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Top prospect Pokka leads Finnish U-18 tourney team

Friday, 04.06.2012 / 11:09 PM / 2012 NHL Draft


Three players ranked in the top 10 in NHL Central Scouting's midterm ranking of the top European skaters for the 2012 NHL Draft will be part of Finland's team for the IIHF 2012 World Under-18 Championship.

Finland World U-18 Roster

GOALTENDERS: Jean Auren (Sport Jr., Finland Jr.), Joonas Korpisalo (Jokerit Jr., Finland Jr.), *Juuse Saros (HPK Jr., Finland Jr.), *Atte Tolvanen (Assat Jr., Finland Jr.)
  • DEFENSEMEN: Markus Kojo (Assat Jr., Finland Jr.), Mikko Lehtonen (TPS Jr., Finland Jr.), Esa Lindell (Jokerit Jr., Finland Jr.), *Atte Makinen (Tappara Jr., Finland Jr.),* Valtteri Parikka (KalPa Jr., Finland Jr.), Ville Pokka (Karpat, Finland), *Rasmus Ristolainen (TPS, Finland), *Santeri Saari (Jokerit Jr., Finland Jr.), Niklas Tikkinen (Blues Jr., Finland Jr.), Juuso Vainio (HPK Jr., Finland Jr.), Mikko Vainonen (HIFK Jr., Finland Jr.)
  • FORWARDS: *Joose Antonen (Ilves Jr., Finland Jr.), *Alexander Barkov (Tappara, Finland), Nico Friman (HIFK Jr., Finland Jr.), Henrik Haapala (Tappara Jr., Finland Jr.), Joonas Huovinen (Sport Jr., Finland Jr.), Henri Ikonen (KalPa Jr., Finland Jr.), *Juuso Ikonen (Blues Jr., Finland Jr.), Janne Juutinen (HIFK Jr., Finland Jr.), Rasmus Kulmala (TPS Jr., Finland Jr.), Artturi Lehkonen (TPS Jr., Finland Jr.), Samu Markkula (JYP Jr., Finland Jr.), *Aleksi Mustonen (Jokerit Jr., Finland Jr.), Topi Nättinen (JYP Jr., Finland Jr.), Joni Nikko (Lukko Jr., Finland Jr.), Eetu Patronen (KalPa Jr., Finland Jr.), Aleksi Rutanen (Blues Jr., Finland Jr.), *Saku Salminen (Jokerit Jr., Finland Jr.), Jonatan Tanus (Tappara Jr., Finland Jr.), Teuvo Teravainen (Jokerit, Finland)
  • *- eligible for 2013 NHL Draft

The tournament will be played April 12-22 in Brno and Znojmo, Czech Republic.

Leading the Finnish entry will be defenseman Ville Pokka, who had three points in 35 regular-season games with the Karpat in the Finnish Elite League. He added three assists in nine playoff games, and also had a goal and three assists in seven games for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

The 6-foot, 196-pound blueliner is No. 5 on Central Scouting's list, two spots ahead of left wing Teuvo Teravainen. The 5-foot-11, 165-pounder had 11 goals and seven assists in 40 games with Jokerit in the Finnish Elite League.

Defenseman Mikko Vainonen, No. 10 on Central Scouting's ranking, had seven goals and 11 assists in 18 games with HIFK's under-20 team in the Finnish junior A league.

Also picked for team was goaltender Joonas Korpisalo, No. 3 on Central Scouting's midterm ranking of European netminders. In 38 games with Jokerit's U-20 team in the Finnish junior A league, he had a 2.04 goals-against average and .920 save percentage.

One other player to watch is Alexander Barkov, an early favorite to be among the top picks for the 2013 NHL Draft. Barkov was born in Finland while his Russian-born father, also named Alexander, played professionally in the country. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound center played 32 games with Tappara in the Finnish Elite League this season at age 16, totaling seven goals and nine assists. He also had a goal and three assists in seven games for Finland at the 2012 World Junior Championship.

Contact Adam Kimelman at akimelman@nhl.com. Follow him on Twitter: @NHLAdamK

2012 NHL Draft