2021-22 Team: Tappara (Liiga)
Date of Birth: May 5, 2004
Place of Birth: Hausjärvi, Finland
Height: 6-foot-1, Weight: 176 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: First-Year Eligible
- TSN/Bob McKenzie: 57th
- TSN/Craig Button: 85th
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 31st
- Smaht Scouting: 38th
- Puck Authority: 80th
- The Hockey Writers (Zator): 61st
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 72nd
Topi Rönni is a Finnish center with good size and great speed. He impacts play consistently on both sides of the puck, and his speed and agility could lead him to develop a solid power-forward style in the future if he learns how to use his size to his advantage in puck battles. He uses his size well to protect the puck while he has possession, but he could improve on using his larger frame to win 50/50 puck battles or to knock opposing players off the puck.
Rönni plays a very mature game with very few flaws, which is great to see from such a young player. He rarely over-extends himself and is usually in good position for a strong back-check in the offensive zone. His offensive stats don’t exactly pop off the page; he scored four points in 20 games in the Liiga this season. However, he just turned 18 in May 2022 and excelled in his 30-game stint in the Finnish U20 league, scoring 29 points while dominating the ice on both offense and defense.
Too good for the U20 league but not quite good enough to excel at the professional men’s level in the Liiga, Rönni is set to return to the Liiga next season, and I fully expect him to play a much bigger role in his team’s success. Tappara, his team, won the championship this season, so he didn’t see a ton of playoff ice time in those important games. However, assuming he starts the season with Tappara rather than the U20 league, I expect Rönni to gradually earn a bigger and bigger role going forward.
In Finland’s U20 league, Rönni often led his team’s forwards in ice time while playing on both special teams. His size and speed made him an overwhelming force for U20 competition, which is why he finished the season with 20 games in Liiga rather than playing out the year in the junior league. Rönni improved his draft stock while playing at the U18 World Junior Championships in May, where he scored four points in six games for Team Finland, and was one of their most consistent forwards despite not having the electric skill set of a player like his teammate, Joakim Kemell.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
Rönni plays a relatively simple two-way game with few bells and whistles, though his speed and agility, coupled with his solid playmaking, will likely make him a full-time NHLer in just a few years.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Topi Rönni – NHL Draft Projection
Rönni is expected to be drafted toward the end of the second round or early in the third round of the 2022 Draft. I believe that is a fair projection as he plays a solid, reliable game, but lacks the high upside that scouts look for in an early second-round pick. I expect Rönni to be drafted around 60th.
“He owns above-average size and a prototypical NHL style frame and moves well for a player of that size, displaying smoothness on his edges throughout this game while also having above-average straight-line speed.” – Brandon Holmes, FCHockey
- Defensive positioning
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Puck handling
- Improve shot
Rönni’s combination of size, speed, and playmaking skills make him a likely candidate to make the NHL as a checking forward who will likely earn plenty of time on the penalty kill throughout his career. He won’t often wow audiences with top-end skill or a blistering wrist shot, but he is likely to be an excellent depth piece who helps his team win games.
His high-end projection would be in a role similar to Phillip Danault of the Los Angeles Kings, who can chip in on offense a bit but is mainly used as a shut-down center who matches up against the opposition’s best players. His lower-end projection would be similar to a player like Tyler Motte of the New York Rangers, a third- or fourth-line player who has the speed and defensive tenacity to stay in the lineup and play heavy minutes on the penalty kill.
Risk – 2/5, Reward 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 5.5/10, Defense – 7/10
- 2021-22 Liiga Champion
Topi Rönni Statistics
Logan is the director of prospect coverage (including the World Junior Championship and NHL Draft) for The Hockey Writers, and he’s also a part of the Detroit Red Wings writing team. He loves reading about statistics and advanced analytics, and discovering how they can enrich his hockey analysis and writing.