Photo Credit: James Mirtle, The Athletic

Maple Leafs Draft Profile: Eemeli Rasanen (Rd 2, Pick 59)

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.

Leafs at the 2017 Entry Draft

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • DukesRocks

    Sorry, just can’t get excited about this pick. Unlike Lijegren, I don’t know anything about this guy and nothing I’ve read convinces me he’s a 2nd round pick.

      • DukesRocks

        I agree its a reach to say the least. However, a calculated risk would include a high reward. If he can be that shutdown, shot suppressor, clears the crease, hits, wins puck battles along the boards and chips in with 20 points a season. Then I can see him on a second pairing and the 2nd round pick is warranted. However, I don’t get the feel of high reward based on what I’ve read.

    • Justin.PI

      Man, i think this was a smart pick. Leafs long term goal is to be competitive year in and year out in the playoffs. At a spot where were thought to be weak at in depth, let me paint you a picture for our D for the next 2-3 years.

      Rielly – Liljegren
      Gardiner- Zaitsev
      Dermott/Nielsen/ Rosen/Borgman – Carrick.

      At least one of those 4 will be a pretty good hit for a bottom pairing maybe even top 4 D. Psyched about that. But, notice anything in common? Their literally all smooth skating defenders. Carrick and zaitsev can hit and block shots every now and then, but know what would be key in the playoffs? A 6’7 mammoth 7th defenseman. Let’s face it, it’s a longshot to find someone in the 3rd round that will be infinitely better than anyone in that top 6, especially the competition for the last LD spot. Then on the right you still have potentially valiev (i know hes a left shot but he plays alot on the right) and jesper lindgren whose apparently been much better lately.
      Have some faith bro.

      • DukesRocks

        Hey Justin, I with you and I get your point. I even stated a week or two back that the Leafs are soft and need grit and toughness on the backend, which is why Polak is important to create a balance. In a perfect world, each D pairing would include grit/toughness and skill. I will take a guy that can clear the crease, win puck battles due to his size and length but most importantly he has to be an above average skater. I admit I have never seen Rasanen play so, I need to rely on stats and the player portfolio to get an understanding of what type of player he is. Everything I read so far has issues with his skating. Now I get he’s tall and will not look graceful of the ice but for a second round pick, I’m not following the logic. Hunter, in my opinion, is reaching here.

  • Stan Smith

    Like it or not, you need size on defense. Sometimes you take a chance that you can help a player like that develop into an NHLer. As for the Middleton comment, I read that he actually exceeded expectations this past season. Am I wrong?