2020-21 Team: Kiekko-Espoo U20
Date of Birth: Apr. 07, 2003
Place of Birth: Espoo, FIN
Ht: 5-foot-11 Wt: 165 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 108th (amongst EU skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s March Rankings: 52nd
- Andrew Forbes’ May Rankings: 64th
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: 84th
- SMAHT Scouting: 79th
Verner Miettinen’s name might sound familiar to those that are fans of the Toronto Maple Leafs. That’s because his older brother, Veeti, was drafted in the sixth round by Toronto in the 2020 Entry Draft. While Veeti looks to be the better hockey player of the two, there’s no doubt that Verner could end up being an excellent player if developed correctly.
Verner Miettinen backhands the puck out of the air – that’s some incredible hand-eye coordination.— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) May 6, 2021
It was reviewed for goalie interference, but the goal will stand.
2-2. #U18Worlds pic.twitter.com/3RHgiRTSEM
Verner has put up some solid numbers in the U20 SM-Liiga with Kiekko-Espoo. In the 49 games he played in during the 2019-20 season, he posted a respectable 36 points with 14 goals. At both the international tournaments he played in (U17 and U18), he put up six points in nine and eight games, respectively. However, with the COVID-19 lockdowns going on worldwide, it stunted development and play in the SM-Liiga, as Miettinen only got 19 games.
He still put up a fair bit of points, but it did hurt his stock a bit with the smaller sample size. Overall, he looks like a player who could fill out with the correct coaching staff and team around him. He’s a solid player along the boards with a fair ability to read the game. His skating is one of his strong suits as well. One thing I would like to see more from Miettinen as he matures, both mentally and physically, is asserting himself within games.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Verner Miettinen — NHL Draft Projection
The rankings for Miettinen are all over the place from the various sources I looked over in the vast world of online scouting. However, the fifth or sixth round seems like an accurate projection for a player of his stature and production. He could very well turn out to be a solid fourth-line center with tremendous skill. The one thing that does hurt his stock slightly is his height. At 5-foot-11 in the center position, it shouldn’t push it down tremendously. However, it is one thing that most scouts will be sure to note on draft day when surrounded by their peers.
Related: 2021 THW Draft Guide
Another thing to note is the fact that he was benched at the U18s at the start of the tournament, and overall wasn’t very effective. He put up one point in the six games he played and wasn’t very impressive in the aggregate.
“Slightly built shoot-first Finnish centre who plays in all situations with good touch from inside the circles. Good offensive skill set with the ability to saucer the puck to teammates while in high traffic and play a strong disciplined game, with a good hockey IQ. Really soft along the boards and is a fluid skater with agility. A sniper who needs a lion’s heart. His team has played few games because of the covid lockout, so the sample size is smaller.” – Bill Płaczek of “Lines”
- Good passer
- Excellent skater
- Willing to battle for pucks
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
Miettinen should focus on gaining a bit more muscle. At a relatively skinny 165 pounds, he will get dominated by NHL-built players on rushes and even in smaller areas like the faceoff circle. Gaining poundage with muscle will come with time, but it’s something I’d like to see him focus on more. Gaining muscle should also help him be more assertive when controlling the puck in the offensive zone and on the rush. Miettinen could work the dominance aspect of his game on for someone with his skillset.
It’s also important that he keep his regression to a minimum, and prove that this last rough season was just a fluke. His stock has taken a hard hit recently thanks to a poor performance in the U18s, so he needs to get himself back on track.
Verner has a lot of skill and has shown a keen ability to use it in tight spaces and even on special teams. If everything goes well with training and he begins to gain some muscle, he may become a strong and skilled depth center for a team looking for it. His skill is evident, and any team would be fortunate to have a player with his puck abilities at the bottom of their lineup. However, he’s shown some regression and that is cause for concern. A fourth-line NHL center is where he could end up at best.
Risk – 3/5 Reward – 2/5
Picking Miettinen with a fifth or sixth-round pick could end up being a steal with the right development team. The risk for a team in those rounds to pick him, especially for those with many picks in that realm, shouldn’t be very high.
Verner Miettinen Statistics
Jeff is a writer for the Nashville Predators department here at THW. He lives and attends high school in Nashville. His family has been season ticket holders for the Preds since their inaugural season. He writes for his own Substack, Last Word on Sports in the hockey department, and the Predators SB Nation site, On The Forecheck