Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: D Eemeli Rasanen

Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 26, 2015; Sunrise, FL, USA; Brock Boeser walks to the stage after being selected as the number twenty-three overall pick to the Vancouver Canucks in the first round of the 2015 NHL Draft at BB&T Center. Mandatory Credit: Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports /

The Vancouver Canucks are preparing for the 2017 NHL Entry Draft — and so are we.

Once again the Vancouver Canucks failed to secure a spot in the NHL playoffs. So, instead of competing for the Stanley Cup, Canucks GM Jim Benning and his staff will use the upcoming months to prepare next season’s roster. Now that the organisation is officially in a ‘transition period’, the 2017 NHL Entry Draft will be of utmost importance.

A four-game winning streak to start the 2016-17 season gave fans hope for the playoffs. But — blame the coach, the roster, injuries or anything else — unfortunately, the team was unable to play competitively for an entire season. With that, they are guaranteed another high draft pick this year.

Here at The Canuck Way, we will do our best to prepare you for the upcoming draft by profiling as many eligible players as we possibly can. Keep in mind that we are not saying these are players the Canucks are targeting. Instead, these are players that we think the Canucks could or should have interest in.

This year’s draft seems wide-open, with no real consensus in any of the seven rounds. So, it will certainly be interesting to see who will put on a Vancouver Canucks jersey come June.

Today we’re going to take a close look at hulking defenceman Eemeli Rasanen!

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Name: Eemeli Rasanen

Position: Defense

Shoots: Right

Birthdate: 1999-03-06

Height, weight: 6’7”, 216 lbs

Team, league: Kingston Frontenacs, OHL

Stats (from 







#98 by Future Considerations
#32 by NHL Central Scouting (NA Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 2/5, 3/5

NHL-potential: Top-six defenseman

Draft Range: Rounds three to four

Scouting report

"A big, mobile defenseman with long strides that while look awkward, they are effective…makes quick decisions with the puck…on reception, he never hesitates, instead immediately turns to transition up ice and avoid staying stationary…protects it well, very calm under duress, no stress…hard, accurate outlets…finds seam very quickly utilizing his smart, strong on-ice vision…massive guy who brings physicality and nastiness to the back end…unfortunately the trade off to his physical advantage is a little bit of a slower step which leaves him vulnerable if plays are out of his lengthy reach…imposing presence to battle with in front of his own crease…while he doesn’t use his huge frame to be punishing with a nasty edge like he could, he is still a physical presence, stepping up to lay clean hits or rubbing carriers out along the boards…does an excellent job controlling gaps, makes stick-on-puck plays off the rush…is a gifted, towering defensemen who can contribute offensively in a way most 6’6 defenders can’t…has some immense upside as a pro two-way defender.  (Future Considerations, November 2016)"


Looking for Eemeli Rasanen’s biggest strength, there is one thing that quite literally stands out: His size. If we trust the IIHF with their roster information for the under-18 worlds, Rasanen stands 6-foot-7 and 216 pounds. Being 10 inches taller than Finnish D-partners Aleksi Anttalainen or Aarre Isiguzo, he is impossible to miss.

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We know size isn’t everything, though, and that it does nothing for you if you don’t use it to your advantage. But, Rasanen knows very well how to use it. The Finn still needs to learn to handle his large frame, but he is already using his incredible reach and long stick to make defensive plays. Along with solid speed and mobility, getting past Rasanen is an extremely tough task for attackers.

Furthermore, Rasanen has some offensive upside, although it is hard to project how his game will develop over the next years. Rasanen has strong vision and plays accurate passes in all three zones. In addition, he has a heavy shot that can get the goaltender in trouble.

Overall, Rasanen is a strong stay-at-home defenseman who has the tools to develop into more of a two-way guy. He will certainly need time to get there, though.


Like most tall players, Rasanen is not an outstanding skater. He has a powerful stride and gets around fairly well, which works at the junior level, but it might not be enough at the pro level. His stick and reach make up for his lack of skating ability. Rasanen was listed as 6-foot-5 last season, though, so he is clearly still growing and might just need some time to grow into his frame.

Also, and I’m not even sure if it’s fair to call this a weakness, Rasanen isn’t overly physical. In Vancouver, fans are used to massive hits from their 6-foot-7 D-man, but that’s not really Rasanen’s game. That said, he does use his size and strength to his advantage and has shown the ability to hit.

Rasanen is incredibly raw and will need several years to develop, so it’s hard to say what he will become. The tools are there, especially physically, but he might never become quick enough for the NHL.

Final Thoughts

We love Nikita Tryamkin, Boston loves Zdeno Chara and St. Louis loves Colton Parayko. There have been many D-men in the NHL who are not only intimidating but also play a strong two-way game. The million-dollar question is whether Rasanen can do the same.

One thing Tryamkin, Chara and Parayko have in common is that they are very physical. Rasanen has an outstanding frame to play that punishing style of hockey, but he hasn’t shown the ability to do it consistently and at the highest level. Now, we all know being physical isn’t the most important skill, but Rasanen’s two-way upside isn’t high enough to make up for it.

If the Canucks think they are lacking size and grit, maybe they should take a look at Rasanen. But, they should do so knowing he probably won’t be in the NHL for at least four years if at all.

Next: 2017 NHL Draft Profile Overview

The Canucks own the 95th pick and — barring a San Jose Sharks Stanley Cup victory — the 115th selection. There is a chance that Rasanen will be off the board at that point, but I would probably only use the 115th on Rasanen and find someone else at 95.

There is a lot to like about Rasanen, so there might be a team that picks him up as early as the third round. His 32nd rank on Central Scouting’s North American list, however, only shows their love for size and, personally, I wouldn’t touch him in the top 60.