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Road to the NHL Draft: Olli Juolevi

Olli Juolevi

Position: Defenseman

Junior team: London (OHL)

Born: Helsinki

Measurables: 6-foot-2, 182 pounds

2015-16 stats: 57 games, nine goals, 33 assists, 42 points

Central Scouting rank: No. 5 (North America)

Lowdown: In order to win championships, teams need skilled defensemen who can quickly get the puck out of the zone and find the talented forwards. Just ask London, Finland and Juolevi. The blue-liner recorded 11 assists and 14 points in 18 playoff games as London won the Memorial Cup. It was Juolevi’s second title of the year. He led all defensemen at the world juniors with nine assists to help Finland claim gold.

Packed with the confidence to say he should be the first defenseman drafted, Juolevi isn’t shy with the puck, either. He patterns his game after Anaheim’s Hampus Lindholm and Arizona’s Oliver Ekman-Larsson, two game-changing defensemen. His hockey IQ is superb, which gets him out of any trouble that his skating and passing can’t.

While Juolevi has the height, he needs to add weight and muscle to jostle with the big boys in front of the net.

They said it: “Juolevi is a smart, smooth-skating, puck-moving defenseman with excellent poise and composure. He displays elite hockey sense and instincts with and without the puck and plays in every situation.” – Dan Marr, director of NHL Central Scouting.

The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL Draft, which will be held June 24-25 in First Niagara Center.

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