2014 NHL Draft Profile #13: Julius Honka

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Julius Honka is a Finnish Defender who played for the Swift Current Broncos in the WHL.  A late 1995 birthdate, he had a very impressive season, putting up 16 goals and 56 points for the Broncons.  He also appeared in all seven games in helping Finland to a gold medal at the World Junior Championships. He was the 34th overall pick in the 2013 CHL Import Draft. Honka came to the WHL in the hopes of adjusting his game to the North American style of play in his draft year, and the move has done wonders for him, as his physical and defensive game have improved as the year has progressed and it has corresponded to a rise up draft boards.

Julius Honka

Defence — shoots Right
Born Dec 3 1995 — Jyvaskyla, Finland
Height 5.11 — Weight 175 [180 cm/79 kg]

Julius Honka projects as an offensive defenceman. He is a great skater who can both lead the rush or join in as a trailer.  He has excellent speed and very good acceleration.  He has good edgework, and excellent agility.  In the offensive zone Honka is able to walk the line and open up shooting and passing lanes to create offence.   Has great mobility, has very good pivots and is also extremely quick skating backwards.  This and a quick stick help him to defend against the rush.

Offensively Honka, has good stickhandling ability, excellent vision and passing skill.  Honka is excellent in the role of powerplay quarterback and can create a ton of chances when he is given time and space.  He has a booming slapshot and very good one-timer from the point.  Has the knack to get this shot through and on net around the defenders that defend high to try and prevent it.  He also has effective wrist and snaps shots and a very good release on both. Honka has good offensive hockey sense and can pick the right time to pinch in for an offensive chance.  Even when he makes a poor decision his quick skating can often help him to recover.

However Honka’s lack of size limits his defensive game.  His lack of size and strength means that he can be beaten in board battles and struggles to clear the front of the net.  He will need to add some muscle to his frame going forward in order to play at the NHL level.  He also could use some work on basic fundamentals of zone coverage and can make bad giveaways at times.  Don’t take this report too harshly, he’s not terrible defensively and is actually average in his own zone for a player his age, but his weaknesses are what keep him from being a top 10 prospect in my mind, despite the great offensive potential0.

Honka plays a similar style to Erik Karlsson of the Ottawa Senators.  This isn’t to say that his talent is at the same level as the NHL leader in defenceman points and former Norris winner, it is merely a stylistic comparison.  In terms of potential, Honka has some things to work on, but he could become a top-pairing player and a power play quarterback if he reaches his ceiling.

Here are some highlights of Julius Honka in action.

Check back tomorrow for my #14 ranked prospect.


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