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NHL Draft - Prospects Discuss hockey prospects from all over the world and the NHL Draft.

D Vili Saarijärvi - Flint Firebirds, OHL (2015, 73rd, DET)

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Old
11-01-2015, 06:05 PM
  #1
Wayne Crosby
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D Vili Saarijärvi - Flint Firebirds, OHL (2015, 73rd, DET)

Couldn't find a thread for him, undersized defenseman drafted by the Wings who's currently leading in points in the OHL for defensemen with 16 in 14 games. It looks like Flint is quite a bad team looking at the standings and he leads the team in points, which gives me the impression he's a big offensive contributor. Has anyone seen him play? I'd like to know more about his playstyle and if the Wings could potentially have another draft steal on their hands.

All I know is that he's quite small at 5'10", 165lbs for a defenseman and the Wings liked him enough to take him with their second pick of the draft (they didn't have a 2nd round pick), despite what looks like an unimpressive draft year season in the USHL with 23 pts in 57 games, so they must have seen something in him. Does he operate like a Sami Vatanen, or am I just drawing a convenient comparison?

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11-01-2015, 06:12 PM
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Alexandrov
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I thought he was dynamite at U18s.


Here's a short article and an interview
http://www.hockeysfuture.com/article...jarvi-finland/

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11-01-2015, 06:13 PM
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TheMule93
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Thanks for making a thread about him, I was looking for one earlier and couldn't find one.

I read a tweet a few days ago saying that spitfire's (I think? May have been another team) commentators compared him to Rafalski and Karlsson

Other than that, can't really give you any info on him, sorry. I know it's not much :/

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11-01-2015, 07:03 PM
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Wayne Crosby
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZetterbergsBeard420 View Post
Thanks for making a thread about him, I was looking for one earlier and couldn't find one.

I read a tweet a few days ago saying that spitfire's (I think? May have been another team) commentators compared him to Rafalski and Karlsson

Other than that, can't really give you any info on him, sorry. I know it's not much :/
Those are quite the comparisons, usually even homer announcers avoid making grand statements like that.

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11-01-2015, 07:28 PM
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TheMule93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wayne Crosby View Post
Those are quite the comparisons, usually even homer announcers avoid making grand statements like that.
Went back and found the tweets


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11-02-2015, 12:09 AM
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GoAwayDanCleary
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His skating is tremendous... beautiful edge work. Really like what we have with him.

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11-02-2015, 12:22 AM
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ihaveyuidonttouchme
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i made a shift by shift game highglights a while ago
should show a lot of things that are advertised

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11-02-2015, 03:53 AM
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kelsier
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He's been amasing in every national tournament I've seen so far. Unbelievable offensive instincts. Of course there is the size issue and how it will translate to NHL. But in the end you could say Detroit got someone in the 3rd round that other team had to give up #14 for (Honka) when looking back a draft year. Detroit seems pretty much the best team finding talent at the moment.

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11-02-2015, 04:18 AM
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Pavels Dog
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kelsier View Post
He's been amasing in every national tournament I've seen so far. Unbelievable offensive instincts. Of course there is the size issue and how it will translate to NHL. But in the end you could say Detroit got someone in the 3rd round that other team had to give up #14 for (Honka) when looking back a draft year. Detroit seems pretty much the best team finding talent at the moment.
Definitely not the best at finding talent on defense. This is looking like one of their best draft picks on D in many years, even if it's still too early to say how he will progress. But seems to be having a really good season so far.

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11-02-2015, 05:47 PM
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TheMule93
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I think a Torey Krug comparison makes the most sense right now. Both undersized / good offensively.

I'm anxious to see where he can go from here.

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11-02-2015, 11:09 PM
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Really hoping he pans out into a top PP, first pairing offensive type. Not sure if his size/defensive play will ever allow him to be a number one dmanbut he looks pretty good offensively so far.

I remember the wings really giving him praise at the draft, size must be why he fell I'm guessing?

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11-02-2015, 11:17 PM
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TheMule93
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfy View Post
Really hoping he pans out into a top PP, first pairing offensive type. Not sure if his size/defensive play will ever allow him to be a number one dmanbut he looks pretty good offensively so far.

I remember the wings really giving him praise at the draft, size must be why he fell I'm guessing?
Yeah. That being said, size is why Erik Karlsson ell in his draft year... Look how he panned out


Last edited by TheMule93: 11-03-2015 at 06:29 AM.
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11-03-2015, 12:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by newfy View Post

I remember the wings really giving him praise at the draft, size must be why he fell I'm guessing?
Yeah size was a big factor, first round talent level for sure.

He was listed as 174 cm(5'9?) before his draft year but suddenly grew to 178cm(5'10) once he was drafted. Not saying that is not possible but seems kinda weird.

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11-03-2015, 06:04 AM
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Just a beauty. Loved him in the U18's and seems like he hasn't looked back since. Was still surprised he got taken already in the 3rd, thought he'd be more of a 5th round kind of guy but the Wings took a gamble on him and so far it's looking like a good decision.

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11-04-2015, 02:34 PM
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Between him and Hickets I think one of them will end up a top 4 guy, but still really hope one of them hits a growth spurt.

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11-04-2015, 04:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WesNichols14 View Post
Between him and Hickets I think one of them will end up a top 4 guy, but still really hope one of them hits a growth spurt.
Wouldn't count on Hickets hitting a growth spurt. If I remember correctly I read somewhere that he's slightly taller than his parents now.

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11-04-2015, 06:47 PM
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OHL defenseman of the month

http://flintfirebirds.com/article/saarijarvi-dom

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11-04-2015, 08:13 PM
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Originally Posted by ihaveyuidonttouchme View Post


i made a shift by shift game highglights a while ago
should show a lot of things that are advertised
Thank you for this. You deserve big props for taking the time to put this together, I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pavels Dog View Post
Definitely not the best at finding talent on defense. This is looking like one of their best draft picks on D in many years, even if it's still too early to say how he will progress. But seems to be having a really good season so far.
Yeah Adam Almquist comes to mind. Such a darn shame, he had so much potential.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZetterbergsBeard420 View Post
I think a Torey Krug comparison makes the most sense right now. Both undersized / good offensively.

I'm anxious to see where he can go from here.
He's mobile like Rafalksi was. But not sure if he has speed? You can see he's intelligent and sees the ice very well. One thing that stood out for me in the video is when he was being forchecked before the breakout, he didn't lose his composure or make bone-headed mistakes (I.e, Ericsson/Kindl/Smith/Quincey). He was calm and collective and passed the puck exactly like he wanted to just like Rafi so good at.

Not saying Ralfi is his best comparison, just see similarities. That said, I learned my lesson many-times-over not to get high expectations on any Detroit defense prospects. He could be more of a smaller version of Adam Almquist than a Brian Rafalaski.

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11-04-2015, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Dotter View Post
Thank you for this. You deserve big props for taking the time to put this together, I thoroughly enjoyed it!



Yeah Adam Almquist comes to mind. Such a darn shame, he had so much potential.



He's mobile like Rafalksi was. But not sure if he has speed? You can see he's intelligent and sees the ice very well. One thing that stood out for me in the video is when he was being forchecked before the breakout, he didn't lose his composure or make bone-headed mistakes (I.e, Ericsson/Kindl/Smith/Quincey). He was calm and collective and passed the puck exactly like he wanted to just like Rafi so good at.

Not saying Ralfi is his best comparison, just see similarities. That said, I learned my lesson many-times-over not to get high expectations on any Detroit defense prospects. He could be more of a smaller version of Adam Almquist than a Brian Rafalaski.
Almqvist really had skill (not sure what happened to him in Russia but he's not doing so hot these days), but the big difference with Saarijarvi seems to be that he can skate. Smaller d-men that aren't great skaters will always struggle to make the NHL. That makes me more hopeful that Saarijarvi can make the transition. If he can add a bit more muscle to his frame than AA was able to, even better. But like you, I've also learned to not get too excited about any of the Wings prospects on defense, Smith/Kindl/Sproul/Ericsson/Almqvist/Backman/etc, the disappointments just seem to keep coming.

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12-26-2015, 12:57 PM
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How'd he look for Finland today?

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12-26-2015, 02:57 PM
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Pavel Buchnevich
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How'd he look for Finland today?
Going up the ice with passing and skating, brilliant. Belarus doesn't really offer much of a threat though, so its hard to judge the defense.

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12-27-2015, 04:00 AM
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I watched him in the warmups and during the game and thought that playing over in NA has brought sharpness and purpose to his game. Team Belarus had maybe a combined five or so organized attacks during the whole game, which means we pretty much only got to see the offensive side of Saarijärvi. He got some shots and looked lively in the O-zone.

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12-27-2015, 07:24 AM
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looks Jared Spurgeon II to me

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12-27-2015, 08:05 AM
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I wasn't overly impressed with him yesterday. Made a couple of quick and poor decisions with the puck in the offensive zone. Shooting at the first defender and ending a play. Think this happened more than once. He can do a lot better and I definitely expect him to. Also will have to look how he fairs against tougher competition when his defensive capabilities are more exposed.

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12-27-2015, 08:06 AM
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Mike Farkas
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looks Jared Spurgeon II to me
Yeah, probably even a better version of him to be honest. Might be a better puck carrier at the same age. Really electric player.

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