#51 Sami Vatanen – The Hockey Spy’s 2009 NHL Entry Draft Rankings

Christopher Ralph is a hockey writer with a focus on prospects and the entry draft, as well as the Leafs’ correspondent here at THW.

“Full Potential” Prospect Profile:

Vatanen In The Mold Of: Kimmo Timonen? {Patxi64 - Flickr}
Vatanen In The Mold Of: Kimmo Timonen? {Patxi64 - Flickr}


Please “Click Here” for “Notes Up Front” and the “Legend” for various topics covered below, as well as a running live updated NHL 2009 Draft rankings.

51. Sami Vatanen D JYP Jr. (FIN-JR)  03-Jun-1991   5’9″ – 163 lbs

One-Timer: Vatanen’s recent meteoric rise in the draft rankings is because of his recent outstanding performance at the WJC-U18s for Finland, where he was one of the best blueliners in the tournament. To top that off, almost seemingly trying to prove size is not an issue, Sami put forth an amazing effort at the scouting combine (see below). If he were 6’ and heavier, this guy would surely be a 1st rounder. Even with the size issue stacked against him, the NHL franchise that gives this prospect a chance will have a guy with relentless determination to beat the odds. Vatanen is a great skater, has a good shot, makes pinpoint accurate outlet passes and has tremendous hockey sense.

NHL Player(s) Comparison:  Petteri Nummelin,  Kimmo Timmonen,  Niklas Kronwall

Bio/Interview Links:



Scouting Combine Performance:

  • THN’s Ryan Kennedy stated: “Undersized at 5-foot-9, 163 pounds, Vatanen nevertheless destroyed the field in sit-ups, ringing up 72 measured reps (Cassidy Mappin was second with 65; no one else broke 50). He also won the day on the VO2 Max bike, meaning the blueliner has both core strength and lung capacity to go with his solid two-way game.”

International Tournaments: Sami notched 5 assists in 6 games for Finland at the WJC-U18s, and was a plus 6. As mentioned above, he was thought to be one of the best defenders.

ETA = 3 years

Risk-Reward Analysis: Risk = 3.5/5   Reward = 4/5

NHL Potential: 2nd pairing 2-way blueliner

Fantasy Hockey Potential: Offensive = 8/10   Defensive = 7.5/10

Other Rankings:

  • ISS:  83
  • CSB: 16-E
  • TSN:  Honourable Mention
  • THN: Not rated

Video Links: n/a

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