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thejazz97

Toni Utunen | D

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9 hours ago, Horvat is a Boss said:

He only scores against Canada :lol::unsure:

He should do well in the NHL as there are lots of Canadians in this League. :):)

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Posted (edited)

I can see he and Juolevi being a reliable defense pairing for years to come - both for Finland and the Canucks

(Edit) both shoot left, and play left D, so prolly not going to happen

Edited by Googlie
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I hear Utunen asked to be captain of his team at the summer showcase. Looks like he wants to lead as well. I’m looking forward when he makes his nhl debut.

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27 minutes ago, wildwood12 said:

I hear Utunen asked to be captain of his team at the summer showcase. Looks like he wants to lead as well. I’m looking forward when he makes his nhl debut.

I know that he’s developing well and far ahead of the curve given his draft position, but he’s still a long shot for making the NHL.

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Posted (edited)

Big game yesterday 2 goals and an assist against Canada.

Edited by thrago

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Posted (edited)
7 hours ago, wildwood12 said:

I hear Utunen asked to be captain of his team at the summer showcase. Looks like he wants to lead as well. I’m looking forward when he makes his nhl debut.

Wait he asked to be captain rather than be given the captaincy? I sense entitlement issues here!

sassy honey boo boo GIF

 

(Sarcasm for those who can't detect it)

Edited by theo5789
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Posted (edited)

Utunen plays smart, mistake free hockey....he has a hell of a wrister and knows where to put it...he is going to get bigger, but plays pretty big already.

 

I think he will be ready in 2-3 years and be a bit better (and similar too) Stecher...

 

Asking to be Captain just shows how much confidence he has....

Edited by Rollieo Del Fuego

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I'd like to know if he as on the ice for any of the Canadians goals. That might be some thing even better than his 2 goals

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Good writeup on Utunen's progression from EP Rink:

 

Quote

Hockey I.Q., good or bad, is one of the items that usually jumps off the page midway through a hockey game. And after two or three you have a baseline idea.

 

Utunen made safe clears. He could make a nice touch pass and otherwise, his passing was accurate. His speed was good. His one-timer was on display and it was already above average. They had a sharpness to them; they were accurate and hard. It was a weapon as a point on the power play.

 

Early on it was being reported that he could be a defensive defenseman because he played that role in Liga. That’s now proving to be wrong, but what it did was set the expectations bar pretty low for this player in a market that sometimes expects too much from their prospects. They did the Finn a favour. He was able to avoid a lot of that and instead raise the bar with his play rather than what people think he can do.

 

There wasn’t a ton of talk surrounding this prospect until the 2019 World Junior Hockey Championships in Vancouver. In a moment against Team Canada, Utunen went down the ice, in a tie game and managed to bury a wrist shot in the Quarterfinals to eliminate the opposition and send his country into the semi-finals en route to a gold medal. That goal was talked about quite a bit, for obvious reasons, and that may have been the start of him opening some eyes with his play. In seven games he had two goals and two assists. He took home another gold medal; he won his first in the U18s.

 

Another big moment for Utunen was in the 2019 World Junior Summer Showcase. There is little doubt that he will make the Finnish  World Junior roster again but now he showed himself to be much more of an offensive threat. His wrist shot went from having a fast release to a lightning-fast release. It’s not always hard but he gets it away quickly and it’s usually on-net. He’s now 176 pounds so maybe it’s strength. In this tournament, he was the No. 3 defender. Different coaches slot defenseman in different spots and Utunen is very versatile, so seeing him move around isn’t a shock.

 

Defensively, he closes the gap quickly, he takes away time and space and he has an active stick. He’s very disciplined and doesn’t take dumb penalties. He doesn’t force anything offensively or defensively and he’s very calm out there. These are some really good traits that coaches love.

 

He didn’t get top power play time and yet he still had three points in five games. He had a three-point game against Canada. In an 8-3 win, he had two goals. He was a +2 and once again people were pleasantly surprised to see this from a draft pick for which they didn’t hold many expectations.

 

At 19, Utunen is going to return to Tappara for probably the last time. If all goes well and he has a good season there along with a solid 2020 World Junior Championship, then he will likely come over to North America and the Canucks might have a tough decision to make at that time. Whether or not to place him in the AHL with Utica to start or to see if he’s ready to make the team out of camp. The good thing for Utunen is there will be an opportunity at the position if he is ready.

 

I project him to be either a second or third-pairing defenseman with an excellent chance of not only playing in the NHL but staying there for a good length of time. He’s playing with some great players on the national team and he looks every bit as good as them. He can cover top competition and so far he hasn’t missed a beat. He’s 176 pounds currently so he’ll have to put on some more muscle and add a bit more speed. All of these things are possible and someday soon he should be able to reach his full potential and if that happens — it’s a steal of a pick.

 

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57 minutes ago, GoldenAlien said:

Good writeup on Utunen's progression from EP Rink:

 

 

Benning potentially finding some hidden talent again? No way, it can't be true!

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He reminds me of a smaller player who had a long career in the NHL - Toby Enstrom.   

 

Toby Enstrom                                     

Position: D •  Shoots: Left

5-10180lb (178cm, 81kg)

Born: November 51984 (Age: 34-303d) in Nordingra, Sweden se

Draft: Atlanta, 8th round (239th overall), 2003 NHL Entry

Games 719  54g  254a  308 points

 

image.png.696627b044af5b34c487f983dba3a4de.png

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I've liked this pick since I saw him at the Youngstars tournament in Penticton last year. Looking forward to his progression.

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Hopefully he can give Juolevi some competition for the other top four slot beside Quinn. 

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Sounds like he could develop into a solid 3rd pairing defenseman. He sounds like Tanev, makes safe defensive plays, not the biggest player and has a weak wrister but accurate. Hopefully he is a little more durable.

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Very glad to hear all of these reports.  To be honest watching him play, I’ve never seen enough to think he would be anything more than an NHL/AHL tweener.  Could be taking a step though.

Edited by Kobayashi Maru

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What happened to Utunen?  He is on the roster for Tappara but doesn't appear to have played a single game?  

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