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After not being a big name in previous international tournaments, Roope Hintz was a bit of a surprise addition to Finland’s World Junior Championship team this past year. He impressed in the summer tournaments and in the fall four nations, and eventually made the club for the big December/January tournament. While he only had two assists for the Finns, he was involved in numerous scoring chances and part of a dangerous third line that played well throughout the tournament. Back home Hintz played against men in the Finnish Sm-Liiga, the top level of Finnish domestic hockey. Playing for Ilves-Tampere, he had 5 goals and 17 points in 42 games, impressive numbers for a draft eligible player in a men’s league. He was drafted in the third round, 72nd overall, by Lokomotiv Yaroslavl in the 2014 KHL Draft.
Left Wing/Centre — shoots Left
Born Nov 17 1996 — Tampere, Finland
Height 6.03 — Weight 185 [191 cm/84 kg]
Roope Hintz has shown the versatility to play both centre and wing. He is a very intelligent player, as he sees passing lanes when he has the puck and sets up teammates with tape-to-tape passes at just the right moment. Hintz also does well without the puck, finding open spaces in the defence and getting himself into good scoring areas. He protects the puck well in the cycle game, using his size, long stick and good stickhandling ability to ward off defenders. He could stand to add more upper body strength though so that he can improve in board battles, and in front of the opponent’s net. Hintz has a very good wrist shot, but he must learn to use it more often and not always defer to passing. He does do a good job of driving the net, and has good hands to score in tight to the goal with dekes, rebounds and deflections.
Roope Hintz is a very good skater. He has excellent top end speed, a good first step and very good acceleration. As a result he can win races to loose pucks, or beat defenders wide off the rush. He has the power and balance to fight through checks and drive the net, and these areas should even improve as Hintz adds muscle to a lanky frame. Hintz has decent edgework and agility, which allows him to get around defenders, especially when combined with his stickhandling ability.
Roope Hintz’s defensive game is well-developped for a player his age. He shows his hockey IQ in the way he reads plays, anticipates, and creates turnovers in his own end of the ice. He is able to quickly transition those into offense with a good quick pass, or starting the rush himself. Hintz has a big body, and a long active stick that cuts down passing and shooting lanes. He backchecks hard and supports the defence down low, but this is again another area where he would be greatly helped by adding some muscle mass to a tall and lanky frame.
Hintz has the potential to be a second line player in the NHL if he can reach his potential, but is more likely to end up on the third line. He shows a strong two-way game and that should get him plenty of opportunities at the pro level. While he does show the versatility to play wing, his vision, hockey IQ, two-way game, and skating all indicate that his best position might be at centre. Hintz’ style is similar to Patrick Berglund of the St. Louis Blues, though this is a style comparison only and not one based on talent or potential.
Below are some highlights of Roope Hintz in action.
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