G Eetu Mäkiniemi (Hurricanes)
The Carolina Hurricanes fourth rounder has been very good as the starting goalie for KOOVEE. Mäkiniemi leads the league in wins (9), has the best save percentage (.917) and third-best GAA (2.67). Not only do the stats speak for themselves, his play on the ice has been excellent as well. Mäkiniemi is a hybrid netminder who has really elevated his game from the past season, especially in terms of consistency and rebound control. He moves really well, showing great flexibility and the ability to make extension pad saves. He has very good recovery speed and he can make desperation saves from time to time to keep his team in games. He is strong in breakaways as he stays patient and collected in these situations. Mäkiniemi is tough to beat low and challenges shooters. More of a long-term project for the Hurricaness but his development is definitely heading in the right direction.
F Roby Järventie (2020 draft eligible)
With a 5-4-9 stat line in 11 games, the 2020 draft eligible winger is off to a nice start in his first Mestis season. There is a lot to like about Järventie’s skating and offensive skill set. He’s a smooth skater with a long, powerful stride and good top-end speed, with the ability to separate from defenders. He has a heavy wrist shot with a quick release and can get it on net from a distance. He has quick hands, he controls the puck well along the wall and can make plays in tight spaces under pressure. This is my fourth season scouting Järventie and he has most often been the go-to guy offensively in the juniors. His defensive reliability and intensity require improvement, but he’s still adjusting to the league, so I’m expecting him to elevate his play away from the puck as the year progresses. Overall, Järventie is a very skilled NHL prospect with a high ceiling. If he falls to the late rounds of the draft, I think some team may have gotten themselves a steal.
F Eetu Päkkilä (Devils)
I have already written two reports on Päkkilä this season which can be read in his profile here. Päkkilä has consistently gotten on the scoresheet lately, with seven points in his last eight games, and he seems to get better with each viewing. Offense has really started to come along which has boosted his confidence. Skating stands out, he’s already one of the fastest players on the team. His defensive game has gotten steadily better, he reads the game and the effort is consistent as he does not quit on plays. His recent play suggests that he may well be on the cusp of a call-up to the Liiga. Because of his skating, hockey sense and puck skills, all of which are above average, I think Päkkilä could eventually develop into a reliable, multifaceted middle-six NHL winger.