Team Finland: National Junior Evaluation Camp

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2013 National Junior Evaluation Camp (NJEC) – Lake Placid, NY

Sweden vs. Finland – Saturday, August, 10, 2013

#2 Olli Maatta – D: This isn’t the first live viewing of this 2012 1st rounder although he seemed to be playing a fairly quiet game. He was not even supposed to play in this one as he was coming off the flu bug. He played fairly steady by making outlet passes, strong defensively, and showing his smarts as he was probably only at 50% capacity with the sickness. [sociallocker]

#6 Julius Honka – D: He is not a big player though this 2014 NHL Draft eligible defenseman skates well and showed good puck presence, as he handled the biscuit nicely and distributed it well too. He showed good offensive thoughts too although nothing materialized on the score sheet. The vision and skill sets are there and he is supposed to play in the ‘Dub’ this season. He is be a prospect to watch this season.

#11 Joni Nikko – F: This forward was bypassed in this year’s past draft and by the looks of his skating stride, I’m thinking that’s the reason.

#12 Ville Pokka – D: His game seemed to have improved since last NJEC as looked more active and confident out on the ice. He played well on the defensive end, using his body and simply making good decisions with the puck.

#14 Juuso Ikonen – F: He was one of the players I was surprised he was skipped over in this year’s past draft. Last summer the smallish forward showed a lot of jam and scoring touch, but did not look like the case this time around. He looked average for most of the contest, until being promoted to the first line for third period with Lehkonen and Teravainen, which seemed to inject some blood into his game. He then seemed a step quicker and more involved. He took a long, stretch pass from Lehkonen on third period down wing but failed to finish with shot from the top of the circle. Although he saved the best for last as potted the GWG in shootout as he went bar down over Sweden goalie Dansk’s glove with quick snapper, erupting his team in excitement.

#19 Teuvu Teravainen – F: He was easily the best player on the ice among the four teams at NJEC today and throughout the NJEC. He just has great skill set, vision, and hockey IQ. He plays a step ahead of his opponents mentally for sure. On one play he chipped puck ahead and around Swedish d-man to open space so he could explode to puck to make a self-break-a-way. He was slashed and drew a penalty shot on the play. On the PS, he went wide on forehand and cut but with a couple of quick moves then roofing shot on backhand over goalie’s glove. He showed another advanced play while holding puck in his own end on the top of left circle, flipped puck to a streaking teammate in the air that landed flat on the ice perfectly opposite side in offensive zone for scoring chance. His thought process is always a step ahead as shows great puck protection, playmaking, and finish. He went four times during the shootout and managed to score once as he went wide on forehand and then opened up the 5-hole and slide puck in quickly on the backhand. Lead all scorers during the NJEC and certainly a reason why.

#24 Kasperi Kapanen – F: He is a player with high draft expectations for this season as many see as a potential 1st rounder. His game on this day seemed to be quiet and was surprising as he started the game for the first two periods with Teravainen and Lehkonen, who were Finland’s top guns. You obviously would like to see more as not sure he displayed his true skills at NJEC for the week either. He is on the smaller side but did show some skill sets and thoughts that will get NHL scouts excited.

#28 Atturi Lehkonen – F: He played a fairly quite game for the most part on the offensive side in this one but did light the lamp five other times at the NJEC. He seemed to come alive more in the third period and made a beauty stretch pass to a breaking J. Ikonen down the wing in full stride for a late scoring opportunity. He then showed nice skill set and sniping ability as he went bar down on the shootout over Dansk’s glove.

#31 Juuse Saros – G: He is not your typical sized goaltender as he is under 6-foot, but certainly plays large in the crease. Heard many things about Saros’ game prior to NJEC and he lived up to expectations versus Sweden. He just looks comfortable in the net. Many goalies you watch you know it’s a matter of minutes until the dam breaks and goals flood in, but not with Saros. After Sweden’s de la Rose rattled an early shot off the post from down the wing, he certainly woke up. He played steady, challenged shooters, tracked the puck well, limited rebounds, showed a quick glove, and was just mentally strong for the duration including saving 8 of 10 shooters during the shootout to help Team Finland win the game. He also made some beauty and timely saves early in the 4-on-4 overtime. He plays alert and with solid, overall techniques. The 1st goal beaten on by de la Rose was a quick snap shot, blocker side low as he came in unattended right down the slot. Certainly a tough one for Saros, but perhaps got caught back in crease a tad. The other and only goal during regulation play was by a breaking Swedish D-man, Djoos receiving across ice feed. He wisely held it as Saros went down a bit early and Djoos then finished upstairs blocker side. Otherwise stellar saves during the shootout and was only beat on a couple of dandy moves by Wennberg and Sandberg. But overall he gotta like Saros’ development path and nice 4th round pick to the Predators.

#65 Henri Ikonen – F: He showed pretty good jump in his game. He worked hard on the forecheck and buzzed around ice trying to create opportunity. He skates fairly well and plays with decent sense. Not sure high end skills and pure goal scorer, though you like his upbeat style.

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