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03-20-2013, 06:17 AM
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Gaps
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Team Finland @ 2013 World Championships

I think it's time to open this thread because it won't be too long until the camp starts. Who do you think will make the team?

Here's my long list of possible candidates, NHL players excluded. The list is a mix of my own choices and players Jalonen is likely to choose:

Centers

Teemu Ramstedt
Jori Lehterä
Jarkko Immonen
Niko Kapanen
Petri Kontiola
Juha-Pekka Hytönen
Sasha Barkov

Ramstedt seems to be a part of Jalonen's ongoing mission of trying to find a legit 1st line center in Europe, so far that mission isn't going too well IMO, but I understand why he's doing it. Ramstedt would have to play 1st or 2nd line C on the team, so he'd better produce at camp.

Lehterä is another candidate for the 1st line spot, but so far hasn't given any reason for me to think he could be trusted with it. He's a purely offensive center so in order to deserve a spot on the team he needs to produce big time now, especially since he's already been given plenty of chances to do so. He's been given different linemates (including his linemate Enlund from Sibir), a letter to make him feel the responsibility, but so far nothing's seemed to help. I don't know what's wrong with him, but I'd guess it's either that he can't really play Meidän Peli or that the national team makes him too nervous to perform well.

Immonen has had a better season than the last one after failing miserably in last year's tournament. I'm sure Jalonen still values him rather high, so I wouldn't be surprised to see him make the team. Hopefully he can bounce back.

Kapanen is always reliable and will surely make the team if he wants to. He can be trusted to play 3rd or 4th line C.

Kontiola has been great this season and he's a proven performer in the WC. His two-way game makes it easy to take him along as he can play in an offensive or defensive role, depending on what's required of him. Based on this season I think he may deserve a chance to center an offensive line.

Hytönen hasn't really impressed me, but is another viable candidate for the 4th line C spot.

Barkov could be taken along if Jalonen wanted to invest in the future. At 17 he couldn't (and shouldn't) be expected to shoulder much responsibility, so a 3rd/4th line center spot would fit him nicely. I still fear that Jalonen sees him as a risky choice due to his youth and leaves him out. He should at least be given a chance to show his skills with the men at camp if he's available.

Wingers

Sakari Salminen
Juhamatti Aaltonen
Joel Armia
Niklas Hagman
Jonas Enlund
Veli-Matti Savinainen
Antti Pihlström
Janne Pesonen
Oskar Osala
Ville Nieminen
Tuomas Kiiskinen

Salminen is probably a lock to make the team thanks to his good performances in the EHT this season. I like his skills and speed, but he's small and soft and will most likely struggle when we play the Americans. But I still trust him to deliver more than Aaltonen.

Aaltonen is sadly going to make the team again because Jalonen loves him and because he played a good EHT tournament in Sweden. I have a hard time believing he'll deliver when it actually matters, because I've seen this story before and it hasn't ended well. I hope he proves me wrong but I'm afraid we will just waste a roster spot on him.

Armia would be another investment for the future. I think he should at least be taken to camp so that he can see what it takes to make the men's team and know what's expected of him. I know he's not someone Jalonen is likely to touch even with a 10-foot pole, but the thing is that he's more talented than any other winger I have on this list and we're going to need him eventually. So don't give him a free pass, but give him a chance to prove himself.

Hagman has international experience which I'm sure Jalonen values highly, but I'm not convinced he'd make a valuable addition into the top 6. I think he may need a soccer net to score, so I'd give him a place in the bottom 6, which probably wouldn't satisfy him.

Enlund wasn't impressive at all in EHT, but he's Lehterä's linemate from Sibir and can't be counted out for now. I don't think he has what it takes as an individual to make the team, but if things click with Lehterä, he may make the team.

Savinainen is the kind of a player Jalonen likes for the bottom 6. Tough guy, works hard, will do what he's supposed to. Could see him in the bottom 6.

Pihlström has been a staple on the team for years now and you can't count him out this time, either. A spot in the 4th line doesn't seem impossible. Jalonen knows what he's going to get: speed, energy, the occasional goal but nothing game-changing.

Pesonen can't be left out as long as Immonen is in the mix. He's had a better season as well and I could see him once again on the team next to Immonen.

Osala should make the team. He brings size, grit and energy and his skating has improved a lot within the last few years. I hope someone in the NHL decides to give him a chance in their bottom 6. I wish his hands were a little better, but he'd still be a good choice to the bottom 6.

Nieminen would be a great addition to the team. He brings experience, leadership, hard work, has decent hands and I don't think he's as difficult as he reportedly used to be. But since Jalonen hasn't used him at all, him even getting a chance at camp seems unlikely.

Kiiskinen was a pleasant surprise in last year's tournament. Small guy, but fast and skilled.



Defence


Juuso Hietanen
Mikko Mäenpää
Janne Niskala
Petteri Nummelin
Ossi Väänänen
Ilari Melart
Anssi Salmela
Sami Lepistö
Topi Jaakola
Lasse Kukkonen
Petteri Nummelin

I think Mäenpää, Hietanen, Niskala, Väänänen and Kukkonen are already locks to make the team because we don't have a lot of choices when it comes to D. The rest of the spots will be decided on camp and while I don't really much of a preference, I'd rather see both Lepistö and Salmela left out. Jalonen may want Nummelin on the team for the leadership.


Goalies

Karri Rämö
Ari Ahonen
Iiro Tarkki
Joni Ortio
Petri Vehanen

Out of all Finnish goalies playing in Europe, Rämö should be the starting goalie but it's not a given that he even wants to be on the team. If he says no, it's all up in the air. Ortio could be the 3rd goalie this time.

Reinforcements from North America

Obviously it's still way too early to know for sure who's available, but I think the starting goalie problem could be solved even without Rämö by an NHL goalie, my guess being that at least one (+ Kipper who won't come) will be available.

Sami Vatanen's season in the AHL will most likely end on April 21st so I guess if the Ducks were on a good mood, they might let him come. If he's not allowed to come, I don't think there will be any other defencemen from NA joining the team.

Komarov has stated that he's interested in being on the team should the Leafs not make the playoffs, but he's the only NHL player who's said anything about the tournament so far.


Last edited by Gaps: 03-20-2013 at 06:51 AM.
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