Name: Mikko Rantanen
Born: October 29, 1996 (18) – Nousiainen, Finland
Team: Turun Palloseura/TPS (Liiga)
Position: Right wing
Weight: 209 lbs.
2014-2015 season: 28 points (9 G, 19 A) in 56 games with TPS. 14 points (6 G, 8 A) and a +9 in seven playoff games with the TPS U20 team. Four goals in five games during the World Junior Championships (U20) with Finland.
- JR. A SM-liiga championship
- Named the best player of the JR. A SM-liiga playoffs
- Named a top three player on Finland during the World Junior Championships
- #1 (NHL Central Scouting: European skaters)
- #8 (McKeen’s Hockey)
- #8 (Future Considerations)
- #9 (ISS Hockey)
- #16 (TSN’s Craig Button)
- #19 (Hockey Prospect)
Elite Prospects: An exceptionally talented playmaker and always a consistent threat on the ice; Rantanen is a combination of elite-level hockey sense, silky smooth hands, and nimble skating. Needs to improve his shot and physical play, as he doesn’t take advantage of his size in many situations. All-in-all, an intelligent, big-bodied forward that oozes skill.
NHL.com mock drafts
Adam Kimelman (6th overall to New Jersey): A giant power forward (6-4, 211) is well-equipped for the North American game. The 18-year-old led all under-20 players in scoring in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, and was Finland’s best player the 2015 IIHF World Junior Championship. He skates well for a player his size and wasn’t intimidated playing against older competition.
Mike G. Morreale (7th overall to Philadelphia): Was considered by many observers to be the best player for Finland at the 2015 World Junior Championship, where he had a team-high four goals. The 6-3, 211-pound left-shot forward averaged more than 16 minutes of ice time per game with TPS and is effective on the power play. He has a good combination of hockey sense, hands and an explosive shot.
If the Flyers are going forward with their lottery pick, they should opt for the highly skilled Rantanen over the more physical Crouse. Rantanen has been playing against men since he was 16, as the Liiga is the top hockey league in Finland. The Flyers could possibly acquire assets by trading back to #8 and letting the Blue Jackets draft defenseman Ivan Provorov. 2015 might represent a good draft year to stock up on some skilled forwards as the system is lacking them.