2019-20 Team: Jokerit U20
Date of Birth: Apr. 29, 2002
Place of Birth: Helsinki, Finland
Ht: 5-foot-7 Wt: 141 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 75th (Amongst EU skaters)
- The Hockey Writers (Fisher): 97th
- The Hockey Writers (Bell): 125th
- McKeen’s Hockey: 90th
Juuso Maenpaa is one of the shortest draft-eligible players in this draft, there is no doubt about it, but he has proven that he is still a force to be reckoned with. Playing for Jokerit’s U20 team in the U20 SM-sarja, he scored 12 goals and added 37 assists for 49 points in 52 games played.
The best aspect of Maenpaa’s game is his offensive capabilities. Standing at 5-foot-7, he has to find a way of being productive while not letting bigger opponents push him around and it is safe to say that he has done just that. He is good at getting shots to the net and can pick and choose where he wishes to put the puck. He can grab rebounds down low and can score goals in and around the net. He has incredible visions and seemingly has eyes in the back of his head. He draws opponents in with his skating ability and delivers a quick pass to his teammates in the slot.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
While Maenpaa is not the strongest player, he does not let that determine how he plays the game. He is not afraid to battle bigger opponents in the corners and around the net and can stand up for himself if he gets into a scrum. He also plays a strong defensive game. He is good at reading passing lanes and is able to break up plays with his active stick.
While he has the skills and skating ability to make an impact at the pro level, Maenpaa will need to add on more weight if he wishes to be more than an average player. The NHL is still very much a physical game and with him only weighing 141 pounds, he will need to add on weight before he is able to make the jump. For whichever team takes a chance on Maenpaa, it will be a wise decision as there is no denying the skill he has. The only downfall is that they will have to be patient as he is not going to make the NHL anytime soon.
Other THW Profiles
“An undersized playmaking forward. A great skater and an excellent passer. Good effort and a decent two-way game. A natural center but will have to switch to wing at the pro level because of his size.” – DobberProspects
“Maenpaa is capable of executing a host of ankle-breaking moves and agility in any direction, and he doesn’t require much space to do so. Maenpaa is a calculated center, one who knows his limits and will reassess situations on the fly. When he peels back and recalculates with the time and space he created, Maenpaa will find the best option to sling a tape-to-tape pass, especially trailers and cutters across the ice.” – Steve Kournianos/The Draft Analyst
Juuso Maenpaa – 2020 NHL Draft Projection
With Maenpaa being ranked 75th by NHL Central Scouting amongst European skaters, I predict he will go right around where they ranked him. He has great skill and will be a great pick for whichever team manages to nab him. I see going somewhere in the fourth round as teams are still reluctant to select smaller guys earlier on as witnessed with Cole Caufield in the first round last year.,
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Needs to add on more weight
It is always tough to predict how prospects will develop. As I mentioned above, if Maenpaa can put on more weight, he will have a good chance of making the pros. He has a great base at which he can build on and can only get better as time goes on. I personally see him being a middle-six centre who is good at setting up scoring chances and can find success on the power play, given the right opportunity.
Risk – 3.5/5, Reward – 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 6/10
In 2017-18, Maenpaa was named to the U16 SM-sarja II All-Star Team. In 2018-19, while representing his native country of Finland, he and his teammates won EYOF Bronze Medals. Maenpaa was also part of the U17 World Hockey Championships Silver Medal winning team and was crowned U18 SM-sarja Champions while playing for Jokerit U18. In 2019-20, Maenpaa was named U20 SM-sarja Rookie of the Year (Yrjo Hakala Award).