Is Juuso Parssinen a Late Round Steal?

The NHL draft is today, featuring the first 31 picks. What happens today with selections could change the direction of a franchise for the next 10 years. But no one shows love to the day two draft picks, which is rounds 2 through 7. Nikita Kucherov, Jamie Benn and Pavel Datsyuk were day 2 selections, just to name a few. So who’s a prospect that could turn out to be much better than where they were selected in the draft? My bet is on Juuso Parssinen.

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Background

Parssinen is a Finnish prospect, who played almost all of last season on TPS U20, in the Jr. SM Liiga. There, he put up 13 goals and 9 assists for 22 points in 36 games. He also played on team Finland for the U18 World Junior Championships, but played a minor role, with just 1 goal and 1 assist in 5 games. He was ranked 156th by Future Considerations and 145th by McKeens Hockey, which places him anywhere from the late stages of round four to the early parts of round 5. But what makes him stand out?

After Watching Film

I watched the only 2 available games, thanks to Prospect Shifts (a subscription based site), on Parssinen, and what I found is a very underrated player. His value is lowered by the fact that he plays in the U20 leagues rather than up against men in Liiga. But that is completely undeserving.

The Good: He is a decent skater. He has great balance and can fight through checks and get to the dirty areas. He also has fantastic puck control and is great at using his 6’2, 203 pound frame to protect the puck. His stick handling allows him to make a move on a defenseman to open up a passing or shooting lane. He’s also good at changing his stick position to make a pass through tight coverage and while being under pressure. He has fast and crisp passes that never seem to miss his target and is very hard to break up. He has a knack for scoring in tight to the goalie, and has an accurate shot. He likes to crash the net for rebounds, and with his good hand eye and vision, he does, at times, fish the puck out and get a scoring chance. On the forecheck, he shows an active stick, making it difficult for defenders to put the puck past him. He doesn’t hit often, but when he sees your head down he is not afraid to initiate contact. He supports the defense down low, and his active stick translates from the forecheck to the defensive zone. He played in all situations last season for the U18 team, where he worked the top of the diamond on the penalty kill, and played mostly on the half-wall, facilitating the play to the point, or hitting cross ice passes for one timers.

The Bad: He isn’t necessarily a bad skater but he is slow and can, at times, fall behind the play. In the offensive zone, he didn’t struggle to get open without the puck against his age group, but in his one and only game in the top league, Liiga, he struggled to find room due to the lack of movement he had. He has to be moving more without the puck, and that comes with confidence down the road. His shot is accurate, as I touched on, but doesn’t have enough power behind it. On the forecheck, he shows an active stick, but isn’t aggressive enough. He gives the defenseman too much space to reconsider, and think out plays, to get past his active stick. He also doesn’t stop and start with the play, often taking wide turns to get back. That is due to his very below average edge work, and he will need to really work on his turns and stops to even begin to translate to the NHL level. In the defensive zone is where he really begins to struggle. Despite playing on the penalty kill, Parssinen chases the puck carrier all over the ice, with no positional awareness. When he isn’t chasing the play, he often finds himself watching the puck, and getting sucked in towards it slowly, opening up whoever he was supposed to cover and, in turn, knocking him out of position.

What is needed to reach NHL level

Parssinen has the skill set, with the puck on his stick to arguably be second round talent. His bad edgework along with his below average speed knock him back a bit, not to mention his lack of defensive awareness. Without the puck he is not mobile enough and does not find soft areas of coverage to get open for a teammate at a consistent enough level. However, if he works on his skating and gains even a little bit of positional awareness in both offensive and defensive zones without the puck, he could crack an NHL roster. If he continues developing his already solid offensive skills along with his skating, he projects to be a solid third line scoring winger. He could be a low-risk, high-reward player, but development and patience is key in his growth.

All stats via Elite Prospects 

Feature image courtesy of Nikos Michals

NHL Draft: Top Finnish Draft Eligible Prospects

Kaapo Kakko leads the line for the Finish league prospects heading into the 2019 NHL draft, but he is far from alone.

Finland had an amazing year at the world scene, where both the World juniors and Men’s worlds resulted in celebration as they went on to win the gold. Both came with the help of future superstar Kaapo Kakko, who has been at the front of European prospects for the last year. But, Finland has a few more names that you should keep track of.

Here are the four best Finnish draft prospects.

Kaapo Kakko – TPS Turku – Winger

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What is left to say about Kaapo Kakko at this point. The Finnish sensation has had an incredible year and that’s putting it lightly. The only thing he hasn’t won this year was the Finnish Domestic league, Liiga. And that certainly wasn’t Kakko’s fault. He had a solid season with TPS Turku, where he scored 22 goals and had 16 assists in only 45 games. Those are numbers that are better than the ones that Patrik Laine produced in his draft year. Keep in mind that this was while Kakko was 17 years of age. He was a teenager playing against men in their prime or former NHLers. The Liiga is a strong league and Kakko didn’t just hang around in it, he was one of the best in it. Sadly, Turku was knocked out of the playoffs pretty quickly and that put an end to his hopes of a perfect departure from Liiga.

However, that was the only sore note on his season. Internationally, he is one of a very select few who has managed to win a gold medal in the under 18 worlds, under 20 worlds (Juniors), and Men’s worlds before turning 20. At the Juniors, he was stunning and in the final as the puck found its way onto his stick with 1 and a half minute left, he made no mistake and made it 3-2 over USA to send the gold back to the land of a thousand lakes. But the true highlight was his ending to the season, where he got a chance to play for the Finnish national team at the Worlds. Without NHL stars, Kakko was allowed to play a key role and he took full advantage, as he helped Finland to one of the greatest and unlikeliest of championships ever seen. This time against teams like Canada, Russia and USA, who had NHL caliber teams. But, they all failed against the Finns and the teenage senaation from Turku.

Therefore, I have Kakko as the most NHL ready player there is in the draft. Many will have Jack Hughes as the number one at the draft, and it’s more than likely also the case on Friday. However, I feel the showing at the Worlds, has proven that Kakko is used to the physicality that’s needed outside junior hockey. That’s something Hughes still need to get accustomed to. He absolutely will, but I believe that Kakko will do better in first and second season than Hughes.

Ville Heinola – Lukko – Defender

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The second Finish player that people are expecting to go in the first round is Ville Heinola. The defender has had a very strong first year in Liiga. He started out in the junior leagues, where he was a point a game in his nine games, before being called up to Lukko. Since then he hasn’t looked back, grabbing 14 points in 34 games.

Internationally, he was also a major part of the Juniors team that went to Vancouver and won the gold in January, where he played the first 5 games of the tournament before getting hurt in the quarterfinals against Canada. A sad ending to a very good tournament that saw 2 points in 5 games for the younger defender.

Those stats do reflect some of his skill set and an offensive defender with a nice vision and good puck movement. Despite not being a fast skater, his vision and eye for the game is stellar and that gives him a huge edge.

The only slight knock on Heinola is his frame. At only 5’11 and 178 lbs, it’s clear that he would benefit from gaining a little bit of muscle, in order to win the puck battles in front of the net or at the boards. If he can do so, I see no reason why he wouldn’t be able to become a nice top 4 defender in the NHL someday.

I predict that Heinola will go late in the first round or early in the second.

Anttoni Honka –Jukurit – Defender

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Last year, Anttoni Honka was tipped for greatness and a great spot in the draft. A year later and he has been sliding in the draft rankings. He now projects outside of the first and second round and that’s due to a very turbulent season for the Finn. Last year, he came into Liiga and was spectacular scoring 9 points in 20 games for JYP. However, he hasn’t been able to follow up on the success he had and he has spent time at three different clubs. Unfortunately, he hasn’t had much success at any of those clubs. Overall, he posted 15 points in 38 games. That doesn’t sound awful and it by no means is, but almost half of those points came when he was playing in the second division of Finish hockey, Mestris. In the playoffs with KeuPa HT, Honka played very well and almost helped them to the championship, but sadly they were beaten at the last hurdle.

While the talent is very clear with Honka, he is a bit of an un-finshed product at the moment. Very fast, skilled on the puck and his offensive mindset is superb, but there are some speed bumps. Defensively he is lacking a lot, and with a small size, he will require a lot of work from the team that picks him. However, if his defensive game can be refined and adjusted, while he gains a few pounds of pure muscles, I could see him turn into a diamond in the rough in the third or fourth round.

Mikko Kokkonen – Mikkelin Jukurit – Defender

Another Finnish defenseman in the draft, who is more than worth keeping an eye on is Mikko Kokkonen. The Jukurit player has had a nice first full season in Liiga, where he played 56 games for the team and contributed with 19 points from the blue-line. Not bad at all for someone who turned 18 in 2019. Sadly, he missed out on the playoffs, but he’s playing in a strong league and developing at a rapid pace. I would expect Kokkonen to remain in Liiga for one year before taking the trip to North America to further his career growth.

One of the major strengths of Kokkonen is his versatility. He is a fantastic two-way player, who can do a job in almost all situations. He’s strong on the puck, smart and without a glaring weakness. Kokkonen is a coach’s dream player. However, this ability to be capable in all areas is also part of his weaknesses. He isn’t the greatest at any attribute and he won’t be the player who can create magic on the ice. He does what he is asked, and he does it to an acceptable level, without wowing the audience. While this isn’t great in terms of draft rating, that could be exactly why he becomes a nice top 4 defender in the NHL.  A player that’s reliable is key in the top 4 and Kokkonen could become the unsung hero on the teams blue-line, like Dan Girardi was at New York Rangers.

stats from eliteprospects.com

Puck 77 NHL Draft Scouting Reports

We’ve compiled all of the scouting reports done by the various members of the Puck77 team for the NHL Draft here in one easy location so you can jump right to the player you want!

Our Top-12

1. 🇺🇸 Jack Hughes, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Jack Hughes by Tony Ferrari

2. 🇫🇮 Kaapo Kakko, RW, TPS (Liiga): Deep Dive Scouting Report of Kaapo Kakko by Tony Ferrari

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3. 🇺🇸 Alex Turcotte, C, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Turcotte by Tony Ferrari

4. 🇨🇦 Bowen Byram, LHD, Vancouver Giants (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Bowen Byram by Tony Ferrari

5. 🇺🇸 Trevor Zegras, C/LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Trevor Zegras by Tony Ferrari

6. 🇨🇦 Dylan Cozens, C, Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Dylan Cozens by Tony Ferrari

7. 🇺🇸 Cole Caufield, LW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Cole Caufield by Tony Ferrari

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8. 🇨🇦 Kirby Dach, C, Saskatoon Blades (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Kirby Dach by Tony Ferrari

9. 🇨🇦 Alex Newhook, C, Vancouver Grizzlies (BCHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Alex Newhook by Tony Ferrari

10. 🇨🇦 Peyton Krebs, C, Kootenay/Winnipeg Ice (WHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Peyton Krebs by Tony Ferrari

11. 🇺🇸 Matthew Boldy, RW, USNTDP: Deep Dive Scouting Report on Matthew Boldy by Tony Ferrari

12. 🇷🇺 Vasili Podkolzin, RW, SKA St. Petersburg (KHL): Deep Dive Scouting Report on Vasili Podkolzin by Tony Ferrari

Other Intriguing Prospects

2019 NHL Draft: What makes Philip Tomasino such an intriguing prospect? by Spencer Loane

2019 NHL Draft Deep Dive: Arthur Kaliyev by Spencer Teixeira

NHL Draft Profile: Nolan Foote by Spencer Teixeira

Come back for more profiles as they are updated and added! Thanks for stopping by!

NHL Draft Profile: Kaapo Kakko

Maybe the most dominate player in the draft when going at his best, Kaapo Kakko is the only player to truly push Jack Hughes for the top spot in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. Combining speed, power and elite stick-skills, he has played against men all season long, Kakko proved that he was the most NHL ready draft prospect.

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Name: Kaapo Kakko

Date of Birth: February 13, 2001

Nationality (Place of Birth): Finnish (Turku, Finland)

Hieght: 6’2″

Weight: 190lbs

Shoots: Left

Position: RW

Rankings

Ranked #2 by TSN/McKenzie

Scouting Report

The above spider graph, courtesy of Kyle Pereira of Puck77, displays the available data from Will Scouch. As shown, Kakko doesn’t excel in any of the categories above but he does grade out well in his NHL eScore. The reason for the middling statistical numbers above and the high NHL eScore is that Kakko played the entire season in the Liiga. This led to slightly muted production but despite that, Kakko isn’t at the bottom of any of the areas. His produtcion for his age group was elite. He broke records and he showed that not only can he play against men, he can produce at a high level as well.  

The young Fin is an exceptional skater. He has a powerful stride that aids in accelerating to his top-speed. He uses his edge work to change direction and has the ability to stop-and-start is exceptional. He is one of the best players in this class at protecting the puck while skating through the neutral zones and offensive zone. Kakko’s balance on his skates allows him to work along the boards and in the corners with efficiency even while playing against men in the Liiga, Finland’s top level league. Kakko plays with power and physicality in all aspects of his game. In the video below, you can see Kaapo Kakko as the primary puck carrier on the powerplay utilizing his teammates to open space for himself and the zone entry. Once in the zone, he doesn’t shoot the puck around the boards, rather he turns back looking for a pass. 

Tweet courtesy of @DraftLook

One of the biggest misnomers in the evaluations of Kakko is that he is an excellent sniper. This isn’t the case however. Kaapo Kakko is a very complete player. Defensively, Kakko tracks back into the zone like a center and does a good job of staying involved in the play in his own end. Kakko’s high hockey IQ allows him to follow plays and read the play as it develops. His positioning is sound and he regularly disrupts offensive plays for the other team. When the puck goes to the boards he is able to successfully battle for the puck, recovering and transitioning to offence with ease. Using his powerful stride and excellent agility to weave his way into the offensive zone.

Once into the offensive zone, the outstanding tools that Kakko possesses are able to show their true value. When Kakko is going full bore, he can’t be stopped. His ability to protect the puck, drive to the net with power and finish with soft hands in tight. In tight on the net, Kakko is able to gain position in front of the net or in the slot and make small adjustments to change the shooting angle. Kakko’s tool set includes the ability to score from anywhere on the ice. Kakko’s shot is hard and heavy, it comes off his stick lightning quick which causes goalies to be often unprepared for the shot. He locates his shot quite well from anywhere in the offensive zone. Below is an example of his outstanding shot. This shot from the point comes as he rotates to cover the pinching defender on the blue line and the retrieves an excellent pass for a one-timer. 

Tweet courtesy of @IIHFHockey

While not necessarily known for his playmaking ability, Kakko has excellent vision and delivers passes with precision and crisp pace. He has the hockey IQ to read and recognize where and when his teammates will be in prime scoring areas. The young Finn is able to drive the net and create space and drawing extra attention. The second that Kakko realizes where his teammates are in open space, he fires a pass on their tape. Kakko does an excellent job finding space for himself or others and then making passes that many players can’t because he reads the play better than most.

Preseason Outlook

Coming into the season Kakko was ranked second or third on almost all public draft boards. The dazzling Finn knew he’d be spending his season with TPS of the Liiga, the top men’s league in Finland. Kakko opted to attend the World Junior Showcase rather than the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament. A similar decision was made by other top prospects Jack Hughes and Dylan Cozens. Kakko didn’t blow anyone away at the showcase but he played a lessor role on a U20 squad as a 17-year-old. With the beginning of the Liiga season around the corner, the Showcase was merely a warm-up for what was still to come.

Deferring to teammates, Growing in the Liiga

At just 17 years of age, Kakko was set to spend the season in the Liiga. The top men’s league in his home nation of Finland was the perfect place for a physically mature player who dominated the junior level. Playing on TPS, a team expected to have a good season, Kakko started a bit timid. While he was putting up points at a good rate, he played to role of playmaker and relied on his high IQ and vision to make plays for his teammates to mediocre results. Deferring on good shot chances to set his teammates for marginally better chances despite a stark contrast in skill level in favour of Kakko often led to empty chances.

The first couple months of the season past and the production for Kakko was solid as he had nine goals and 20 points in 29 games, he was scoring at a pace that would come close to setting some age-17 season records in the Liiga. Kakko secured a spot on the Finnish World Junior U20 squad and despite being a young player, he was expected to play a large role on offence. After a successful tournament, shining on the world stage and coming home with the gold medal, Kakko’s confidence seemed to have grown.

Video courtesy of Hockey Prospect Center Youtube channel

Upon his return to TPS, Kakko began to exhibit his full skill set. The timidness and deferring that seemed to be evident in his game early in the season was gone. Replaced by a man possessed, Kakko began his true ascension to challenging for the top spot on the draft. The young Finn unleashed the power side of his game on his Liiga opponents, showing that although he was yet to grow into a man himself, he could play like a man amongst boys in a men’s league.

The second half tear for Kakko ended up driving him to a record breaking season. Battling against men, he showed his physical maturity compared to most 17/18-year-old players. His powerful skating and protection of the puck was key in being able to play his game in a league that rarely has effective players at Kakko’s stage of development play major roles. Kakko finished the season averaging north of 18 minutes a night, at times playing in all situations. His 22-goal campaign broke the record previously held by Alexander Barkov for draft eligible players in Liiga play. Kakko’s penchant for scoring was paying dividends during the second half of the season, which helped earn him a spot on the men’s IIHF World Championships team for his home country of Finland. Kakko continued to prove that he was not only worthy of being considered for the first overall pick, he should be taken in the if top spot.

Finland’s Finest

Video courtesy of Puck Prodigy Youtube channel

The international stage has been Kakko’s biggest stage all year. Initially he showed up huge for the Finnish World Junior U20 team as a 17-year-old. Then after his 18th birthday he was able to show his true potential and skill against men in the men’s IIHF World Championships. Showing up as a big-time player on the big stage has been the primary driving force for Kakko’s ascension to truly challenging Hughes for the top spot. 

In the World Junior Championships, Kakko played a huge role for the Finns. Despite being just 17 years of age, Kakko was able to manhandle players two years his senior. Scoring 5 points in seven games was impressive enough for a player at his age in a tournament traditionally dominated by 19-year-olds. The moment that Kakko will likely be remembered best for during his draft year may have come during this tournament. Going into the gold medal game against Jack Hughes and the United States, Kakko was the hero for his national team. The video below shows the biggest goal of Kakko’s young career. Kakko battled in front of the net, finding the loose puck after a shot from the point was lost in traffic. Kakko was able to put the Finnish team ahead with just over a minute remaining. 

Tweet courtesy of @DraftAnalyst

His follow-up international performance helped produce the same result, only this time at the men’s level. Following the elimination of his club team, TPS, from the Liiga playoffs, Kakko joined Finland’s entry into the IIHF World Hockey Championships. This was a chance to prove that the young Finn was ready for top competition. Having shown that he was able to play against men in the Liiga, this was a chance to prove that he could keep up with and compete with NHL caliber talent. To say he past this test would be an understatement. Kakko produced six goals and seven points in ten games, helping Finland to another gold medal. Despite having 0 NHL goals on the Finnish team and only two players to have played a game in the NHL this past season, Finland was not expected to be a factor at this tournament. Play began and the Liiga-player-led Finns were impressive to say the least, Kakko maybe among the most impressive. In the video below, Kakko does an excellent job finding space in the middle of the ice as he crosses the blue line to recieve the pass but then the magic happens. Kakko is tripped up by a diving Canadian defender, at which point the Finnish sensation performs a balancing act, going up on one leg and outlasting the Canadian netminder before tucking in a beautiful, highlight reel goal to open the tournament for the Finns. 

Tweet courtesy of @VinnieParise

What the Detractors Say

This may be the easiest prospect to pick out a weakness. There isn’t one really. His defensive game could improve a bit but he is already quite good in his own area. One of his weaknesses during the first half of the season was the fact that he was deferring too much to other more experienced players on TPS in Liiga. As the season wore on this became less of an issue as he was able to become more aggressive. The one thing that Kakko can do to continue to improve is to build muscle as he matures physically. Continuing to stay competitive and engaged once he arrives in the NHL will be key to any players progression and Kakko is no different. Kakko is a very complete player.

Kaapo Kakko will be taken…

Second overall, possibly first. Kaapo Kakko is clearly one of the top two prospects available for this draft. The gap between Kakko and Hughes had become smaller and smaller through the the season. Many around the scouting and prospect world feel that the talents levels of the two became razor thin, one way or the other, after the IIHF World Championships. Kakko played outstanding throughout the year, improving steadily all year long.

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The record setting year for the next great Finn was absolutely phenomenal. He deserves to be the first overall pick, and any other year he would probably be the clear cut number one. This year he headlines a draft that has two franchise talents, Hughes and himself, along with an extremely strong top half of the draft. Kakko’s complete game, offensive domination at times and his penchant for winning have all made him a can’t miss prospect that either the New Jersey Devils or New York Rangers will be able to build around for years to come.

For more on the NHL, prospects and the NHL Draft, follow me here at @TheTonyFerrari on twitter!

All stats and information provided by Hockey Reference, Elite ProspectsDobber Prospects and NHL.com

 

Clearing the Puck! A look at the week that was in Hockey!

Welcome to the first edition of Puck77’s newest feature, Clearing the Puck! Here we will take a weekly look at the world of hockey! Everything from the NHL to the World Championships!

Since this is the first iteration of “Clearing the Puck”, a brief explanation seems appropriate. What we’re going to be doing at Puck77 is putting out a weekly recap. There are going to be observations, summaries and some cool things that we noticed around the web from the NHL and the world of hockey from the last week. There will be 10 points every Saturday morning. Included will be links to articles from our website as well as many others to help fill you in on some of the best hockey and NHL content from around the web.

So why are we calling the weekly review “Clearing the Puck”? Well it’s fairly simple. We want to clear the news from the week. We want to give you a recap of all the important news and notes from the week. Much like clearing the puck during a hockey game gives you a chance for a fresh start, we want this weekly feature to give you a fresh look at the weeks biggest and best news and content from everything hockey. As evidenced by point number seven today, not everything is going to be serious, hard hitting news. We will take a look at the lighter side of the game as well!

Without further ado, welcome to the inaugural edition of Clearing the Puck!

San Jose takes game 7, again not without controversy!

Again. In the first round, a San Jose Sharks comeback in game seven of the first round against the Vegas Golden Knights. That comeback was propelled by a controversial game misconduct cross-checking penalty on Cody Eakin. After watching the replay, it was evident that the officials made a call on the result of the bad fall Joe Pavelski took, rather than the infraction itself.

This time it was an offside challenge on a goal that seem to have tied the game at two and would have swung all momentum in the Colorado Avalanche‘s favour. While many complained about the call because it was overturned even though it was impossible to see on the early 2000s webcams they use in the boards along the blue lines. Gabriel Landeskog going off for a line change may have had his skate blade an inch offside, it wasn’t called during play and it didn’t affect the play in the least. He was actively getting off of the ice.


Tweet and video courtesy of @AltitudeTV

As seen in the video above, it’s almost irresponsible to overturn a call when the camera is a pathetic excuse for technology and the call on the ice was a goal. However, could this be karma? The reason we have the highly divisive offside reviews in the first place is because Matt Duchene was a mile offside and scored on the break-away. Not all goals are equal and the hockey gods picked an unfavourable time to pay the Avalanche back for the drama the offside reviews have caused.


Tweet courtesy of @Ken_stapon

The Jerks meet the Jerks!

The “Bunch of Jerks” have been waiting for a while as they swept the New York Islanders. The “Big Bad Jerks” won a hard fought battle against the Columbus Blue Jackets. That gives us an “All-Jerks” Eastern Conference final of the Carolina Hurricanes against the Boston Bruins.

Game one went down on Thursday night with the Bruins earning a 5-2 victory in a game largely dominated by the Hurricanes and won by the Boston power play. This should be a great series as the contrasting styles will likely make for entertaining hockey. Will we have the fast, up-and-down game with depth scoring that Carolina loves or will we end up with the slow, cycle game dominated by the Bruins top-line and power play?

Puck 77’s Christopher Highe issues a storm warning on the Hurricanes here and James Kelly explains why the Bruins can wether the storm here.

Started from the bottom now we’re here!

The St. Louis Blues have made it to the conference finals! This is the same team that was tied with the lowly Ottawa Senators for dead last in the NHL on January 1st. They collected more points since the new year than any team in the NHL, including the Tampa Bay Lightning.

While there are many things that changed in the new year, a coaching change and a change in net were the drivers in the Blues ascension to Stanley Cup contenders. A statistical look at the rise of the Blues was done by Puck 77’s Tony Ferrari. You can take a look at how both basic and analytical statistics helped change the course of the Blues season here.

NHL Draft Rankings Season is in Full Swing!

With about six weeks until the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, many sites and prospect writers have released their personal ranking of the prospects. You can catch the Puck77 rankings here. Many of them are not mock drafts, they are rankings. Teams may draft based on positional need or personal preference in their own rankings. Listed below are some of the rankings from some of the most well known and some of the underrated prospect writers on the web!

Dobber Prospects Cam Robinson

The Athletics Scott Wheeler

Rogers Sportsnet’s Sam Cosentino

The Hockey Writers Ryan Pike

TSN’s Craig Button

For some under the radar rankings, check out the rankings of any of these prospect writers and amateur scouts.

Sam Stern, Tony Ferrari, Ben Brown, Alex (@Kotkanemo) and Wally Mazurek

Kappo Kakko is Good

The IIHF World Championships began on Friday. Kappo Kakko, the second ranked prospect by most, is one of the best players in the Finnish roster and he put in what’s sure to be one of the best goals of the tournament in his first game. He displayed his size, skill and speed on the play. The only problem was that it was against a scrub of an opponent. Canada.


Tweet courtesy of @StevenEllisTHN

Kakko would add a second goal later in the game as Finland prevailed 3-1 over Canada. A disappointing performance for the Canadians was overshadowed by a dominant performance of a player not yet drafted. It’s safe to say the New York Rangers are getting steal at the second overall pick!

Jack Hughes is Good

While he didn’t register a point, Jack Hughes has proven that he is able to play against men. His size wasn’t an issue in this game or the pre-tournament games. Today he was even able to show off some of the skill that has driven him to the top of many rankings.


Tweet Courtesy of @HayyyShayyy

Even though the puck didn’t get to the back of the net, the flash of brilliance from Jack Hughes was surely a sign of things to come in this tournament and his NHL future.


Tweet Courtesy of @DevilsInsiders

Vladimir Putin is still “Good”

Is Putin a hockey god? Yes. Can he be stopped? Definitely not.


Tweet Courtesy of @TheScore

I will never get tired of watching Putin’s magic mitts. Forget Pavel Datsyuk, the real “Magic Man” is Vladimir Putin. His greatest trick is making defencemen run away when he’s got the puck and goalies move out of the way of the puck for fear of being hurt because he shoots so hard. Hockey Hall of Fame 2020?

Upset Central at the IIHF Worlds

For those in North America, the Canadian and American hockey teams are always expected to compete. Regardless of the tournament, regardless of the importance level, the Canadian and American fans are expected to win every tournament. Both teams lost in disappointing fashion today.

Canada looked flat almost from start to finish, they were outshot 27-21 and they didn’t look particularly dangerous. This could be a factor of not preparing for the tournament as most of these players were on a playoff roster within the last few weeks. The Finnish roster is made up of largely players from European leagues and features no current NHLers.

The USA suffered a disappointing loss to Slovakia, 4-1. While Jack Hughes seemed to play well against men, no one on the USA roster looked dangerous for prolonged periods of time. Putting three consecutive offensive zone shifts together virtually never happened for the Americans and they suffered the loss because of it. Both the Americans and Canadians need to turn it around or they will likely be having a short, disappointing tournament.

Surprise Liiga Champs!


Tweet Courtesy of @JokkeNevakainen

After a dream playoff run in the Liiga (Finnish top-level Hockey), HPK benefitted from a dream run of their own as well as some mediocre play by the heavily favoured Kärpät. Not expected by many to advance to the finals, let alone win it, HPK showed that every once in a while, the David beats Goliath.


Tweet Courtesy of @JokkeNevakainen

The Ottawa 67s falter without DiPietro

The Ottawa 67s of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) looked to be unstoppable in these playoffs. They had swept every opponent they’ve met in the playoffs and looked absolutely dominant. That was until star goalie, and Vancouver Canucks prospect, Michael DiPietro went down with an injury. Since then, the 67s have lost 3 straight. They will have to fight for their lives as they face elimination tomorrow (Sunday, May 12th) and will look to force a game seven without their star netminder.


Tweet courtesy of @SportingNewsCa

Thankful it wasn’t an Achilles injury as many had feared after watching the video, the Canucks prospect reportedly has a high ankle sprain. The likelihood of him returning this season is low, but not impossible if the 67s can force their way into the Memorial Cup tournament.

BONUS POINT: Thank you from Puck77!

Today’s final point is a bonus 11th point. It’s simply to say thank you from the entire team at Puck77! We’ve grown so much over our first season! We originally started our small hockey blog with just our founder, Josh Tessler, pumping out content for you to enjoy. We’ve now grown to cover the entire NHL and we also have you covered everywhere from the CHL to Liiga, from NHL draft rankings to Prospect deep dives.

The team at Puck77 is grateful for every single person who has visited the site and read our work. We have a good group here and we look forward to having you along for the ride through the rest of the playoffs, the draft and free agency. We will be around all summer looking at the moves made by every team, the hockey tournaments in the summer and everything else in the world of hockey.

You guys are the reason we do what we do! You’re feedback means the world to us and we appreciate it all. Negative, positive, neutral, we appreciate it all! So from the bottom of our hearts here at Puck77, THANK YOU!

Statistics and information provided by the NHL, Hockey Reference and Elite Prospects

Feature image courtesy of Nikos Michals