Born: October 6, 1998
Hometown: Nokia Finland
Team: Tri-City (WHL)
CSS Rank: 11th among North American Skaters
Juuso Valimaki is a big Finnish defenceman who hopes to go somewhere in the top half of the 2017 NHL Draft. Rated 11th among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting, Valimaki is coming off a solid sophomore season in the WHL. The blueliner potted 19 goals and had 61 points in 60 games for the Tri-City Americans.
His 19 goals were fourth in the league among defencemen.
Valimaki is seen as a solid two-way defender with good puck-moving ability.
Video: COMBINE | Juuso Valimaki
"I think my best assets as a player are my hockey IQ, my compete level, work ethic and that kind of stuff," Valimaki told EdmontonOilers.com at the Scouting Combine in Buffalo, NY.
"I can still improve my feet. I can be a lot quicker and I can improve my turns and my pivots. I can improve my gaps as well. Skating is the biggest thing for me."
While Valimaki says his skating needs improvement, it's his hockey intelligence that shines.
"One of the smartest players on the ice," wrote Future Considerations.
Valimaki is a well-decorated player already in his young career. He was named to the WHL's Second All-Star Team and won the Heino Pulli Award in 2013-14 as the Rookie of the Year in Finland's Under-18 League. He captained Finland to a U-18 gold medal in 2015-16.
WHAT THEY'RE SAYING
"To me, Valimaki is a player who can factor in both zones and fill in on any pairing. One of the smarter defenders in the draft. His offensive game is underrated but he has the playmaking ability and sense to affect the game from his own end out. Knows how to use his body and play sound defensively before turning play up ice. Not dynamic, but will be a good two-way defender." - A scout, per Future Considerations