Aleksi Saarela

Darren Walker

A highly skilled but inconsistent and injury-prone offensive forward. He is an explosive skater. Impressive top speed to create separation and does not slowdown in possession. Good movement in tight spaces too–really elusive. He gets an accurate and fast slap shot away quickly. Has impressive senses and sees the ice very well. A deadly transition player, Saarela can slickly pickpocket the puck in the neutral zone or offensive zone and then make deadly accurate quick-strike passes to his open teammates for an instant offensive chance. Displays good stickhandling with lots of agility to beat defenders one-on-one. Strong on face-offs when called upon as well. He plays OK defensively, as in his positioning is correct but needs to play that side of the puck with more jam and intensity. Good accurate passes on the power play and nice vision, trying to find the passing seams. Likes to control the puck and be the offensive catalyst. Finds the pucks really well in crowded areas and asserts himself with his low center of gravity along the wall. Has the ability to use his frame to play with some physicality but does not do so consistently. He has some durability issues as he has been injured multiple times over the past three seasons. (May 2015)