In our 2017 NHL Draft Preview, we look closely at some of the prospects that could be available when the Hurricanes draft at 12th overall on June 23 in Chicago.
- DOB: June 1, 1999 - Helsinki, Finland
- Team: Frolunda (SWE)
- Left Wing | Shoots: L | 6’3”, 209 lbs
- 2016-17 Stats: 26 GP, 1G, 5A, 6 Points, 2 PIM
Vesalainen is a large, power forward that can thrive in a variety of roles. He uses his size to create separation and drive the net. His large frame allows him to win battles in the corners and overpower his opponents for pucks. His large build is a nuisance to goalies and defenseman when battling in front of the net. His long stride helps him get up ice with speed and has the ability to create odd-man rushes. Vesalainen’s passing is top-notch as he’s able to give stretch passes to rushing forwards or thread the needle while in the offensive zone.
There are a growing number of concerns with Vesalainen. First and foremost: his statline. Its alarming that Vesalainen had only six points while playing among men in Sweden. Scouts are concerned that there is not enough of a production history to grab Vesalainen high in the draft. Similar to Michael Rasmussen in a way, Vesalainen’s high ranking is largely based on his size and not on any overwhelming statistical profile, making him a risky, albeit potentially late-emerging, selection.
He needs to use his shot more and find ways to better use his size as a contributing factor in order to score. Vesalainen is more of a long term prospect but scouts agree that the raw tools are there. It’s just a matter of him figuring it out and putting it all together.
Vesalainen will almost certainly still be on the draft board when the Carolina Hurricanes step up to the podium. However, it seems unlikely that Vesalainen would be donning the red sweater any time soon. He’s too much of a gamble to take at the 12th overall selection, and will not be ready until at least two or three years from now.
Most likely, Vesalainen will go to a team late in the first round that can afford to wait on him. He may be able to put it all together, but his production thus far does not warrant being picked by the Canes early in the draft.