Joonas Korpisalo THW Close-Up:
Date of Birth: April 28, 1994
Place of Birth: Pori, Finland
Height: 6’2″ Weight: 168
NHL Draft Eligibility: 1st time eligible in 2012
- NHL Central Scouting: 3rd (European goaltenders)
* Click here for Notes Up Front for various topics covered below in the live updated NHL 2012 Entry Draft Guide – The Next Ones home page – your quintessential draft resource.
Many teams in European junior hockey find themselves utilizing several goaltenders over the course of a season. The under-20 team of Jokerit Helsinki, which plays in the Jr. A SM-liiga, was no different in 2011-12. During the past campaign, the team used the services of five goaltenders between the ages of 16 and 20, but none were as beneficial to the organization as Joonas Korpisalo.
It is quite impressive, and almost ironic, to think that Korpisalo has found himself to be one of Finland’s best young netminders. His father Jari scored 444 points, including 213 goals, in 575 career SM-liiga games. Additionally, the elder Korpisalo played three seasons in the Deutsche Eishockeyliga, which included a league championship in 2000 as a member of the München Barons.
It is no wonder that Korpisalo has been garnering notice for the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, especially since scouts have been quite high on teammates Teuvo Teräväinen and Esa Lindell. To add, he has taken over the #1 job vacated by Edmonton Oilers draft pick Frans Tuohimaa, which, in itself, is a testament to his ability.
Korpisalo’s resume has already become quite incredible despite his youth. In 2010, he helped Jokerit’s under-16 team, which plays in the Jr. C SM-sarja, win their league championship. It was this past year, 2011-12, where he completely showed his capability to be a top-flight #1 goaltender. Korpisalo joined Jokerit’s under-20 team, despite being only 17 years of age, and he showed that his youth was not a hindrance. He emerged leading the league with a 2.04 goals-against average and a .920% save percentage. These statistics won him the Jorma Valtonen Award as the Jr. A SM-liiga’s best goaltender. Korpisalo also was named to the league’s all-star team as they also won the league’s silver medal.
In 2012, after his season was over, Korpisalo joined Finland’s under-18 team for the World Under-18s in the Czech Republic. Finland had quite an impressive roster, which also included Teräväinen, Lindell and Ville Pokka; as well, there were two players, Aleksander Barkov and Rasmus Ristolainen, who are eligible for the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Korpisalo helped his team place fourth, losing the bronze medal game against Canada in overtime.
Korpisalo has been lauded for his athleticism, speed and professional build. He is also highly thought of his ability to make highlight reel saves, especially one he made on a Brendan Gaunce penalty shot in the bronze medal final of the World Under-18s. Korpisalo is also highly lauded based on his personality. His happy-go-lucky nature and his good sense of humour have made him very popular with his coaches and with members of the media.
“Joonas comes from good bloodlines as his father played over 500 pro games in the SM-liiga. This season Korpisalo emerged as the go-to-guy for Finland in U18 International competition as he started in all the major tournaments. He possesses many attributes that lend to success including outstanding mechanics, solid athleticism and healthy net coverage. The manner in which he can move from post-to-post and the fluidity he exhibits his among the best in this year’s crop of NHL draft eligible goalies. Korpisalo is also very calm in his crease which helps his teammates play better and more confident in front of him. Korpisalo needs to work on his puck handling skills and also show a stronger mental side to his game as he can be guilty of letting in a soft goal on occasion. Nonetheless he has all the tools to be a successful pro as his body of work this season was impressive.”
“Korpisalo is a special blend of the prototypical raw-skilled Finnish prospect. He has a lanky frame, good quickness, strong reflexes, and a competitive, athletic, and somewhat feisty demeanor. Although I haven’t seen him play in a live setting since I’m based in Colorado, I have learned from video clips and phone calls that he still has a lot of work to do, yet he’s solid enough to possibly play in the CHL next season. That’s going to be a big decision for him, because many young Finnish goalies will also benefit from developing in their homeland, and then come over in their 20’s. But Korpisalo has too much athleticism and too much potential at his age to slip beyond the third or fourth round in this draft. Since he attended the NHL Combine, scouts and teams got a real good look at him, and that will definitely boost his value when the big weekend in Pittsburgh arrives.”
“In my opinion he’s really competitive and he has an inner drive for winning, which pushes him every day and motivates him to became a better goalie. His best strengths are his speed and quickness. He has really good reactions also and, because of that, he makes a lot of highlight saves and he’s a really fun goalie to watch! I also like really much of his character of the ice; he’s so laid back and doesn’t really worry about anything. He’s a fun guy to hang out with and he’s a really popular guy on our team. I think he has it all, and he has potential to become a future #1 goalie in the NHL. He really is the full package, with his good size and quickness, and ability to stop the puck and win games and championships! He reminds me a lot of his fellow countrymen in the NHL, Dallas Stars goalie Kari Lehtonen and Vezina Trophy finalist Pekka Rinne from the Nashville Predators.”
“He showed a tremendous upside at the 2012 Under-18 World Hockey Championships where he almost outplayed [Oscar] Dansk and [Andrei] Vasilevski. Also, he’s a very kind guy so he should be a fan favourite in no time.”
- Hockey’s Future – Joonas Korpisalo by Hockeysfuture.com
- NHL Entry Draft: 3rd Ranked European Goaltender, Joonas Korpisalo by Jill Tulk of Toomanymenonthesite.com
- Korpisalo played in two games at the 2011 European Youth Olympic Festival in Liberec, Czech Republic, in which he registered a 1.46 goals-against average and a .914% save percentage.
- Korpisalo played in six games at the 2012 World Under-18 Hockey Championships, in which he recorded a 3.02 goals-against average and a .902% save percentage.
Risk: 3/5 Reward: 4/5
#1 Starting Goaltender.
* See “THW Close-Up” Section above.
- Good athleticism.
- Calm in the crease.
- Quickness and size.
Flaws/Aspects In Need of Improvement:
- Must improve his puckhandling ability and be stronger mentally.
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
NHL Player Comparisons:
- Kari Lehtonen
- Pekka Rinne
- Tim Thomas
Off the Iron (Interesting Notes):
- Korpisalo’s father Jari played one season for the QMJHL’s Granby Bisons. That season, 1985-86, he finished eighth in team scoring with 49 points (22 goals, 27 assists) in 60 games. The team’s leading scorer that year was a 16-year-old Pierre Turgeon.
- Korpisalo became the first 18-year-old goalie to lead the Jr. A SM-liiga in goals-against average since Erno Suomalainen registered a 1.98 GAA in 2008-09.
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