Eetu Sopanen

Hometown:

Kouvola Finland

Team:

Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1996-04-24

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2014

Shoots:

Left

Drafted:

Height:

6-3

Acquired:

Eligible for the 2014 NHL Draft

Weight:

210 lbs.

Probability of Success

History

2010-11: Eetu Sopanen appeared in two Division 1 U18 games and was an assistant captain for the Pelicans U16 team in Lahti, Finland. He had two assists for Pelicans U18 team and in 33 regular season U18 games he scored 6 goals with 9 assists and had 18 penalty minutes.

2011-12: Sopanen skated for Pelicans' U18 team as a 15-year-old after beginning the year with the club's U16 squad and played for Finland's U16 team. In 31 games he scored 2 goals with 6 assists and had 12 penalty minutes. Sopanen played 18 international contests with Finland's U16 team; scoring 2 goals with 6 assists and finishing +6 with 12 penalty minutes. In six games at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games he scored 1 goal with 2 assists and 4 penalty minutes.

2012-13: Sopanen played 16 games for the Pelicans U20 team and eight games with the club's U18 team —missing part of the season due to injury — and represented Finland in the 2013 U17 World Hockey Challenge in Canada. He scored 1 goal with 6 assists and was -1 with 12 penalty minutes playing for Pelicans' U20 team. Sopanen had 2 goals, 5 assists and 8 penalty minutes with the club's U18 squad. In five games at the WHC he scored 1 goal and had 4 penalty minutes.

2013-14: Back and neck injuries limited Sopanen to 14 games with Pelicans' U20 team early in the year but the young defenseman is expected to play for Finland's U18 team at the World Junior Championship. He scored 3 goals with 6 assists and was +3 with 18 penalty minutes in U20 play before missing time. Sopanen was ranked 42nd amongst European skaters in Central Scouting's mid-term rankings prior to the 2014 NHL Draft.

 

Talent Analysis

Sopanen, the younger brother of one-time Devils' prospect Vili Sopanen and Iiro Sopanen, both forwards, is viewed among the top defenseman prospects from Finland for the 2014 NHL Draft. While injuries have kept him off the ice for much of the 2013-14 season, his size and raw skills have garnered attention. When healthy he is an effective two-way defender with the skating ability both to defend in his own zone and create plays off the transition game.

 

Future

Sopanen was particularly impressive skating for Finland's U18 team at the Four Nations tournament in November and if he displays similar skills in the upcoming U18 World Junior Championship he should draw interest at the 2014 NHL Draft. No doubt his injuries the past two seasons have hampered his development and will be considered when teams make their pre-draft deliberations. Ability-wise, he compares favorably with other young defensemen and his size is always attractive.

 

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The 2014 NHL Draft figures to be an interesting one when it comes to players being selected out of Finland. The general consensus on the draft as a whole is that the talent pool drops off significantly after the first handful of prospects with the next group all very similar with little separating them. The same can be said of the prospects coming out of Finland this year.

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