Joona Koppanen is an intriguing forward who was key part of Ilves in his first U20 season. He registered 9-17-26 stat line, but I came away even more impressed by his defensive game and hockey sense. Koppanen respectably won both Finnish U20 league and U18 World Championship gold medals. The 6’5 center is ranked 27th (European skaters) in NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings.
Koppanen shows impressive awareness, attention to detail and positioning without the puck. He applies pressure on the puck carrier, not being afraid to play some physical game. However, he also anticipates oncoming plays really well and almost always has his stick in the right position. He’s a tremendous penalty-killer and very good at face-offs.
Koppanen has good balance on his skates, decent agility and quickness for his size. I don’t think his skating is an issue at all. He doesn’t constantly stand out with his puck handling or shot. But he does make smart and quick decisions with the puck, which certainly bodes well for the pro game.
I think he’s worth drafting in the late rounds of the draft this June. Koppanen could be a nice value pick for a team looking for a smart, defensively strong center with fairly good offensive upside.
Here are a couple of goals by Koppanen, he’s the number 15 in both videos: