Mikko Rantanen THW Close-Up:
Date of birth: 10/29/1996
Place of birth: Nousiainen, Finland
Ht: 6’4″ Wt: 209 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2015
THW The Next Ones Rankings (February): 12
THW War Room Rankings (March): 7
HockeyProspect.com (February): 19
Last Word On Sports (February): 11
Craig Button (March): 12
CS Final Rankings for International skaters (January): 2
It might be because North America doesn’t get to watch Finnish hockey, but Mikko Rantanen deserves more praise. He’s finally beginning to get placed higher and higher on many top draft rankings because scouts know just what he brings to the table.
At 6’4″, 209 lbs, Rantanen is much more a skilled winger than a power forward. He knows how to use his size in shielding the puck and crashing the net. While Finland was bounced in the quarterfinal stage in the World Juniors Championships, Rantanen definitely left his mark on a lot of people scoring four goals in the tournament.
As a 16-year old he played in the SM-liiga against grown men and hasn’t skipped a beat. He possesses a booming wrist shot with a devastatingly quick release. You don’t typically the slippery smooth stickhandling from a guy of Rantanen’s size, but he uses soft hands to get in and around traffic situations. However, most of his goalscoring is done in close where it’s almost impossible to move him from the front of the net.
Rantanen’s skating is choppy and will definitely need to work on being more polished in that area when he gets the call to the NHL. Although he brings offense, his forechecking sometimes goes unnoticed. Rantanen likes to cause trouble for defensemen by pressuring them to make plays and cough up the puck. He’s not overly well-rounded defensively, but he does chip in here and there. He’s a player that I can see making a late push into the Top 10.
Where Will He End Up In June:
I feel Rantanen could crack the top 10 and be picked in the 7-10 range. He might slip to 13 or so.
“A strong three-zone playmaker who is also defensively responsible…has an awkward upright skating stride, but gets from Point A to Point B just fine…not a big ”wow” factor to his game, but is a smooth, fluid, big-bodied forward who can be hard to handle…uses his strength and reach, along with his vision and hands, to protect the puck…has good instincts when to pass and when to hold…puck seems to follow him around the ice…good in his own zone and consistently makes himself available for a breakout pass…has impressive hockey sense and awareness…needs to work on his shot and add more muscle mass to his growing frame. (December 2014)”
“The 18-year-old playing with TPS in the Finnish Sm-Liiga has started the season with 17 points in 44 games while playing against men. Add this to the four goals in five games at the World Juniors, five points in five games that he scored at the 2014 Under-18s, and the three goals and seven points in five games that he scored in the 2013 Ivan Hlinka tournament. Rantanen is a big player who plays a power forward style of game. He works extremely hard along the boards and is extremely effective at winning battles in international tournaments in his age group. He may not throw huge hits, but he uses his size effectively in the corners and in establishing position in the offensive zone. He also drives the net hard and can finish in close. He controls the puck well down low on the cycle and has the vision to spot open teammates and the passing skill to feather a tape-to-tape pass through the tiniest of openings. Rantanen’s skating is decent. He has good top end speed but he can improve his first step and acceleration. He shows good effort at the defensive end and is a solid two-way player.“
Ben Kerr – Last Word On Sports
“Displays a strong game on the wall and dominance below the circles. Has excellent vision, playmaking skills, and above average feet an effort in all three zones. He is very strong on the puck and uses his size to control play, bring havoc in the front and when he gets the puck it’s tough to get it from him, whether it is in the cycle or when he moves out off the wall. Seems very in control in his carries. He has solid jump and speed and the vision to find openings. If there was a knock it would be his low scoring totals so far. One could argue he wasn’t playing with pivot able to get him the biscuit. Others might say he lacks the high end soft and quick hands, foot speed and agility when passes are sent his way. He has spent time on IR, but is a very intriguing prospect. He was selected to the roster for the World Junior Under-18 Tournament in April and also was a member of his homeland’s team roster for the World Junior Under-20 at Christmas 2014.”
Bill Placzek – DraftSite.com
Rantanen has played for Team Finland eight times in his young career. He’s only been able to capture one bronze medal in that time.
Risk: 1/5 Reward: 5/5
1st line RW goal scoring threat
Positioning in the offensive zone
Shielding the puck
Hustles to play defense
Crashing the net
Flaws/Aspects He Needs To Work On:
Fantasy Hockey Potential:
Offensive: 8/10 Defensive: 4/10
NHL Player Comparison:
– NHL comparison: Corey Perry
THW’s The Next Ones prospect profile template design architect: Chris Ralph