After seeing plenty of games from the Finnish U18 league this past season, I have decided to write a little summary on the season. These are not full scouting reports, but rather just main observations about the players’ skills and in some cases, future projections. You can also follow me on Twitter: @marco_bombino
First of all, for me there was no better player in the U18 league than Blues forward Eeli Tolvanen. The ’99 displayed incredible offensive skills, including quick hands, deft puck control and high-end shot. Tolvanen may not be the fastest skater out there, but he’s very smart and has great awareness of what’s surrounding him. He will play in the USHL next season and I expect him to become an excellent player for the Sioux City Musketeers. Also, his linemate, center Joni Ikonen, has moved on to play for Frölunda juniors.
Henri Jokiharju – Defenseman – Jokerit U18
One of the top prospects in the league this past season…makes clean, accurate outlet passes to start the attack…likes to jump into the play from the blueline…has very good hands and stick skills…despite not being the biggest player, has an excellent point shot…smooth skater with good speed both with and without the puck.
Sami Moilanen – Forward – Jokerit U18
One of the top 99’s in the country at the forward position…great acceleration, edge work and overall quickness…likes to attack from the outside and use his speed before putting the puck to the net…very quick and sharp on loose pucks… good shot with strong accuracy.
Mark Viitanen – Forward – TPS U18
A ’98 forward who came out of nowhere for me, Viitanen played on TPS U18’s first line in my viewings…winger has good size and works hard without the puck…pressures opponents, able to cause turnovers thanks to an active stick…pretty good decision making and skill level with the puck, though long passes could use some work.
Olli Kaskinen – Defenseman – TPS U18
A two-way defenseman without many glaring weaknesses…skates well with solid edge work and is smooth at turning pivots…patient with the puck, sees his options well…smart player who doesn’t rush plays…did a good job on winning battles on the boards.
Juha Jääskä – Forward – HIFK U18
One of the top forwards on the team as a ’98…center showed competitiveness on a game to game basis…very good hockey sense and puck skills, plus pretty good speed allowed him to create offense…definitely more of a playmaker than scorer.
Lauri Kangas – Forward – HIFK U18
Late ’97 made impressive strides in his last U18 season…impressive puck skills and poise make him an excellent possession player along the boards…fairly quick but could add some more power to his skating…an interesting player to watch for next year.
Eetu Pylkkänen – Defenseman – Blues U18
Good size at 6’1 for a 17-year-old defenseman… excellent slap shot, one of the heaviest point shots in the league…moves the puck well with quick decision making…very solid skater with nice four way mobility…needs to improve his overall game a little bit, but the potential is there.
Mikko Juusola – Forward – Kärpät U18
Led his team in scoring by 10 points before the next player… really good with the puck, protects it well and displayed vision&playmaking skill…brings nice speed and plays a smart game…a skilled forward who I have high expectations of.
A few other notable prospects:
Anton Ignatius – Goalie – HIFK U18
Severi Isokangas – Goalie – Kärpät U18
Kasper Kotkansalo – Defenseman – Blues U18
Oula Kuure – Forward – Jokerit U18
Roope Laavainen – Defenseman – Jokerit U18
Antti Palojärvi – Defenseman – KooKoo U18
Eemeli Perklen – Forward – Blues U18
Markus Ruusu – Goalie – JYP U18
Erkka Seppälä – Forward – HPK U18
Riku Sihvonen – Forward – JYP U18
Jerry Turkulainen – Forward – JYP U18
Riku Törqnvist – Goalie – Blues U18
Santeri Virtanen – Forward – TPS