Mikko Rantanen

Darren Walker

The big, strong right wing shows really good, smooth and balanced skating, especially
for his size. Rantanen is not lightning quick, but regardless of quickness he is a solid overall skater. His
skating allows him to pick up decent speed and makes him hard to control or contain. Makes good,
crisp passes to the safe option. He is cautious when making a pass in or around his own end, but
plays a little more risky when in possession deep in the offensive zone. He control his pace to line up
with the pass very well, slowing down or speeding up, to ensure that he gains control on the rush.
Will work the puck down low and cycle it when no options are readily available, but can create
space by drawing defenders in and making a pass to the newfound open ice. Protects the puck
extremely well with his body but also has some creative hands he likes to use. Reads the play
exceptionally well in the offensive zone and reacts as he quickly moves to open ice calling for
a pass when his team has possession. Has a good, quick wrist and doesn’t need to get set to
unload. Quick to corral the puck and wait for the goalie to make a move before he unloads a
quick release to the open net; it often doesn’t even look like Rantanen is getting set to shoot
until the puck is off his stick and in the back of the net. Such a deceptive release point fools
goalies, even when they are fully ready for it. He will be physical at times on the wall and
hold his ground in front of the net. Tenacious on the forecheck and is even better, more
consistent, on the backcheck; shows that he is aware defensively and will always look for
his check on the way back. His defensive game is a strength, he battles for pucks and
pressures defensemen for pucks deep in their own zone. He is often in a good position
without the puck. His willingness to sacrifice his body to block a shot and play defense
will endear him to his teammates. Already has the size, strength and experience to be
an impact player at the NHL level as soon as next season.  (May 2015)