The Leafs followed up their pick of Timothy Liljegren last night by selecting yet another right-handed defenceman in round 2, Eemeli Rasanen. But that’s about where the similarities end. Rasanen is a Finnish player who spent this past season with the Kingston Frontenacs of the OHL, and he is a mammoth at 6’7″ and 210 pounds already.
Uh oh, another Middleton right? Not really.
As Jeremy Davis pointed out in the Nation Network profile series, there’s more to Rasanen than just his size.
…Rasanen isn’t some coke machine out there relying on his size to knock people around. He did put up 39 points this season on a Kingston Frontenacs team that wasn’t anything special. If you crunch his numbers through a cohort model, he stacks up very nicely.
With an Expected Success rate of more than three quarters, Rasanen would seem to be one of the surer bets of the draft.
Rasanen had a decent rookie season in the OHL, but as Davis goes on to explain, he wasn’t so hot in bigger competitions.
I thought Rasanen struggled tremendously at the CHL Top Prospects Game, and again in the World Under-18’s, particularly in puck retrieval where he seemed to routinely make questionable routes to the puck, or run out of time before making a play against high competition. And while he can get up to a decent speed with his long, lanky stride, his first few steps need a lot of work, and has left him easy to bypass on some occasions.
Overall, at a quick glance, this seems like a decent pick at 59. Most scouting outlets had Rasanen in this range, and the Nation Network ranked him 72nd in their top 100. Like Andrew Nielsen, who put up somewhat similar CHL boxcars in his draft-eligible season on a weak club, we’ll be interested to see if Rasanen can make a big jump in the same way next season with the Fronts.