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2017 Draft Prospect Profile: Kristian Vesalainen - who is this guy?

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One of the most intriguing players in the draft.

Kristian Vesalainen

Position: LW / RW

Current Team: Frolunda (SHL)

Date of Birth: June 1, 1999

Place of Birth: Helsinki, Finland

Height: 6'3"

Weight: 209 lbs

Shoots: Left

2016 - 2017 Stats

26 GP / 1 G / 5A / 6PTS / 2PIM

With most European prospects, you have to look far beyond the numbers to evaluate a player. Vesalainen is no different, he seemingly has all the tools required to be a star, with good size, hands and a willingness to play big but his stat line leaves one underwhelmed.

He’s had ups and downs with the Finnish National team, earning tournament MVP honors at the recent U-18s, but a few months later he was part of a disastrous Finnish squad at the World Juniors. Totally not his fault, but after a rise post-U18s, he’s slipped from being a top-tenish pick to likely going in the middle to latter half of the first round.

It’s hard to peg where he’ll land, which is why it’ll be so interesting to see which NHL club calls his name. You’d have to think the Jackets have him figured out, even with him playing in Sweden rather than his native Finland.

He seems like a player that can provide two-way play, with sneaky or surprising levels of offense. Not quite a top-line NHLer, but one that can play a secondary role. If he can fill out and be placed in a situation where his talent can shine, he may be a draft day steal if he slips.

Scouting Reports

A big and strong winger who has the ability to impact the game in many ways…plays a versatile, high-tempo offensive game…battles for pucks and space…a beast along the wall and difficult to move in front of the net…mixes a heavy game with very soft, skilled hands…possesses a very hard shot with quick release…makes soft, easy-to-control passes to his teammates…dangerous anytime he has the puck in the offensive zone…a powerful, long stride allows him to build impressive speed and makes him tough to stop…has the agility and balance as well as the strength and reach to really control possession in traffic and down low…defensively, he brings imposing pressure on the forecheck…not always playing at full intensity or with consistent effort…when he wants to, he can absolutely dominate physically…just a toolsy player with very high potential. - Future Considerations

Excellent combination of skill, size, and shot. Reads and reacts to situations in the attack zone and is strong on the puck. His quickness allows him to separate the opposition from the puck. Strong quick release. Can play either side and displays power and speed. He closes on defenders with his top burst of speed and they are unprepared for him, with leads to penalties or Kristian blowing straight by them. He makes things look like he is a veteran player, reading the ice so well, and making terrific give and go passes, and power and agility in his handling of the biscuit. Terrific finisher with a heavy shot. Looks like a top ten selection at this juncture. Already being touted as "Jesse Puljujärvi lite," there are a lot of similarities, but Vesalainen still has a ways to go. - Bill Placzek

Vesalainen Highlights