Here is a look at four prospects from the Finnish U20 league who are listed in the latest NHL Central Scouting rankings among European skaters. Since the highest ranked player among the four is HPK U20 defenseman Otto Latvala (68th), the main idea of this article is to introduce a few less known Finnish prospects eligible for the upcoming draft.
Otto Latvala (D) – HPK U20 – 68th in Midterm Rankings
Latvala has shown tremendous development over the past two seasons. He was named the top rookie in the U20 league. His overall mobility, foot speed and puck movement have improved a lot. He’s a big, strong defenseman who is difficult to get around due to his defensive awareness. His positioning and gap control are very solid. Has poise and can move the puck effectively under pressure to start offensive transitions. He moves well laterally at the blueline and possesses an effective, heavy wrist shot. His mix of physicality, hockey sense and developing offensive game is an interesting package.
Aatu Luusuaniemi (RW) – Kärpät U20 – 75th in Midterm Rankings
Luusuaniemi had a good rookie season with Kärpät U20, finishing regular season with 15 goals and 37 points in 34 games. The 6’1 right wing has good scoring touch around the net and a quick wrist shot. He makes smart, short passes and uses his linemates well. He has good hands, being able to control the puck in tight spaces and traffic areas. He also wins battles and is tough to move in front of the net. Skating is not the strongest part of his game. Acceleration, agility and edge work are areas for improvement.
Juho Korhonen (D) – Kärpät U20 – 78th in Midterm Rankings
Korhonen was one of the top puck moving defensemen in the U20 league this past season and was named to the first All Star team. He makes crisp, smart passes and sees passing lanes and openings well. He’s really good at the point and does a fine job of getting quality shots on net. Defensively, he has been a bit too reactive in my viewings at times and could improve his positioning. He’s a rather smooth skater with some agility, but given his 5’9 frame, he’s not a particularly dynamic defenseman. Lack of physicality can also hurt his draft stock.
Aarne Talvitie (C) – Blues U20 – 87th in Midterm Rankings
Talvitie has started to play with more confidence offensively as the season has progressed. He finished third in points on Blues U20 with a 13-24-37 stat line. He is a gritty, strong skating center who plays with a lot of intensity. A responsible player away from the puck, Talvitie supports defensemen really well in the defensive zone. He likes to get involved in board battles and can play a very solid physical game. He moves well in a straight-line and uses powerful strides to reach top speed. Decision making with the puck has improved significantly. His wrist shot is deceptively quick and features good accuracy. He could have managed somewhat better in the face-off dot in my viewings of Blues U20, however.