No other defenceman combines smarts, poise and mobility in such a complete package. There is little to dislike about his potential other than lack of prototypical size. He is a viable candidate to be a number-one NHL defenceman who can play any role. Tough to beat one-on-one thanks to his elite agility and quickness…a natural, smooth skater with guile and vision. Dominated at the U18’s and moved into the top two of a lot of NHL scouts’ lists.
NHL Scouts’ Comments
Oct. 15, 2016 – May be the best skater in the draft. He could be a top-ten guy.
Jan 4, 2017 – Great feet. He’s the real deal. Very poised, smart…has some offensive upside too. Knows how to find lanes, good passer on the power play but they have him paired with the wrong guy in Saarijarvi instead of Valimaki…who can shoot. He should have had lots of assists at the World Juniors.
Mar. 27, 2017 – Great skater, thinks the game very well, He transitions the puck better than anyone in the draft, thinks quick and executes well. He defends well, he’s got good gap control. He’s a better skater than Juolevi and can execute quicker than Juolevi. Reminds me some of Duncan Keith.
Apr. 5 2017 – Just a good two-way dman..he’s got the great wheels so he can log a lot of minutes, skating is not taxing on him. He’s one of those guys. I’d like to see a little more offence but he might have it…because he’s got the skill and the vision…he can make plays…I think it’s just about getting into a role on a team where he could develop into more of an offensive type of guy. I certainly like his two-way game. He’s good in his own zone…He’s pretty good defensively, good tick, gets his body involved. When he get the puck he can move it out. He’s got that good stick, he can stay with guys. He’s not shy or timid.
May 5, 2017 – He is certainly an option for first overall. A very talented defenceman, such a good skater. He can play an economical game, he never seems to get tired so he can play a lot of minutes. Good stick, he can help out in both ends of the ice. At the same age..the way he plays the game at the junior level is similar to the way Lidstrom played at the pro level…yeah. He’s like a Scott Niedermayer…very good defensively, smart when he get the puck, and has that ability to step up…very good at picking their spots..reads the play.
May 6, 2017 – He’s an elite prospect because everything he does comes naturally. His skating is fluid, it’s natural… a nice fluid stride. Puckhandling is natural, soft hands, and the way he thinks the game comes naturally. He sees the play a step ahead. Very poised, confident. He lets the puck do the work for him. In today’s NHL you are looking for guys who move the puck quickly. It’s just easy for him to play the game.
Makar vs. Heiskanen – I don’t know. Makar is so dynamic in one area of the game. but you don’t know about the defence. Heiskanen is good in both areas..maybe not as dynamic but.. you can try to hit a home run or a double. For me going with Heiskanen that’s the the safest way to go…You’re not wrong…but it definitely wouldn’t shock me to see the other guy go ahead.