LW, 5-10, 161, Ilves Jr. B (Fin.)
Rajala is small, but flashes remarkable offensive talent. "He's already the talk of the town in Finland," a scout said. "Finland hasn't delivered a star for years, but Rajala has the tools."
In 2010 draft Mikael Granlund goes also high with Pulkkinen. He is a small but very skilled forward.
2009-2011 drafts will be Finland's 'Oh crap we're supposed to be producing talented forwards too' drafts.
2009 will bring the likes of...
-Finland's Sidney Crosby story in Toni Rajala. Started to dominate the game at such a young level, has been tearing up the SM-Liiga since. Definately has finesse with great puck handling. The more ironic thing is he plays almost a more identical game to Crosby than anybody else I've seen (I saw one game live and just 2 days ago in st. louis I watched 2 games of his from SM-Liiga B). He's got such a great control over the game... This kid is the real deal with Finland.
Prediction: Franchise Forward. 100 point seasons are not out of the question right now.
-Finland's 'under the radar player', Eric Haula. The stardom of Finnish-phenoms Toni Rajala and Teemu Pulkkinen has over-shadowed a great success story with Eric Haula. Eric Haula is even being touted as the 'more complete' player than Rajala, even though Rajala is very much so ahead skill wise. A sentence to sum up Haula is 'He finishes what he starts'. Meaning-- if he goes into the offensive zone... He'll work hard until there's a result
Prediction: First line forward. Great leader, Sakic-esque demenor.
-Finland's 'obligatory' goaltending factory product, Jere Ringbom. I don't know too much about him except he's got flare that can finish. I've been told by a scout on this board that Ortio is the goaltender to look out for... But Ringbom is being hyped
Prediction: I'm not too sure... Starting goaltender possibly?
The 2010 draft will come stampeding with...
-If Toni Rajala is to Sidney Crosby, then Teemu Pulkkinen is to John Tavares in terms of types of players, and ironically even the same stories. Teemu Pulkkinen is a stellar player. Able to dominate offensively with 'Russian style' goal-scoring. I've really heard that Teemu Pulkkinen now, is twice as good as Rajala was at his age. Maybe this story will have a different ending, compared to it's Canadian predescesors, because as it seems now, Pulkkinen may turn out to be the best player Finland has produced... Ever? It's way to early to tell... but if Pulkkinen continues on his path of total destruction and inihilation of any standard set for a 14 year old hockey player... Pulkkinen may end up as a game changing, superstar forward that will be coveted by any team.
Prediction: Franchise forward. 100 point seasons.
Rajala and Pulkkinen will bring to Finland a recovery of talented stars. My prediciton is both make SM-Liiga A teams... Or atleast play a few games this season.
Why is Koivu the bar for Finnish players? If it's not him, it's Selanne, and I really can't understand why Olli Jokinen is never talked about as one of the best Finns ever. Honestly, I'd rather hear about how these 2 compare to him than Saku Koivu.
Olli Jokinen is so underated he hardly ever gets any praise on these boards.
I would consider him the best Finnish player right now.
There is at least couple of reasons, first, Jokinen haven't been anything special in Team Finland. Secondly he haven't been leader like Selšnne&Koivu have been for Team Finland. And thirdly he were one stupid a-hole before going over to NHL as age ~18 so he haven't been ever too popular.