2022-23 Team: Tapparra U20
Date of Birth: December 8, 2004
Place of Birth: Viliali, Finland
Ht: 6-foot-2, Wt: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2023 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting – 37th (amongst EU skaters)
- FC Hockey – 86th
- Recruit Scouting – 57th
- McKeens Hockey – 73rd
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini) – 120th
- The Hockey Writers (Horn) 58th
- Elite Prospects – 130th
Arttu Karki is an offensive-minded defenseman and one of the more highly-ranked Finnish prospects. A look at the rankings indicates a wide range of opinions on him, which reflects the questions many have about his ability to one day play in the NHL. He is generally considered a prospect with many skills but also quite a few flaws.
In Karki’s second full season with Tappara U20, he posted an impressive 13 goals and 26 assists for 39 points in 36 games. He also had 24 penalty minutes and a plus/minus of plus-25 to go along with his offensive stats, which is one of the reasons why he is considered one of the best defensemen in the U20 SM-sarja league. He has above-average shooting skills to go along with the ability to make plays off the rush.
His skating ability allows him to move efficiently on the point in addition to eluding forecheckers. He is very skilled and patient when he has the puck, frequently setting up his teammates with accurate passes, including some very long tape-to-tape ones. His shot is also good enough to find its way through traffic.
Now we come to the part of Karki’s game that has a lot of scouts concerned: his defensive skills. He does not strongly defend the blue line and sometimes appears detached from the game. He also needs a great deal of work in retrieving pucks in his own end, sometimes appearing passive in the task. Karki can also, at times, be very careless with the puck which leads to turnovers.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
The concern with Karki is that he may end up as a player better suited for the larger European rinks, where the game style favors more offensive-minded defensemen. He needs to improve on moving the puck out of his own end and working harder at getting possession of it in the defensive zone.
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Overall, the positives outweigh the negatives. He will need to develop more defensive skills to reach his full potential, which could be very high if that happens, as he possesses so much skill that has NHL potential written all over it.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Arttu Karki – NHL Draft Projection
There is just way too much talent for a team to pass on Karki. There is so much upside that he will be drafted, most likely in the fourth or fifth round. Given some of the higher rankings, don’t be surprised if someone picks him in the third, but also don’t be surprised if he is not taken until the sixth or seventh round.
“Offensive-minded defender who controls the offensive blue line with poise. Shows good mobility but needs to improve his overall pace of play in order to maximize his potential as an effective NHL puck mover.” – Nick Richards, Dobber Prospects
“Among first-time draft-eligible Finnish skaters in this year’s draft, Arttu Kärki stands alone as the most frustrating yet talented player available.” – Lassi Alanen, Elite Prospects
“Defensively, Kärki has a lot of room to improve. He didn’t manage his gaps consistently, and his below-average quickness left him behind at times in the defensive zone. Kärki’s relatively tall, though, and his long stick allows him to make strong poke checks and defensive plays. Kärki should be worth a pick, but his low-pace game could be hard to translate to the North American style.” – Eutu Siltanen, Dobber Prospects
- Above-average puck skills
- Making plays off the rush
- Moving the puck and getting shots through traffic
- Passes the puck well
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Eliminating turnovers
- Better decision maker
If he can develop his skillset in the defensive zone, Karki has a chance to someday play in the NHL. His offensive skills give him a chance to be a productive blueliner like K’Andre Miller, who can equally be a quality shooter and distributor of the puck. Seeing him skate on the second or third defensive pairing is definitely possible.
Risk 4/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense 5/10
Bronze medalist at the 2022 U18 World Junior Championship