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05-14-2012, 02:22 AM
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Originally Posted by RKC View Post
Great work as always Tormentor. I can't really comment on the 2014 list since I haven't seen enough of anyone from there, but what has happened to Jaakko Hälli?

From what I could make of those slideshow U18 streams, I really liked what I saw from Aleksi Mustonen. I was surprised to see him make the team in the first place, but he played really well for the whole tournament in top lines. Must have been one of the fastest skaters in the whole tournament, was good defensively and has a great attitude to go with some skill and pretty good hockey IQ. Shame he's so small, otherwise I could see him making a career in bottom-6 role in the NHL.

Joose Antonen probably was in the team to play in top-6 role, but after Ikonen and Teräväinen joined he fell to 4th line and was quite useless there. Will be interesting to see how much he will play in SM-liiga next season since Ilves' team looks terrible yet again. Handling SM-liiga opponents physically shouldn't be a problem if he spends some extra time in the weight room during this off-season.

First thing which comes to mind when thinking about Saku Salminen is his awkward skating position and technique. Not sure if any NHL team will be willing to use draft pick on a player whose skating stands out in a bad way in U18 competition. Really needs to work on that in off-season, I don't know if Jokerit do have a proper skating coach in their organization but for Salminen's sake I hope they do.
Hälli seems like a reliable and hard working defenseman with some smarts. His puck skills are average and he’s not the most dynamic player when it comes to movement and skating. I considered having him in the top-10, but decided to go with different players this time around. I think that many of the guys in the top-10 showed more development in their game during the last year than Hälli.

I agree about Mustonen, a smaller forward that has good speed and energy, offensive upside doesn’t seem as high as with Ikonen or Tanus.

Antonen might need a really good summer if he desires to make some sort of an impact in SM-liiga during the upcoming season, let’s see how it goes. At the moment he looks like a player who’s much better suited for top-6 role than anything else, definitely not a grinder. He needs more speed and could show more of a physical presence on the ice. Getting slightly more involved with the game and learning to make the right decision a bit more often would be beneficial as well. He has a good frame, pretty good hands and a shot, good hand-eye-coordination, and some playmaking ability.

Yep, skating is by far the biggest obstacle for Salminen when thinking about his future as a hockey player. Not sure if it’s realistic to expect him to improve his skating to a level where it’s no longer a hindrance, but if he does, he might have a chance of developing into a 3rd/4th line centre forward. Great frame, strong on the face-off circle, wins puck battles and has enough smarts to play sensible two-way hockey.

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