2021-22 Team: HIFK (Liiga)
Date of Birth: Nov. 2, 2003
Place of Birth: Helsinki, Finland
Ht: 5 foot 11 Wt: 192 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 23 (Amongst EU Skaters
- FC Hockey: 59
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 66
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 81
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 73
Highly skilled, offensive-minded, right-shot defenders are definitely coveted assets in the NHL. The ability to break open a game with skill from the blue line cannot be overstated and that kind of upside often has scouting departments salivating. When it comes to Otto Salin, that’s exactly the type of offensive ability a team would be getting.
No matter what game tape is watched and no matter who is asked, Salin’s offensive ability is always the most obvious skill set that dominates the discussion. The ability to skate the puck through the neutral zone and into the offensive zone while also facilitating offense from the point or off the rush are just a testament to his IQ with the puck on his stick.
A strong skater who has a powerful first stride and solid edge work, Salin is a very talented player who has the instincts to match the ability. His speed and crossover ability set him apart from his peers and make up some of his best traits. He’s also a very accurate passer and can kick-start an offensive drive with a strong breakout pass should the opposition leave such a play open.
One thing that could use work for Salin is his shot accuracy. While he can hit the net and is capable of scoring, his shot is not his strongest suit. That doesn’t stop him from taking shots at high volumes, though, even if they aren’t always landing on target.
On the flip side of this equation, Salin certainly needs work on the defensive side of the puck if he’s going to translate into an NHL defender one day. While the offensive ability and instincts are good, he’ll need to work on his defensive reads, his gap control and his work along the boards to really convince anyone that he can play at higher levels of competition. It’s tricky because the offensive skills are attractive; at the same time, though, teams need someone they can rely upon in their own zone in some way, shape or form if they’re going to trust them in the NHL.
Salin doesn’t shy away from contact, but his physical strength isn’t the most impressive trait as of now. He can benefit from adding some weight to his frame if he’s going to successfully play with an edge against bigger, stronger and faster competition.
Related: THW 2022 Draft Guide
In general, though, Salin should be an intriguing prospect to teams given the fact that his shortcomings are all teachable traits. Still, while the offensive abilities are mostly above average, he lacks multiple elite traits outside of his skating that would make him a sure-fire top pick. Where each team has him ranked on their draft boards will be the real question.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Otto Salin – Draft Projection
Considering his offensive instincts and ability are so strong, Salin’s upside could find him selected somewhere in the late second round or early third round. This is despite the defensive instincts and abilities lagging behind. Because it’s hard to pinpoint exactly how teams will view his skillsets and what they would deem easy or hard to fix defensively, though, it also wouldn’t be all that surprising to see him picked earlier second round or even as far down as the start of the fourth round. Teams are aware that not every prospect is perfect at 18 years old and Salin’s offensive game tape may be enough to set him apart. A realistic spot for him to be taken would be somewhere in the 55-70 range in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft.
“He can gain a lot of speed with crossovers and on puck retrievals, he accelerates quickly so he can carry the puck up the ice if necessary. Salin likes having the puck and he always wants it on his blade. He also supports the attack a lot, which can make him a bit vulnerable defensively, however.” – Eetu Siltanen, Dobber Prospects
- Offensive Instincts
- Accurate Passing
- Willingness to shoot
- Puck-moving ability
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive awareness
- Gap control
- Shot accuracy
- Needs to add weight to his frame
If all things go well for Salin and he can round out his game, he has the potential to play in the top-four of a defense. At the very least, his offensive skill set could allow for him to play in a more sheltered third-pairing role while maintaining a regular spot on the powerplay as quarterback for a team.
Risk 4.5/5, Reward 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense 8/10, Defense 3.5/10
Salin won a bronze medal at U18 WJC.
Otto Salin Statistics
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Brandon Share-Cohen has covered the NHL and various professional sports for seven years. Working with The Hockey Writers, Brandon works extensively on covering the Boston Bruins in addition to his role as the News Team Lead.