Team: JYP Jyvaskyla
Date of Birth: 01/14/1997
Place of Birth: Jyvaskyla, Finland
Ht: 6’ 2″ Wt: 191 lbs
Drafted: Anaheim Ducks, 2nd round, 59th overall 2015
The Anaheim Ducks have selected Julius Nattinen with their second round pick and announced the signing of the Finnish Jyvaskyla-native some days ago. He signed a three-year entry level contract shortly after the draft which indicates that he impressed in Anaheim’s development camp. After playing the majority of the season in the second highest Finnish league while scoring 29 points in 39 games, he helped the Finnish U18 team to bring home the silver medal. Additionally he already played 9 games with JYP in the Liiga and managed to score 3 points. Every junior championship he played in, he impressed scouts and this might be one of the reasons why he was drafted earlier than some scouting rankings suggested.
Anaheim signs Julius Nattinen to his entry-level deal. Creative Finnish forward added edge to his game this year.
— Ryan Kennedy (@THNRyanKennedy) July 16, 2015
He is one of three Nattinen brothers who are playing professional hockey. Joonas, his six years older brother, was drafted back in 2009 in the third round by the Montreal Canadiens. Joonas played one NHL game after returning back to Sweden. Julius’ other brother Jussi played in several weaker European teams. Julius seems to be the most talented of them but it remains to be seen where he is going to play next season. The Barrie Colts of the OHL own his rights and if he decides to stay in Finland it would be JYP which still have him under contract. He would also be available to play in the AHL with the San Diego Gulls if the Ducks go with this option. Wherever he will play next season, Nattinen seems to be ready to take the next step in his career.
Nattinen is a forward with good size and strength who has a very good shot. He uses his full shot arsenal and is an effective weapon on the powerplay with his booming shot. He always tries to bring himself in a good position to use his strong accurate slapshot from a dangerous spot. Due to his good vision he is a dangerous playmaker and can setup plays very well, therefore he can be considered rather a passer than a shooter. He is at his best when he has time and space.
He is an average skater in terms of agility and acceleration but possesses good top speed and likes to flow with the play. Nattinen backchecks well and takes his defensive responsibility very serious. Al in all, the Finnish forward from Jyvaskyla has the potential to be a dangerous playmaker, creating scoring chances with his good vision as well as a powerplay weapon with his powerful shot. He is capable of playing a decent two-way game, but isn’t a player who leaves you breathless and is rather a quiet worker as he keeps the game simple.
Areas for Improvement:
Nattinen has good size listed at 6’2” but he could use his big frame more effective in order to win corner battles and to play with a more physical edge. His skating abilities are only average, especially his acceleration could need some work.
Top-nine playmaking two-way Center
If Nattinen decides to return to Finland for next season he would be ready to make the team in Jyvaskyla and to make a first impact in a league among men. Same goes for the AHL if he would join the San Diego Gulls. Wherever he decides to go, Nattinen is ready for the next step. He showed it at the U18 in April against some of the best prospects of the 2015 draft class. Nattinen possesses offensive and defensive upsides and his responsible two-way game as well as his size shows NHL potential. As of now, I see him as a potential third line player at NHL level. It remains to be seen if he can be more than a top-nine forward, though.
— Barrie Colts (@OHLBarrieColts) June 30, 2015
NHL Player Comparison:
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Independent Scout covering European Hockey and Prospects for TheHockeyWriters. Located in Switzerland and blogging on www.scouting-factory.blogspot.com. Opinions on blog are my own