#4 – JUUSO VALIMAKI, LD

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Juuso Valimaki Scouting Report:

This is my scouting report for Tri-City Americans defenceman Jusso Valimaki. I got the opportunity to watch a lot of Valimaki over the past calendar year. First, in last year’s U18 tournament, then in the WHL and Finland’s national team at the World Junior Championships as well. I have to say that I’m very impressed with the way he’s able to control the puck and play on both sides of the ice.

Valimaki has ideal size and is a very good puck mover that can find teammates in seams that appear to be closed with quick, accurate passes. He shows his great anticipation in the way that he can find his teammates. With excellent puck control, he is able to skate himself out of trouble but that can sometimes be an adventure. This is a player that will take chances offensively. Putting up over a point per game in the WHL as an 18 year old is quite an accomplishment even for a forward let alone for a defenceman.

I thought his play was more conservative with Team Finland rather than in the WHL but it showed that he’s able to adapt. For Tri-City, he played a much more offensive game… he’s just an incredibly talented player! Perceived issues with his skating ability is the main reason why he isn’t  widely considered a Top-10 pick. I feel like he has good top end speed but probably needs to work on his first few steps to refine his explosiveness and acceleration. I don’t see this as a major concern and I believe he will improve in that regard.

With a good stick and his willingness to engage physically, Valimaki has shown the ability to adapt his style and play a solid defensive game.

The NHL player I would compare him with is Roman Josi and I feel they are similar in the sense that both can log a ton of minutes, play a solid two-way game, take care of their own end and are excellent puck-movers. Valimaki’s overall upside is probably that of a number 2 Two-Way D-Man but his floor is very high as I don’t see him ending up any worse than a solid Top-4 guy.

Projection:

  • COMPARABLE :
    • Roman Josi
  • UPSIDE :
    • Top Pairing Two-Way D-Man
  • FLOOR :
    • #4 Two-Way D-Man

Other Rankings:

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

REFERENCE via HF BOARDS

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