SM-liiga 2013-14 season preview, part 1

by Tony Piscotta
on
Juuse Saros - Finland

Photo: Nashville Predators goaltending prospect Juuse Saros, shown here competing at the 2013 USA Hockey Junior Evaluation Camp in Lake Placid, NY, will be part of young and talented group of goaltenders playing for HPK Hameenlinna in the SM-liiga in 2013-14 (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

The 2012-13 season in Finland's SM-Liiga was interesting, to say the least.

With an influx of NHL players early in the season due to the NHL lockout, the level of play was higher than in recent years. When those players returned to their NHL clubs, the remainder of the season saw several teams which had not had much success recently in the thick of things.

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2013 Rookie Tournament: Harrington, Maatta competing for Penguins in familiar surroundings

by Jason Menard
on
Scott Harrington - London Knights

Photo: Pittsburgh Penguins prospect Scott Harrington (C) appeard in two consecutive Memorial Cup tournaments as a member of the OHL’s London Knights (courtesy of Claus Andersen/Getty Images)

 

For a pair of Pittsburgh Penguins’ products, their participation in the Toronto Maple Leafs’-sponsored rookie tournament took place right in their own backyard. And while Olli Maatta looks to have more games wearing the London Knights’ green and gold, for Scott Harrington, it’s a bittersweet ending to his time in the Forest City.

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Catching up with Finnish prospects Waltteri Hopponen and Joel Kiviranta

by Chapin Landvogt
on
Waltteri Hopponen - Finland

Photo: Espoo Blues right wing and 2014 prospect Waltteri Hopponen was chosen 10th overall at the 2013 CHL Import Draft by the WHL’s Everett Silvertips (courtesy of Martin Rose/Getty Images)

 

Hailing from the Espoo Blues organization stationed right outside of Helsinki, the 6’1”, 180-pound left winger Waltteri Hopponen most recently represented Team Finland at the 2013 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament that took place in Breclav, Czech Republic and Piestany, Slovakia. Waltteri spoke to Hockey’s Future for a few moments after a 5-1 victory over Slovakia at the Ivan Hlinka.

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Finland 2013 draft review

by Tony Piscotta
on
Artturi Lehkonen - Montreal Canadiens

Photo: KalPa Kuopio forward Artturi Lehkonen is expected to eventually bring some offensive skill to the team that drafted him, the Montreal Canadiens (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

 

Forward Aleksander Barkov was the top-ranked prospect among skaters from Europe in the 2013 NHL Draft according to Central Scouting, so his being picked early in the draft did not come as a complete surprise.

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Top European prospect Barkov looking to become known commodity in NHL

by Tony Piscotta
on
Aleksander Barkov - Finland

Photo: Tappara forward Aleksander Barkov has proven his game against men in the Sm-Liiga, and now looks to test his abilities in North America (courtesy of Yury Kuzmin/KHL Photo Agency via Getty Images)

 

For most North American hockey fans, the top prospects in this year's NHL Draft, Halifax Mooseheads forwards Nathan MacKinnon and Jonathan Drouin, and Portland Winterhawks defenseman Seth Jones, are well known commodities.

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