Roni Hirvonen comes to the draft profiles from Espoo, Finland, which might be primarily known more for the amount of quality MeloDeath Metal that comes out of it than anything else.
And similarly to some long-haired finn shredding on a guitar, Hirvonen’s money has been made through stunning speed and aggressive technique. While a mite undersized, Hirvonen’s combo of speed and a complete inability to let up has seen him make the jump from the Finnish junior leagues to Liiga at a young age, and it has paid dividends in play, even if he only finished the year with 16 points.
Hirvonen is like a growing number of small guys who don’t shy away from contact, and a big part of why is not only can he get some speed under him to avoid it, but he can also use whatever leverage he has to separate the puck and make the right play, and making the right play might as well be Hirvonen’s motive in hockey. His ability to see where the puck is going and where it will be even while up the nose of defenders is a truly powerful asset, and his adjustments away from the puck to allow both offenses to breathe and defense to second-guess themselves has gotten him and Porin out of failed plays and out of defensive jams more often than not. While normally a center, Ässät decided that he’d be best served using his truly dangerous ability to read defenses and adjust on the fly as a winger, where his playmaking combined with a silky set of hands made him a danger whenever he got on the ice.
Where Hirvonen falls short is well...he’s short. And a bit scrawny. As it stands, when you can catch him, you can knock him pretty easily off balance and force him to reset, which is the last thing a player who’s all about keeping the play moving needs. Another is, while he won’t shy away from contact, his strength as it is right now isn’t giving him the leverage he needs to properly move players off the puck when going to the dirty areas. Further, while his shot is accurate and quick, it’s not very strong, as he’s looking more to use a change of angle to fool the goalie than sheer power to put it past them. Drafting him will mean putting a massive emphasis on weight training him.
Hirvonen’s current projection is that of a middle six forward if he keeps up his play, and has been projected for quite awhile now to be an early 2nd rounder or latest of 1st rounders. While his size might spook some people off, it’s clear the maturity of his game far outweighs any concerns about his physicality. If by some miracle he’s available, the Bruins should definitely give him a look.
- 10th by NHL Central Scouting among European skaters
- 21st by FutureConsiderations.com
- 29th by EliteProspects.com
- 35th by McKeen’s Hockey
|2017-18||Espoo Blues U18||Junior league B SM-Sarja||39||11||27||38||22|
|2018-19||Espoo Blues U20||Junior league A SM-Liiga||50||21||34||55||34|