2016 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: - Olli Juolevi
A Finnish defenseman who has seen his stock rise considerably thanks to his performance in the World Juniors and his debut OHL season, he's got the potential to become a top NHL blueliner for the team who drafts him.
Current Team: London Knights, OHL
Date of Birth: May 5th, 1998
Place of Birth: Hensinki, Finland
Height: 6' 2"
Weight: 183 lbs.
A big bodied defenseman with excellent skating ability, Juolevi has drawn a lot of comparisons to his fellow countryman, Olli Maatta. Initially considered a mid-round prospect, a strong performance at the 2015 World Juniors and his debut in the OHL has seen him rise into the top ten as one of the best defensemen in this drat class.
Putting up 9-33-42 in 57 games during the regular season and another goal and 4 assists in London's current playoff run, Juolevi has proven to be a skilled playmaker and a scoring threat. Interestingly, though he uses his size well, he doesn't simply play a physical defensive game. Instead, he works for position, takes away shooting lanes, and has shown excellent hockey sense as he adjusted to the North American game. There are still areas where he needs polishing, but it's clear that he has an excellent set of tools that should translate well to the NHL.
...he puts the pressure on and lays it on thick. A strong and balanced skater, he can rush the puck through the neutral zone with ease or backcheck with haste. Uses his size to his advantage, but knows his physical limits and plays within them. Instead of playing overly physical, he makes his presence felt by exhibiting his high-end playmaking ability and puck possession play. - Curtis Joe, Elite Prospects
A Good Fit In Columbus?
I can't think of a team that doesn't want more skilled, puck moving defensemen in their system, but there is an argument that Juolevi may not be the best pick Columbus can make, based on their draft position. The Jackets have several defensive prospects in the pipeline thanks to last year's draft, and forwards, particularly centers, are a position of greater need. That said, if the Jackets end up in the bottom half of the top ten and players like Laine or Puljujarvi aren't available, there are a lot worse options than picking up someone who could help the club build another rock solid d-pairing behind Ryan Murray and Seth Jones.
Julolevi In Action