Juri Rykonen - D - Offensive Defenceman
Height: 71 in.
Weight: 190 lbs.
Shot Preference: Slap
Juri is a typical Offensive Defenseman on most of the teams growing up he played top line minutes and played on the main power play lines. Juri has the ability to carry the puck well and isn't afraid to break across the blue line. His calm play-style while handling the puck gives him more time to make a choice and he never looks shook if given pressure. Most scouts compare his play to Sergei Zubov, with having solid defensive awareness and extreme play-making ability. Playing in the Finnish Liiga he was able to score put up 36 points in 51 games (11G, 25A) last year and before he hits his professional career he will be playing one more season with HIFK and then will enter the VHLM draft. He is slated to stay at the top line with HIFK and be their number 1 D-man and Quarterback on the power play.
The Prediction if Juri keeps his work flow and training steady most scouts are predicting that he hits in the top 2 rounds of the VHLM. His coach (Ari-Pekka Selin) stating "You know with a player like that you wish he can play on your team for ever, But when you play like he can you want to challange yourself you want to play with the best of the best." The team will take a detrimental hit when Juri moves on with his career. Juri had no time to talk to the press about the draft says "I'm going to keep my head in the game where I am now and worry about where I'm going to go after. I'm Just going to play my hardest and hope it takes me in the right direction." The young Fin has yet to start talking to teams as well and might start happening towards the end of this season.
Juri's Passing is as good as it gets for a defenceman. He isn't afraid to hold the puck for just a moment later to make sure the pass is clean and direct. He has a low turn over rate along with is accurate passing. Juri's offensive and defensive awareness allows him to get the puck where he needs it no mater the obstacles.
Juri's Shooting is what you get when looking for a good defenceman. He has a mean slapshot that can generate a lot of rebounds but hes also not afraid to step up and launch a deadly wrister from the slot. He has a accurate wrister and is used mostly on the powerplay when he is able to walk forward with a lot of space.
Juri's Skating is defined by most scouts as "nimble". He uses quick burst of speed to be able to carry the puck out of the defensive zone or even to re position himself on a back check. He doesn't have any problem getting back on to the defensive side when he pinches up to play a little more offensively. He is quick and aggressive on the puck is hard to keep up with.
Juri's Defensive and Offensive Awareness is more deadly than most when on or off the puck. He doesn't seem to lose control of the puck under pressure and his calm demeanor is somthing most players are scared of. He already knows his moves in head of time and he knows where most of the people are on the ice at all time. If he is approached by a player while in control of the puck he always calmly takes his stance and makes his play. Juri can hypnotize players with his ability to no crack while being pressured and soothingly moves the puck where it needs to be.
Areas of Improvement
Juri's Aggression and Strength are the areas at which he slacks. With a small body he relies on his speed to allow him to make the plays he wants. He's not afraid to move infront of a puck but when it comes to taking the body Juri just doesn't preform well, not to say he cant take a hit, he just can deliver one. His ability to overcome this obstacle is how he plays his game with his nickname in his league being the "Rubber-band Man" he gets up and keeps on moving.
Juri's Discipline also gets him on trouble on the ice. His ability to stay out of the penalty box for stuff that he can easily fix is uncanny be it getting his stick to high or his stick in between the oppositions legs or even just getting angry and taking a slash. Juri doesn't play on the power play very often through out his career even want to be an all around player if hes going to be one of the best Defencemen in the league he is going to need to watch his stick to make sure he stays out of the penalty box.
Juri's Shot Power is currently one of the things that is keeping him grounded at the defensive side of things. His shot power is lacking due to his Strength and is what is really making it hard for him to transition into bigger leagues. He still is deadly accurate which compensates him out of being terrible but if he can just put some heat onto that Slapshot he could be scoring twice as many goals.