As we head into our top-10 prospects in this profile series
we are moving back to Finland to take a look at Mikko Rantanen – possibly the
number 1 player to be drafted out of Europe this season.
It’s no surprise that Rantanen is very highly spoken of,
it’s more a surprise that he’s only considered a top-10 pick.
Continue past the jump for our player breakdown.
- Age: 17.88 (at start of season), Birthday October 29th,
- Birthplace: Nousiainen, FIN
- Position: C/W
- Frame: 6’3.5” – 211 lbs
Draft Year Team: TPS (Liiga)
- Accomplishments: (2014-15) U20 WJC Top 3 Players on Team, Jr. A SM-Liiga Playoffs Best Player, Jr A SM-Liiga Champion, (2013-14) U18 WJC Top 3 Player on Team, (2012-13) Jr. B SM-sarja Bronze Medal
|PCS% 2014||PCS Pts/82 2014||PCS% 2015||PCS Pts/82 2015|
|PCS Most NHL GP||PCS Highest Pts/GP|
|Bobby Holik||Miroslav Satan|
|Olli Jokinen||Milan Michalek|
|Miroslav Satan||Olli Jokinen|
The most impressive stats belong to towering Finnish forward
Mikko Rantanen. He managed to get 28 points in 56 games with TPS Turku and was
an impact player among men in a professional league. He was part of the Finnish
national team when they played exhibition games to prepare for the 2015 worlds.
Pretty impressive for an 18 year old kid and definitely something not many
draft eligibles can bring to the table. Besides his good stats and appearances
with the national team, scouts like his size, playmaking abilities, powerful
offensive skills and smooth hands. He definitely has a lot of tools which are
needed to make it to the NHL and is able to play a North American style of
hockey. His skills together with the fact that he has already shown that he is
competitive against professional men, might make him one of the more NHL ready
prospects in this draft class. It looks like it’s safe to say that he will be
the first picked European based selection.
A strong three-zone playmaker who is also defensively
responsible…has an awkward upright skating stride, but gets from Point A to
Point B just fine…not a big ”wow” factor to his game, but is a smooth, fluid,
big-bodied forward who can be hard to handle…uses his strength and reach, along
with his vision and hands, to protect the puck…has good instincts when to pass
and when to hold…puck seems to follow him around the ice…good in his own zone
and consistently makes himself available for a breakout pass…has impressive
hockey sense and awareness…needs to work on his shot and add more muscle mass
to his growing frame.
An exceptionally talented playmaker and always a consistent
threat on the ice; Rantanen is a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky
smooth hands, and nimble skating. Needs to improve his shot and physical play,
as he doesn’t take advantage of his size in many situations. All-in-all, an
intelligent, big-bodied forward that oozes skill.
When a skater has been a regular in a senior professional
league since his 15 year-old season there’s little doubt on the likelihood of
NHL success. When that same player in
his 17 year-old season is now an assistant captain and has scored at a 0.5 ppg
pace, you know you have a very unique talent.
This is exactly what Mikko Rantanen is – a teenager leading a team in Finland’s top men’s league.
On top of that, to make the scouts drool you have a massive
player almost 6’4” in height with a very big frame. He is potentially that power forward that
every GM dreams about.
The scouting sentiments are all similar in that Mikko
Rantanen is very good in all areas of the game.
There is few dissenting opinions in that he needs to work on his skating
or his shot. It is a common opinion that
Rantanen’s physical game is his weakest with Corey Pronman summarizing Rantanen
… He’s not an overly physical player, but
on occasion he’ll drive the net and make the most of his size; unfortunately,
that doesn’t happen as much as you’d hope…
2014-15 is the third season Rantanen has played in Finland’s top league, Liiga. The peer group of other finish player to play in the top league at such a young age includes Mikael Granlund, Kasperi Kapanen, and Aleksander Barkov, and he’s been dominant in U20 play. Eliteprospects.com bills Rantanen as “A combination of elite level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating.” At 6’3 and 194 lbs, he won’t be discounted by NHL scouts based on size, and could very well be a steal if he falls to the Canucks. Rantanen is one I’ll be watching closely.
His Prospect Cohort Success numbers are not something that I
put too much stock into for a player like Miiko Rantenen. When you are that big, that young and that
high scoring in a senior professional league your cohort sample size is going
to be quite small, even if you assume other European senior leagues are equal.
Still, an extremely high percentage of players that were similar to Rantanen at 16 and 17 years old went on to have long and successful NHL careers. Based on our stats, Rantanen is one of the very safest picks of this draft.
Mikko Rantanen is as likely as any player in this draft class to grow in to that big-bodied first-line winger that all teams seem to covet