Waltteri Hopponen

Aaron Vickers

Hopponen is a big, tough forward who impressed this season with Sioux City, who he joined after leaving the Everett Silvertips of the WHL early in the year. He is a powerful skater who doesn’t have the greatest first couple of steps, but when he gets going, he is hard to stop. He is very balanced on his skates and difficult to knock around. Hopponen has average to above-average puck skills, with decent stick skills and excellent strength over the puck. He uses his body to shield the puck terrifically. Hopponen can carry the puck for plenty of time without being knocked off of it from pursuing pressure. He has decent vision with the puck, but isn’t super creative. He is very straight forward and when he sees a passing option and doesn’t have a shooting lane, he will move the puck. Hopponen does like to drive to the net when the option is open. He uses his size and strength to earn space in front, and has the ability to find rebounds or get a stick on shots to tip toward the goal. He also has a hard wrist shot with a decent release speed. Hopponen is a very hard hitter and a big-time board player. He is hard when he gets involved in battles, he is very hard to knock loose. Hopponen is cerebral in his own zone, and does a good job getting in lanes and putting his body in front of shots. He is aggressive on the PK, and effective at clearing the zone and getting the puck over the blue line. (May 2014)