Veeti Vainio

Hometown:

Espoo, Finland

Currently Playing In:

Europe

Birthday:

1997-06-16

Position:

D

Eligible for draft:

2015

Shoots:

Right

Drafted:

2015

Height:

6-2

Acquired:

5th Round (141st Overall), 2015

Weight:

180 lbs.

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History

2011-12: Veeti Vainio played for the Espoo Blues U16 team in Finland. In 32 regular season games he scored 7 goals with 13 assists and 22 penalty minutes. Vainio score 1 goal with 3 assists and 2 penalty minutes in nine playoff games.

2012-13: Vainio played for the Espoo Blues U18 team as a 15-year-old and played for the Finland U16 team. He scored 2 goals with 9 assists and 30 penalty minutes in 30 games for Espoo. Vainio joined the club’s U16 team for its run to the C Juniors finals, scoring 4 goals with 3 assists and 41 penalty minutes in nine playoff games. In three games for the Finland U16 squad he had 3 assists and 12 penalty minutes.

2013-14: Vainio moved up to the Espoo U20 team and skated for Finland’s U17 team. In 42 regular season games for the first-place Blues he scored 13 goals with 31 assists and was +22 with 42 penalty minutes. Vainio led all defensemen in the playoffs with five goals and was +11 with 5 assists and 2 penalty minutes in 11 playoff games. Espoo captured the A juniors championship. In 12 games for the Finland U17 team Vainio scored 4 goals with 4 assists and was -1 with 6 penalty minutes.

2014-15: Vainio made his Liiga debut — appearing in two regular season games and one playoff contest with the Espoo Blues men’s team — and was an assistant captain for the Blues’ U20 team. He skated for the Finland U18 team in the Ivan Hlinka Tournament and the 2015 World Juniors. He had 1 assist with an even plus/minus in the three men’s league games. Vainio scored 13 goals with 31 assists in 42 regular season games and was +22 with 42 penalty minutes for the club’s U20 team. In five playoff games he scored 2 goals with 5 assists and was +1 with 4 penalty minutes. Vainio had 1 assist with 14 penalty minutes and an even plus/minus in four games at the Ivan Hlinka tournament. He had 1 assist and was -1 with 10 penalty minutes in seven games at the WJC, where Finland reached the gold medal game, falling 2-1 to the USA. Vainio was ranked 25th amongst international skaters in the Central Scouting final rankings and was selected by Columbus in the fifth round (141st overall) in the 2015 NHL Draft.

2015-16: Vainio missed time at the start of the year after suffering a wrist injury during prospect camp with the Blue Jackets. He returned to Finland and skated in 30 games for Espoo Blues in his first Liiga season; spending time with KeuPa HT in Mestis and also playing for the Blues U20 team. He had 4 assists and was -2 with 47 penalty minutes, averaging 18 minutes of ice time in Liiga play. Espoo finished last in the 15-team league. Vainio scored 1 goal with 4 assists and was +2 with 18 penalty minutes in six Mestis games with KeuPa HT. In six games with the Finland U19 team he scored 1 goal and was +2 with 8 penalty minutes.

Talent Analysis

Vainio is a big, mobile defenseman with some stick handling and passing skills. Slowed by injury at times, he is still developing in terms of his positional and tactical play.

Future

Vainio skated for last-place Espoo Blues in 2015-16 in his first season in Finland's Liiga. A big defenseman who has generated high expectations since early in his junior career, he will garner significant attention next season, when he is expected to challenge for a spot with the Finland U20 team and should step into a larger role for Espoo. He could also spend a year playing major junior hockey in Canada if he is selected in the 2016 CHL Import Draft. Long-term he projects as a middle pairing shutdown defenseman.

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