2014 U18 Video: Waltteri Hopponen, Finland

By Chapin Landvogt

Waltteri Hopponen - Team Finland

Photo: Team Finland forward and 2014 prospect Waltteri Hopponen began the season with the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, but was released once Mirco Mueller returned to the Silvertips from the San Jose Sharks (courtesy of Chapin Landvogt/HF)

The host country for the 2014 IIHF U18 World Championship, Finland, was no doubt hoping to repeat the gold medal performance of that country's U20 squad's win in January at the 2014 IIHF U20 World Junior Championship that was held in Malmo, Sweden.

Instead, the Finns' golden dreams came to a screeching halt in the quarterfinals after that country suffered a 10-0 drubbing at the hands of neighbor and archrival, Sweden.

Heading into the 2013-14 season, Finnish forward Waltteri Hopponen was considered at least a decent prospect for the 2014 NHL Draft. Hopponen turned in a solid season for the Sioux City Musketeers of the USHL, scoring 17 goals and adding 14 assists in 54 games. But if Hopponen was hoping to use the U18 tournament as an opportunity to raise his draft stock, his two assists in five games may not be enough to accomplish that goal. He is ranked 122nd among North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings after having been ranked 191st in the midterm rankings.

Hopponen spoke with Hockey's Future following his country's loss to Team USA, a conversation that can be viewed in this HF video.

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