2016-17 Team: Kingston Frontenacs (#77)
Date of Birth: March 6, 1999
Place of Birth: Joensuu, Finland
Ht: 6’7” Wt: 205 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2017 first-year eligible
- THW Alternate Rankings: Unranked (January)
- Future Considerations: 98th (Spring)
- ISS: Unranked (April)
- McKeen’s Hockey: Unranked (February)
- Bob McKenzie: 64th (Mid-season)
- Craig Button: 76th (March)
- Jeff Marek: Unranked (March)
To say that Eemeli Rasanen is a big kid would be an understatement. At just 18, he already stands at six-foot-seven and over 200 pounds. A native of Finland, Rasanen has already been a part of his country’s resurgence at the international level.
As for his OHL career, he impressed in his first year with the Kingston Frontenacs. He averaged a goal every 11 games and finished with six goals and 39 points in 66 regular season games. In the playoffs, he had five points in 11 games for the Frontenacs who were knocked out in the second round.
While he hasn’t fully learned how to execute his game by using his size this early in his career, Rasanen has a high ceiling for what he can develop into. HIs size, shot and potential to be a strong Chris Pronger-like defenceman in his own end, the 18-year-old will be a player to watch for coming out of the third round of the upcoming NHL draft (unless he moves up, of course).
NHL Draft Projection
Rasanen is ranked as high as an early third-round pick and a far down as one of the last picks in the third round. That being said, expect the big defenceman to go somewhere in the middle. His likely draft spot will be between 70th and 90th, but his size could win him some praise from some NHL general managers.
“A big mobile defensemen with long strides that while look awkward, they are effective…makes quick decision with the puck…on reception, he never hesitates, instead immediately turns to transition up ice and avoid staying stationary. While he doesn’t use his huge frame to be punishing with a nasty edge like he could, he is still a physical presence, stepping up to lay clean hits or rubbing carriers out along the boards. [He] does an excellent job controlling gaps, makes stick-on-puck plays off the rush…is gifted, towering defensemen who can contribute offensively in a way most 6’6” defenders can’t.” – Future Considerations
“Rasanen has a heavy shot but really needs time and space to let it go. His skating is not pretty, he looks clumsy and awkward often and that may just be him growing into his body. He has shown the ability to rush the puck up the ice or join the rush and has lots of raw talent. A work in progress, but one with considerable potential.” – Peter Harling, Dobber Prospects
- Defensively physical
- Ability to cut off lanes
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Use his full frame more effectively
- Quicker shot release
Aside from the small developmental pieces that need to be pressed out of his game, Rasanen’s size is a definite upside to his potential NHL career. If he can clean up his skating and find a way to get his shots through on the offensive side – which means getting them off faster – he can potentially find a spot as a three or four defenceman on an NHL club.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 6/10, Defence – 7.5/10
While there isn’t a whole lot to write about just yet when it comes to awards for the young defenceman, he was a part of the silver medal Finnish team at the under-18 World Junior Championships in 2016-17 where he had one goal in six games for his native country.
Andrew is in his 8th year reporting for The Hockey Writers covering the Toronto Maple Leafs. He began his broadcasting with CBC’s Hockey Night in Canada team as well as being part of their coverage of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi. He’s the former play-by-play voice of the London Jr. Knights for Rogers TV and currently hosts the Sticks in the 6ix podcast. You can follow him on Twitter at @AndrewGForbes.