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:
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
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
- ISS: 83
- CSB: 16-E
- TSN: Honourable Mention
- THN: Not rated
Video Links: n/a
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Chris is THW’s senior draft/prospect analyst and a Managing Editor. Watch for “The Next Ones” Prospect Profile series, exclusive rankings, mock drafts, as well as the annual THW NHL Entry Draft Guide. Follow @ChrisRalphYQ on Twitter as he infiltrates, dissects and analyzes all happenings of hockey prospects and the NHL entry draft. Email: cralph[at]thehockeywriters[dot]com