#4 – Juuso Valimaki, LD – Tri-City, WHL

TSN – #14
Central Scouting – #11 NAS
ISS – #14
Future Considerations – #12
McKeens – #14
THN – #18
Craig Button – #17
Hockey Prospect – #17


UPSIDE : Top Pairing Two-Way D-Man
FLOOR : #4 Two-Way D-Man


Watching Jusso Valimaki play, it’s hard not to be impressed. A d-man with ideal size that can play on both sides of the ice and control the puck the way he does is certainly impressive. Valimaki is a very good puck mover and can find teammates in seams that appear to be closed with short or long, accurate passes. He can put pucks into areas where his teammates are going to be a second later thanks to fantastic anticipation. He has the ability to stickhandle himself out of trouble though that can sometimes get him into more trouble. This is a player that will take chances offensively. He is very creative and has a very high hockey IQ. While points never tell the whole story, he put up over a point per game in the WHL and that is a feat in itself.

After having watched him play a more conservative game for Team Finland, I was very impressed seeing him take on a much more offensive-minded game with Tri-City…this is just an incredibly talented player! I think the reason he isn’t ranked as a top-10 pick is probably because of perceived issues with his skating. Valimaki has good top end speed but I believe he must work on his first few steps and improve his explosiveness/acceleration. This shouldn’t be a major concern as I believe this is something that he can improve. This is a player who is defensively responsible. He has a good stick and will take the body and the opposition out of the equation.

My comparable for him is Roman Josi as I think Valimaki plays a similar solid two-way game and Josi was also a guy who was underrated his draft year. Josi is a player who logs a ton of minutes, takes care of his own end and moves the puck extremely well and I think Valimaki is similar in that regard. Valimaki’s overall upside is probably a #2 two-way D-man but his floor is very high as I don’t see him ending up any worse than a Top-4 guy.



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