during his prime.

From what I’ve seen Määttä seems to be more reliable defensively, partly because Ristolainen is more offensively-oriented, but also because Määttä reads the game better in the defensive zone. Ristolainen requires more guidance in this area.

Without the early season injury Ristolainen might be a different player by now and could have seen more action in SM-liiga. It’s possible that you’ll see a big improvement in Ristolainen’s game for next season. Nevertheless it’ll be interesting to see how much ice time these kids will get in SM-liiga next season.

Originally Posted by FrankTheTank View Post
Do you see that Ville Pokka is even near of them? You did choose Hakanpää in that list but no Pokka? Is there some heavy reasons why you dont think he's not going to be as good as these other guys in the list?
There’s a lot to like in Pokka, but his skating speed and mobility are clearly his biggest weaknesses, so he’s bit of a wild card. It’ll be a big challenge for him to improve in this area. We have to wait and see what happens.

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