2017 NHL Draft Profile: Juuso Valmaki
Could the Blue Jackets add another big defenseman?
Juuso Valimaki Draft Profile
Team: Tri-City Americans (WHL)
Date of Birth: October 6, 1998
Birthplace: Nokia, Finland
Weight: 201 pounds
Juuso Valimaki is a Finnish product that, unlike many his age, would not have to make the transition to North American ice after the draft. Valimaki came to North America when he was young to adjust to the ice dimensions earlier and better showcase his skills. Since coming to North America, Valimaki has played for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL.
Valimaki is a big defenseman and while he may not have a strong slap shot, his offensive ability makes him an intriguing prospect. Jarmo loves big defensemen (as evidenced by his acquisition of Gabriel Carlsson), so expect Valimaki to get a long look if he is available at the 24th pick.
Valimaki is a strong skater that is effective at both ends of the ice. He doesn’t have a powerful slap shot, but his wrister is strong and accurate. He has a good knack for defending the rush and has enough size to hold his own in the corners battling for pucks. He has good hockey IQ that will be an asset to him as he moves into the professional game. – Raw Charge
The downside to Valimaki’s play is he’ll need to work on his puck-handling skills. The kid loves to carry the puck, and he skates extremely well for his size, but when carrying the puck he shows a lack of creativity to slice through defenders. I see him as a top-four guy in the future, but if he could put together a softer set of hands, you’re looking at a possible high-end puck-moving defender. – Winging It in Motown