Janne Kuokkanen – The Next Ones: NHL 2016 Draft Prospect Profile

Janne Kuokkanen

2015-16 Team: Karpat U20 (#22)

Date of birth: 5/25/1998

Place of birth: Oulunsalo, Finland

Ht:  6’1 Wt: 179

Shoots: Left

Position: C

NHL Draft Eligibility: 2016 1st year eligible

Twitter: @Kuokka22

Rankings

  • Future Considerations: 70
  • The Draft Analyst: 52

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Kuokkanen combines hockey smarts and puckhandling

Janne Kuokkanen is a very smart hockey player who uses his entire hockey IQ to make plays and setup scoring chances. His vision is outstanding and he is very well aware of his line mates. He reads the game well and distributes the puck using his powerful and accurate pass. If you watch him play you get the feeling that he knows what to do next even before he has the puck.

Kuokkanen is a good puckhandler and is extremely good in tight space. He can make plays with opponents pressuring him and still manages to set up scoring chances while defenders are around him. He is a smooth and agile skater but could improve his skating balance. He also competes hard defensively; Backcheckes well and is aware of his defensive role. While backchecking, he uses an active stick and tries to create turnovers. He does the same in the neutral zone and cuts passing lanes effectively.

Kuokkanen is an effective three-zone player but don’t expect him to get involved physically. He often stays away from board battles and rather uses his good positional game, smooth skating and hockey smarts to make plays.

Kuokkanen would have a decent wrist shot but doesn’t use it often. Too many times, he decides for a pass when he could have fired the puck instead. He has only played one professional game in the Finnish Liiga so far and this could be because teams are unsure how he would do against bigger and more physical players.

NHL Draft Projection:

Kuokkanen will likely be selected in the second or third round. He missed the chance to rise his stock in the course of the season after a strong Ivan Hlinka Memorial Cup in my opinion. His lack of strength and physical play will hinder him from being picked earlier in the draft.

Quotables:

A playmaker that distributes the puck well, Kuokkanen brings clever offensive awareness and timing.

-Marco Bombino, overtheboards.com

Kuokkanen is very smart player with high hockey IQ and smooth hands. He understands the game very well and can control the pace of the play even against grown men or top international competition. He isn’t overly physical but is not afraid of contact either.

-Miika Arponen, Finnish scout

Statistics:

Strengths:

  • Vision
  • Playmaking abilities
  • Good in tight space
  • Powerful pass
  • Skating agility
  • Active stick in the neutral zone

Under Construction (Improvements to Make):

  • Strength
  • Could use his shot more often
  • Doesn’t get involved into the physical part of the game

NHL Potential: 

Kuokkanen has the potential to become a smart offensive player who uses his high Hockey IQ, good decision making and strong passing skills to setup plays.

NHL comparison: Mikael Granlund

Risk-Reward Analysis: 

Risk: 3/5   Reward: 3/5

Fantasy Hockey Potential:

Offensive = 6/10   Defensive = 5/10

Awards/Achievements:

2014/2015: EYOF Bronze Medal

Interview/Profile Links:

McKeensHockey with some words on Kuokkanen

Hockeyprospectus on Kuokkanen

Video(s):

YouTube player
YouTube player

Shots From the Slot (Interesting Notes):

Kuokkanen has been drafted by the KHL team AK Bars Kazan in the second round in 2015. He is a real homeboy, being born in a neighborhood of Oulu, where he also spent his entire career in the organization of Karpat and its surroundings. He has been loaned to a team in the second highest Finnish league to make his first steps in professional hockey and scored two goals in his lone game in the Finnish Liiga.

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THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph