Kris Baker of SabresProspects.com has submitted his rankings of the Top 30 draft-eligible prospects of 2016. Check back each day as we prepare for the 2016 NHL Draft, which will be held at First Niagara Center here in Buffalo on June 24 and 25.
#8. Olli Juolevi – LHD, London (OHL)
A top-pair defender and Tournament All-Star for Finland’s gold-medal winning squad at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Championship, the fluid skater executes in a manner very similar to fellow countryman and former London Knights standout Olli Maatta, who was chosen by Pittsburgh with the 22nd pick in the 2012 NHL draft.
Juolevi is considered a mature, complete defenseman thanks to his excellent poise in all situations, effortless skating ability and highly-developed decision-making skill. The smooth Finn keeps his gaps tight, doesn’t give up his positioning by chasing the play and can settle things down in his own zone when he gains possession of the puck. Juolevi plays the body, but shouldn’t be considered overly physical.
With his defensive acumen established, Juolevi has proven to be a highly functional puck distributor who can zip a seam-splitting stretch pass and add motion while quarterbacking the power play.
He is very competent when carrying the puck up ice and setting up the offensive zone formation, but he is equally impressive on the fly, zipping passes to forwards in stride in an effort to drive an elevated pace of attack.
For more on all the youngsters in the Sabres pipeline and an updated organizational depth chart, check out Kris Baker’s website, SabresProspects.com. You can also follow him on Twitter (@SabresProspects).