A team with hopes of solidifying its backend at this June’s NHL Draft needn’t look any further than Olli Juolevi.
One of the strongest skating blueliners up for grabs, the left-handed Finn plays an intelligent game, has an effortless stride and shows tremendous poise with the puck.
And he loves to compete at both ends of the ice.
Despite not suiting up for a single game in seven months after going under the knife to repair a knee injury he sustained last season, Juolevi became a pivotal member of the juggernaut London Knights, finishing third among Ontario Hockey League rookie defencemen with 42 points.
The complete, all-around defenceman, who’s not afraid to join the rush, also played a major role in Finland striking gold at World Juniors, where he led all defencemen with nine assists and was named to the tournament all-star team.
A 6-foot-2, 185-pound spark plug, Juolevi has the potential to play in all situations at the NHL level due to his calmness under pressure and ability to distribute the puck.
Playing with and against some of the top forwards in junior in Mitch Marner, Matthew Tkachuk and Christian Dvorak in practice on a daily basis has made the transition to North American ice a smooth one.
If the Flames are unable to obtain a forward on their radar by the sixth selection, don’t be surprised if they settle for one of the top defencemen at this year’s draft.
Juolevi, who this month will be looking to add a Memorial Cup title to his already impressive resume, would be one heck of a consolation prize.