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1994-born d-men

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02-06-2011, 04:01 PM
  #1
YARR123
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1994-born d-men

Could someone tell the strengths/weaknesses of some of the 1994-born finnish defensemen, and if they could be considered NHL prospects at this point (or as likely draftpicks)? All I can work with is stats, so I have no idea how these guys actually play.

EDIT: Also if you guys have info on other dmen not listed here, please share it with everyone here!

Mikko Lehtonen: Has put up very good numbers in b-jrs (20 pts in 16 games) and is now playing jr.A and putting up decent numbers and playing over 20 mins/ game. at 5'11/176 he could grow an inch or two.

Mikko Vainonen: Huge guy for his age, 6'2/207. Decent numbers in jr. b and also now playing jr. a with decent icetime

Ville Pokka: Superb stats for his age in jr.A, plays almost 30 mins/game, decent size. On some finnish publication he was compared to Joni Pitkänen and it was stated that he's better than him at the same age. Does this have any truth to it?

Olli Määttä: He's been hyped alot for his performance at WJC (or the fact that he was included) as a 16-year-old and plays regularly for D-team in mestis. However, theres not much talk over what aspects of the game he's good at.

Rasmus Ristolainen: Huge for his age, great numbers in Jr. A, already played some games in A last year... Has been playing with players way older than him for a long time. And as far as I know only a year or two ago he was 5'11 or 6'0 meaning that he hasn't just been dominating due to early physical developement (Lauri Tukonen, Jesse Joensuu)


Last edited by YARR123: 02-08-2011 at 02:09 PM.
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02-07-2011, 11:01 AM
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I’ll give it a try.

Mikko Lehtonen – A pretty good all-around defenseman, good defensively and has something to offer offensively. Might be a bit taller than listed, maybe 6’0’’. Doesn’t have any major weaknesses in his game, which is good sign in a defenseman. Plays the game with a fairly good intensity and usually makes the right decisions. Whether he’ll be drafted next year or not depends on his growth and development. Should at least develop into a decent SM-liiga defenseman.

Mikko Vainonen – Seems more like a stay-at-home defenseman. Doesn’t have exceptional puck skills, isn’t an elite skater and doesn’t show much offensively. Not much to complain defensively and probably has some leadership qualities since he’s the captain of the U17 national team. If things work out, he might be a late round pick next year. Could in some sense be compared to Rasmus Rissanen, a 6th round pick in 2009.

Ville Pokka – A good power play quarterback; plays well under pressure, is a good puck distributor, has a pretty good right-handed shot and knows how to deliver the puck to the net. He’s a good passer and exhibits confidence in his decision making. Works well defensively, but skating and movement are a clear concern, he’s slow and somewhat stiff. Has a lot of good tools, but his future depends on the development of his skating.

Olli Määttä – An athletically talented all-around defenseman. Strong, calm and reliable, can be used in all situations. Moves well and has a decent head for the game. Pretty good puck skills for a big defenseman and joins the rush if given a chance. Possibly the best defensive prospect to come out of Finland in quite a while, I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t develop into a NHL defender if he stays healthy and works hard. Should be 1st or 2nd rounder next year.

Rasmus Ristolainen – Another athletically talented defenseman, has size, strength and speed. Has the ability to rush the puck up the ice and make a difference. Displays good physical presence and doesn’t hold back. Defensive game and decision making in some situations are the things that require the most work and guidance. Also he needs to learn how to balance offensive risk taking and defensive responsibilities. There’s a lot of raw talent and the future depends largely on the work load that’s put on developing it. His draft is still two and a half years away, so it’s fairly hard to make good predictions, but if all works out, he could be valued commodity on the draft table.

Overall this 94-born class seems to have more talent and depth on defence than on offense, a welcomed change. In addition to the prospects mentioned above, there might be others that could have some value once the draft day comes around.


Last edited by Tormentor: 02-07-2011 at 11:10 AM.
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02-08-2011, 09:48 AM
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thanks for the analysis! The thing that intrigues me is the fact that they are playing with older players and most of these guys play an important role in their teams. Do you think Ville Pokka is something special? Say if his skating improves? I can't remember too many Defensemen in the past who have played jr.A in such a big role for their team 2 years before their draft.

Also, which of these guys has a chance to make it to the U-18 WJC's this year? Määttä is a no brainer I suppose, but what about the rest of these guys? Imo the 93 class of dmen is pretty weak, so a few 94's are bound to be in the team, right?

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02-08-2011, 10:03 AM
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Does anyone know if määttä has a contract with any of the Sm-Liiga clubs? Is he free to sign with any of the clubs or is he just "down in minors".

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02-08-2011, 10:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Latexi84 View Post
Does anyone know if määttä has a contract with any of the Sm-Liiga clubs? Is he free to sign with any of the clubs or is he just "down in minors".

It seems like he doesn't have contract with JYP so welcome to the IFK

Markus Kojo is also interesting 94-born D-man. Big kid and he's playing in the North America. He's got drafted by USHL team Indina Ice so I think his near future is there. He's now playing some league named NAPHL and the team name is Indiana jr. Ice

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=44841

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02-08-2011, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by FrankTheTank View Post
It seems like he doesn't have contract with JYP so welcome to the IFK

Markus Kojo is also interesting 94-born D-man. Big kid and he's playing in the North America. He's got drafted by USHL team Indina Ice so I think his near future is there. He's now playing some league named NAPHL and the team name is Indiana jr. Ice

http://www.eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=44841
I've been kind of living in the hope that Määttä he would make his big league debut already this year but not sure if thats gonna happen

I've also heard of Markus Kojo but never knew he was drafted to the USHL. Any idea what his draft number was?

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02-08-2011, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by YARR123 View Post
I've also heard of Markus Kojo but never knew he was drafted to the USHL. Any idea what his draft number was?
I don't remember what was the draft number and the draft results wasn't available anymore but he was late round pick. I'd say 7th but not sure.

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02-08-2011, 03:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YARR123 View Post
Do you think Ville Pokka is something special? Say if his skating improves? I can't remember too many Defensemen in the past who have played jr.A in such a big role for their team 2 years before their draft.
Pokka must improve his lateral movement, agility, acceleration and top speed quite a lot before he's able of doing a good job defensively in SM-liiga. If his skating improves enough during the summer, I don't see a reason why he couldn't play the whole next season in SM-liiga. The way he sees the game is already above an average SM-liiga defenseman.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YARR123 View Post
Also, which of these guys has a chance to make it to the U-18 WJC's this year? Määttä is a no brainer I suppose, but what about the rest of these guys? Imo the 93 class of dmen is pretty weak, so a few 94's are bound to be in the team, right?
Määttä, Ristolainen and Pokka are with the U18 national team in Czech Republic preparing for the last tournament before the WU18C's, so it's obvious that the coach Rautakorpi sees them as potential additions to the final squad. If things work out, all three have potential of having a leading role in the team.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FrankTheTank View Post
Markus Kojo is also interesting 94-born D-man. Big kid and he's playing in the North America.
Big, physical, tough and mean. Could be a late round pick next year if he shows enough development, might go even higher than that if he manages to get a notable role in the USHL.

Quote:
Originally Posted by YARR123 View Post
I've also heard of Markus Kojo but never knew he was drafted to the USHL. Any idea what his draft number was?
6th round, 84th overall in the USHL Futures Draft.

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02-11-2011, 05:54 PM
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Another interesting name I ran across is Otso Rantakari. He's not exactly 94 born but because of his late birthday he's eligible for 2012.

http://eliteprospects.com/player.php?player=23041

Good stats, not very big but not tiny either.

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02-15-2011, 05:37 AM
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Rasmus Ristolainen will play his first SM-league game tonight!

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04-05-2011, 12:59 PM
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The 94's

How good is this age group really?

Is this possibly the best group of D-men we ever had out of one age group?

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04-05-2011, 03:43 PM
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I think the 94's are a very good age group and there is a lot of forwards and d-men with great potential imo, even though people were calling them the worst age group in recent memory. I rate them higher than the highly touted 95's. And as you said there are exceptionally many d-men with potential to make the jump to North America.

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04-06-2011, 02:20 AM
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And it's about time to have some really promising defensemen in Finland. We have enough pretty good forwards in the future but there hasn't been too many defenders. Hopefully Määttä, Pokka, Ristolainen, Vainonen, Kojo and others can provide help to weak defense of our national team in the future.

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04-06-2011, 12:52 PM
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Määttä and Ristolainen are exceptional prospects for Finland, but it often takes longer for defensemen to achieve their prime, so we have to be patient. It might take 6 or 7 years before we start seeing what they're really made of. Hopefully they pan out, it would be nice to see new Finnish defensemen in NHL.

This crop of defensive prospects seems better than most in recent history, but who knows what the future brings. From the 77-born defensemen, Aki Berg was highly touted and went 3rd overall, but in the end it was the 4th rounder Toni Lydman who had the best NHL career. A lot can change over time.

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04-15-2011, 11:30 PM
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Ristolainen is 2013 right?

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04-15-2011, 11:38 PM
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Ristolainen is 2013 right?
Correct.

Made his debut in the SM-Liiga already this past season tho.

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04-16-2011, 10:13 AM
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Correct.

Made his debut in the SM-Liiga already this past season tho.
Yeah I noticed that! That's pretty awesome..

What kind of d-man is he? I noticed he's got a solid sized frame at 6'2" 192lbs already... 2 way guy?

Makes me kinda nervous if it isn't just a case of him being bigger at a younger age and that he isn't going to pan out...

But I can see him being a 6'4" defender when he's fully grown.

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04-16-2011, 12:24 PM
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Yeah I noticed that! That's pretty awesome..

What kind of d-man is he? I noticed he's got a solid sized frame at 6'2" 192lbs already... 2 way guy?

Makes me kinda nervous if it isn't just a case of him being bigger at a younger age and that he isn't going to pan out...

But I can see him being a 6'4" defender when he's fully grown.

I've never seen him play in person, so i'll just copy Tormentors report on him from few months ago:


Rasmus Ristolainen – A strong skater for his size, has the ability to rush the puck up the ice. Not quite as poised with the puck as before, but there were still two or three occasions when he rushed the puck from end to end, one of them would’ve been a highlight reel goal if it had ended in the net. Has grown a lot during the last two seasons and it seems to have affected his coordination and mobility a bit. I think that he’s still adapting to his new body, so things should improve in the near future. His passes are strong and mostly accurate. Has a nice slapper and he’s a pretty good power play guy, but slightly more imagination would be required for him to become a force on the point. Has a good physical presence and his defensive game has really improved from last season. Will stand his ground and won’t tolerate any false doing towards his teammates. Has a lot of potential and doesn’t have any major weaknesses, so developing into a NHL player is a possibility. Still, a lot of work is required and there’s room for improvement in all areas of the game.



And i have seen Tormentor get more positive about him since this report...

...or atleast i think so

I'm so pumped to see a hard hitting two way d-man from Finland. It's been a while since we saw that last time.

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