This weeks BostonPucks.com “Prospect of the Week” comes from all the way across the pond in Finland. His name; Joona Koppanen. The Bruins picked the massive center in the 5th round (135th overall) of the 2016 draft. The 6’5″, 194 pound Tampere, Finland native was not regarded as a player to have much offensive upside, but he is known as being a smart and quick decision making forward. Koppanen is also a really dependable penalty killer and good at faceoffs.
This all sounds very similar to the Bruins second 1st round pick from the same 2016 draft, Trent Frederic, who is not known for having much offensive touch, but is having a terrific freshman year at the University of Wisconsin. Although currently Frederic is out with an injury.
The Bruins were looking for certain type of players in this past year’s draft and Koppanen fits the “responsible in the defense end, physical and hard to play against” mold. Here is what Bruins Assistant GM Scott Bradley had to say about Koppanen: “Koppanen for us, we had him rated very high all year long. His offensive production wasn’t quite [there] because he came into the national team and was slotted in on the fourth line. But our scouts saw him in Finland in elite games and he showed offensive upside, but biggest strength is his size and skating, and his energy and work component are second to none.”
Koppanen is currently playing at the Junior (u20) level in his native Finland for Ilves. He has already matched is point total from last year with 9 goals and 17 assists for 26 points in just 19 games. Koppanen had the exact same stat line last year in double (40) the games.
For a guy who is not supposed to have a lot of offensive upside he has sure improved his scoring so far this season, putting him on pace to double his point output. Koppanen was also on Team Finland that won the Gold Medal at the U18 World Championships. Hopefully we will be able to get a closer look at him at this year’s U20 World Junior Championships. He is yet another example of how well Don Sweeney and his scouting/development team have replenished a Chiarelli led depleted prospect pool.
- Zach Senyshyn followed up his first ever BostonPucks.com “Prospect of the Week” honor with another solid week. He popped for another 4 points (1 goal and 3 assists) in 3 games last week. Senyshyn now has 17 points (9 goals and 8 assists) in 20 games. He was also one of the 32 players announced yesterday that will participate in Team Canada’s World Junior Championship camp.
- Jakub Zboril did not play in any games this week for the St. John Sea Dogs due to a 5 game suspension for a hit to the head. You could say “the edge” he is known to play on was on full display last week.
- Jeremy Lauzon came back this week from another injury and scored a goal and had an assist against Victoriaville. Lauzon was also named to Team Canada’s World Junior Championship camp.
- Ryan Donato scored a goal and had 2 assists against Bentley on Friday night. The Harvard sophomore now has 11 points (5 goals and 6 assists) in 9 games this season.
- Anders Bjork is still 3rd in the country in NCAA scoring with 23 points (9 goals and 14 assists) in 14 games played. On Friday night against Holy Cross he recorded a goal and 2 assists.
- Ryan Lindgren, a Minnesota freshman, recorded his first collegiate assist/point on Friday against Northeastern. The Bruins drafted Lindgren in the second round of the 2016 draft.
- Danton Heinen returned from injury to score 2 goals against the St. Johns Ice Caps. Heinen now has 8 points (5 goals and 3 assists) in 9 games in the AHL.