Mestis prospect update: KeuPa

KeuPa forward Joona Kiviniemi and defenseman Valtteri Kakkonen both were in the lineup against TUTO in Finland’s second-highest league on November 15. Here are notes on their performances.

LW Joona Kiviniemi (2001)

Kiviniemi played his first game in KeuPa uniform after joining the team from the WHL’s Swift Current Broncos. A late 2001 who will turn 18 in December, the winger is most well-known for his shot and straight-forward style of play. In his Mestis debut against TUTO, Kiviniemi showcased a more diverse offensive skill set than in the past. His puck management abilities were impressive. His long-range passes were crisp and precise, and his strong play recognition allowed him to play a quick passing game and see openings. He’s a smooth skater with good stance and quickness in his first three strides. On the downside, he struggled a bit when having limited time and space. As Kiviniemi gets more games in and adjusts to the league, he could become a valuable part of the offense. A really good find by KeuPa at this point of the season.

D Valtteri Kakkonen (2000)

Kakkonen spent the past season with the WHL’s Kootenay Ice and put up ten points in 52 games. Today, the right-shot defenseman logged over 20 minutes of ice-time and was stable and reliable throughout the game. He played in all situations for KeuPa. He had the ability to shut down opposing forwards as he aggressively attacked the puck carrier and closed gaps quickly. His defending against the rush was excellent. He did not force the game and made simple, effective tape-to-tape passes. He did twice turn the puck over dangerously in his own end, but for the most part his puck play was good. Kakkonen has improved his lateral mobility and first step from his JYP U20 days. He has a heavy slap shot with good wind up and can get it on net.