By: Erin Walsh
Player: Urho Vaakanainen
Drafted: 18th overall by Boston Bruins
Final Scout Rating: #8 in European skaters
Recent Club: JYP (Finnish Liiga)
The Boston Bruins have selected Finnish defenseman Urho Vaakanainen 18th overall in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. Vaakanainen is 18 years old and was born in Joensuu, Finland. He weighs 188 lbs and is 6’1. He shoots left so this pick is no surprise considering the B’s have been looking for a left-shot defenseman.
Urho entered the draft as the eighth ranked European skater with strong puck moving skills and a solid defensive game. He has an excellent hockey IQ and vision that helps him anticipate plays. Vaakanainen has truly developed into a great young defenseman. One problem people complain about with Urho is his lack of offensive scoring. This shouldn’t concern Bruins fans too much because the B’s already have great offensive defenseman in guys like Torey Krug, Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo.
Vaakanainen also played for team Finland in the 2017 World Junior Championship. With his experience playing in the Finnish league and on the World Junior stage, he should be very well prepared for his transition to the NHL. Urho really does shine in the defensive aspect of the game. He is very well at getting his stick in shooting and passing lanes. He is a player you’d love to have out on the ice to help protect a one goal lead.
Vaakanainen was a great pick by Bruins GM Don Sweeney. He picked up the left-shot defenseman they were looking for as well as a defenseman who is very good at playing in his own zone. Urho could make the Bruins roster within the next couple of years and Don Sweeney said he was looking to pair him with Charlie McAvoy in the future. Overall Bruins fans should be happy with this pick and should look forward to watching this kid play.