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Edit: Drafted 99th overall by the Nashville Predators.
Juuse Saros is NHL Central Scouting’s top rated European Goaltender. He spent the year playing for HPK in the Finnish Jr. A Sm-Liiga, the highest junior hockey league in the country. He put up outstanding stats and was named the goalie of the year for the league
However, our viewings of Saros come from his play at the International level. He was sensational for Finland at the IIHF World Under 18 Hockey Championships, helping the Finnish team to the Bronze medal. With a .946 save perrcentage in the tournament he was named the best goalie in the post-tourney awards. A sensational performance in the preliminary round victory over the United States was a standout performance for any player at the Under 18. More than just a one trick pony though, Saros has long been a goalie on Finnish junior teams and performed well at the Ivan Hlinka, Under 17 World Hockey Challenge and the Four Nations.
Born April 19 1995 — Hämeenlinna, FIN
Height 5’10” — Weight 181 lbs — Shoots Left — Catches Left
In contrast to many of the goalies who are currently taking over the hockey world, Saros is considered a shorter goalie, and a reflex guy, measuring in at just 5’10” at the recent NHL Combine. Saros makes up for his lack of height with fantastic athleticism. He is a great skater in the crease, moving forwards and backwards to cut down angles and take away in tight moves, and really having stellar lateral movement to take away the cross crease pass. He tracks the puck well and is rarely caught out of position. He is extremely agile with really quick legs that take away the bottom of the net. Up top his glove hand is very good, and he is decent on the blocker side. Saros seems to be mentally strong and composed. He doesn’t let the bad goals get to him and recovers quickly from them.
Like many young goalies, Saros can sometimes have an issue with rebound control, and he will need to focus on improving that aspect of his game going forward. He also lacks the puck handling ability that is popular amongst many goalies in the NHL today.
Saros’ style is reminiscent of the style of Jaroslav Halak. He does have potential and with time could develop into a number one goalie in the NHL.
Check back tomorrow for another NHL draft feature.
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