2018-19 Team: JYP (Liiga)
Date of Birth: October 5, 2000
Place of Birth: Jyväskylä, Finland
Ht: 5-foot-10 Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2019 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (European Skaters): 22nd (final)
- HockeyProspect.com: 78th
- Future Considerations: 49th
- The Hockey Writers (Pike’s Picks): 34th (final)
Anttoni Honka is the younger brother of Dallas Stars defenseman, Julius. Anttoni is an offensively-gifted defenseman who is coming off a season that saw him play for four different teams. He was loaned twice in the season to both KeuPa HT of the Mestis League (Finland Division 2) and Jukurit of the Liiga (Finland Division 1), and even saw time with JYP’s U-20 team.
Although he had a hard time finding stability, he still made Finland’s U-20 World Juniors team. At the World Juniors, Honka saw limited ice time and struggled defensively against the older and stronger competition.
Honka possesses fluid skating ability and great stickhandling abilities. He moves the puck really well on transition and on the power play. On the man advantage, he excels at finding seams and getting quick shots to the net. Although when it comes to defense, he really struggles.
The combination of a lack of size and low compete level in the defensive zone makes him a liability in his own end. At only 5-foot-10 and 176 pounds, Honka has trouble defending 1-on-1 along the wall and in front of his net, especially against larger opponents. As of now, he is a very one-dimensional playerm and if he wants to be an NHL-regular, he will need to physically mature and take more pride in playing defense.
Anttoni Honka – NHL Draft Projection
Honka has the skillset of a top-two rounder, but his lack of size and commitment to playing a 200-foot game may land him somewhere in the third or fourth round.
“Swift skating puck rusher who knows how to handle the puck and has the kind of mobility that keeps forecheckers honest. Anttoni, whose older brother Julius currently plays defense for the Dallas Stars, is the most offensively-gifted among the handful of top-tier Finnish rearguards eligible for the 2019 draft. He’s a gambler with or without the puck, and his ability to anticipate danger before utilizing his top-end skating helps tighten the gap between the opposing puck career and him.” – Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
“Honka might be the most polarizing player in this year’s draft. No really, he might be. Whether scouts or writers like or dislike Honka as a prospect, almost everyone agrees he’s an extremely talented d-man with exceptional offensive upside, a fantastic skater, owns great hands, and has no issues eluding opponents to create chances in the offensive zone or move the puck down ice.” – Craig Forsythe/SB Nation
- Puck Skill
- Power-play Capabilities
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Compete Level/Defensive Play
Other THW Profiles
If Honka can add strength and sharpen up defensively, he has all the skills to be an offensive defenseman in the NHL. With added jam to his game, he fits the mold of a player like Troy Stecher of the Vancouver Canucks.
Risk – 4/5 | Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10 | Defence – 6/10
In the 2017-18 season Honka was the recipient of the Reijo Ruotsabinen Award, which is given out to the best defenseman in the JrA SM-Liiga. This past season, he captured a Gold medal at both the U-18 and U-20 World Championships while playing for Team Finland.