#5 – Kristian Vesalainen, LW – HPK, SM-liiga
TSN – #15
Central Scouting – #7 ES
ISS – #19
Future Considerations – #17
McKeens – #9
THN – #21
Craig Button – #26
Hockey Prospect – #34
COMPARABLE : Max Pacioretty
UPSIDE : Top Line Two-Way Winger
FLOOR : 2nd Line Two-Way Winger
I liked what I saw from Kristian Vesalainen last year as an underage player at the U18 tournament but I certainly wasn’t convinced then that he was going to be a first round pick. However, he has made tremendous strides and improved quite a bit since that time. He was always a very strong skater but to me the major difference is that he seems to want the puck on his stick and keeps possession more than he used to and also drives the net more which is what you want to see with this type of player.
I think this is a player who compares well to a guy like Max Pacioretty and that’s really who he reminds me of out there on the ice even though I’m not convinced he’s going to be as good of a goalscorer as MaxPac but in terms of Top-6 forward/offensive impact, I think that this comparable is right on. Vesalainen has a great combination of size, skating ability and compete. He’s probably one or two years away from an NHL debut. I can’t imagine this guy as anything worse than a 2nd line LW with the possibility to be a lot more than that but he’s the kind of player that can play anywhere in your lineup.
He’s a very safe pick and I think he’s going to be a real good player and that’s why I have him ranked so highly.
REFERENCE via HF BOARDS