Vancouver Canucks 2017 NHL Draft Profile: RW Joni Ikonen

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.

Let’s take a look at a potential second-round option for the Canucks in Finnish forward Joni Ikonen.

Name: Joni Ikonen

Position: Right wing, center

Shoots: Right

Birthdate: 1999-04-14

Height, weight: 5’10”, 168 lbs

Team, league: Frolunda HC J20, SuperElit

Stats (from 







#91 by Future Considerations
#17 by NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters)

Risk, Reward: 3/5, 4.5/5

NHL-potential: Top-six forward

Draft Range: Top 50

Scouting report

"Ikonen is a small but very skilled offensive player. He is very crafty, possessing great hands and puck-handling skills. (…) He’s a quick, darting skater who moves around the ice with ease. (…) One of his best assets is his wrist shot. (…) He is aware that his shot is one of his best assets and he is more than happy to pull the trigger. He is a player who wants to make a difference on every shift and is constantly scanning for ways to impact the game. (…) As a creative puck magician, however, he is prone to a high number of turnovers as he can over-handle the puck or tries to go through too many guys. That’s not going to fly at the next level and it’s a part of his game he’ll have to rein in. All-in-all, he has the speed, the playmaking, the shooting ability and the puck skills to potentially grow into a dynamic offensive player at the next level. (Future Considerations)"


Joni Ikonen is an extremely skilled, flashy player that you will easily notice when you watch one of his games. Offensively, there is almost nothing Ikonen can’t do, thanks to excellent skating and puck skills. He loves to shoot the puck himself but can also set up plays for his teammates, which makes him an all-around offensive threat.

Ikonen makes a lot of plays from the outside and in the corners, where he easily shakes off opponents with quick turns and excellent stick-handling. He displays outstanding vision and always finds a teammate to pass the puck to, even if it has to travel through traffic to get there. Ikonen is a highly skilled and elusive player who can make opponents miss before playing a perfect cross-ice set up pass.

However, Ikonen is just as good at shooting the puck. His release on his wrist and snap shots is incredible and he gets pucks at the net with accuracy. Ikonen has an excellent one-timer with great accuracy as well, which makes him a dangerous power-play option both as a shooter and as a playmaker.


Is being 5-foot-10 tall a weakness anymore? Probably not for a player with Ikonen’s skill level. Nevertheless, he has to get stronger to succeed at the pro level, especially in the NHL. He just doesn’t look very big or strong, which could hurt him in his corner play that is otherwise one of his strengths.

More from Draft

Ikonen’s biggest weakness is probably something you see quite a lot with skilled junior players: They always want to make a flashy play before moving the puck. He sees open teammates and can get the puck to them, but always makes sure to pull off a fancy deke first. With every level you move up, there is less time and space, and Ikonen will get to feel that very soon.

In 2016-17, Ikonen scored over a point per game in every level of junior. However, in his first 10 pro games in the SHL, he did not record a point. That is nothing to worry about as Ikonen has just turned 18, but it shows he will have to adjust his style. Keeping the puck too long leads to turnovers in junior hockey, but even more so at the pro level.

Final Thoughts

Ikonen was one of the most exciting prospects at the 2017 under-18 worlds, playing on a line with tournament top scorer Kristian Vesalainen. However, while Vesalainen got the biggest hype, he actually profited mightily from Ikonen as his center.

Ikonen is an excellent skater, can be a great playmaker and has a pro-level shot. He has all the tools to be successful. The question is whether he can translate that to the NHL level by adjusting his playing style and getting stronger. Will he be a lifelong Euro player or can he be the next Johnny Gaudreau?

Perhaps Gaudreau is an unfair comparison, but that’s who you think of when you hear ‘small winger but great skater with elite stick-handling, an excellent shot and great playmaking ability.’ Ikonen has the skill-set to become a Gaudreau-type player, even in the NHL, and could be a major steal if he falls into the second round.

Next: 2017 NHL Draft Profile Overview

If he does, the Canucks should definitely consider to pick him up. As much as fans want the team to get bigger and tougher to play against, adding a player like Ikonen could be huge when the Canucks get back to more successful times.