Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2021 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “2021 NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Samuel Helenius Scouting Report.
Acquired in the off-season from Jokerit, Samuel Helenius was part of JYP in the Finnish SM Liiga, playing against men. He got decent minutes for the team but was often used in a defensive role. Helenius put up seven goals and 14 points in 54 games. He joined Team Finland at the IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships, where he was again used in a checking line role. Helenius scored two goals and two assists for four points in seven tournament games. Helenius helped Finland to a bronze medal.
In 2019-20 Helenius played for Jokerit’s team in the Under-20 league. In 51 games, Helenius scored 13 goals and 11 assists for 24 points. He also played in one playoff game before the season was cancelled due to the start of the pandemic. Helenius also played one game in the Under-18 league, picking up one goal. He also played 12 games for the Finnish Under-18 team in various exhibition games. Helenius scored just two goals in those games. His father Sami Helenius played in the NHL for the Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Dallas Stars, and Colorado Avalanche. His older brother, Sasu, is a defenceman in the lower divisions of Finnish hockey.
Samuel Helenius Scouting Report
Centre — shoots Left
Born November 26th, 2002 — Dallas, Texas
Height 6’6″ — Weight 201 [198 cm/91 kg]
At 6-foot-6 Helenius stands out on the ice. For his size, he is a really good skater. While he could work on his first step, Helenius has a long and powerful stride once he gets going. This gives him very good acceleration as well as very good top-end speed. He is able to keep up with the play and plays a solid two-hundred-foot game. Helenius needs to continue to work on his edgework and agility though. His turns are not as sharp as they could be. He also can be better in his crossovers, which would give him increased speed and power out of his turns. Helenius needs to fill out his frame as well. This would help him to be stronger on the puck. It would also give him better balance.
Helenius has an outstanding wrist shot. He loads it up and releases it in a quick, smooth motion. Helenius is able to generate a ton of power as well. His shot is also accurate. It is a real weapon, and he can score from outside the face-off dots. That said, Helenius is not afraid to play from the dirty areas of the ice. He gets to the net, using his body as a screen. He is also able to tip-in shots, pounce on rebounds and one-time in passes from teammates. Helenius is also strong on the boards, using his body and long-reach to protect the puck.
However, there are some limitations to Helenius’ game as well. His stickhandling could use some work. There are plenty of times he mishandles or loses the puck while trying to make a move in a one-on-one situation. His passing is also very safe. He keeps the puck moving in the cycle game but favours the safe pass on the outside to a teammate over making a creative cross-ice pass. Helenius doesn’t seem to have the passing skills and vision to play a creative game, and so plays a very straight-line north-south style. He does not normally carry the puck through the neutral zone, preferring to move it quickly to an open winger.
Helenius is good defensively for his age. While he is not the biggest hitter, he uses his size to play a physical game, battling on the boards and containing the cycle game. As he gets stronger, this aspect of his game will continue to improve. Helenius understands how to keep himself between his man and the front of the net. He uses his long reach and active stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes. Helenius is also good in the faceoff circle for his age. These are areas of his game that should also only continue to improve with experience. When a turnover is created, Helenius is good at finding a quick pass to a teammate and starting the transition game.
Projection and Comparison
Helenius could become a solid checking line centre at the NHL level if he reaches his potential. His offensive limitations may keep him from being part of the top-six, but his role will still be valuable, playing against top lines and killing penalties. He could also develop his net-front game and provide a screening presence on the power play. Helenius will need time to continue to get stronger and could work on his offensive game as well. He is likely to stay in Finland for at least a season or two before being ready to make an impact in the NHL. His game is reminiscent of Brian Boyle. This is a stylistic comparison and not one based on skill and ability though.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Samuel Helenius that are available on youtube and Twitter.
#WJC: C Samuel Helenius (2021/2002) follows up to bury his first of the tournament. Now 5-0 Finland midway through the third period, with a 42-10 shot advantage. pic.twitter.com/PMZtKGDQgG
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 30, 2020
ICYMI: @leijonat lit the lamp 6 times against Slovakia, including two goals for Samuel Helenius. #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/IypilGqM2K
— IIHF (@IIHFHockey) December 31, 2020
I get what Samuel Helenius is trying to do here and this is his game, but he's gotta have a little more restraint considering he already took a penalty and Finns had a good start to the period. Swedes to the PP up 2-0 in the early 2nd pic.twitter.com/AEBrImjjqY
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) January 2, 2021
Great shift from Brad Lambert ends up having a goal himself. First play started by Samuel Helenius. #nhldraft pic.twitter.com/ruXNrQ2lcn
— Juha Rapanen (@jrabane) December 1, 2020
Brad Lambert (2022) sets up Samuel Helenius for a decent scoring chance #NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/Ee7aSir7M8
— Juha Rapanen (@jrabane) March 9, 2021
#2021NHLDraft prospect C Samuel Helenius scored 1G and 1A in the #Liiga today.
Here’s the goal (short-handed): pic.twitter.com/Q1jM9v7i9D
— 2021 NHL Draft Tracker (@NHLDraftWatch) October 17, 2020
I've also quite liked overage defenseman Mico Luoto, second goal of this game came shorthanded assisted by Samuel Helenius (2021) #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/ZlmzCEPVs9
— Brandon Holmes (@BHolmes_Hockey) April 14, 2020
SCORE TEAM FINLAND 🇫🇮
Mikko Petman d’entrée de T3 permet aux Finlandais de prendre les devants dans ce match pour la 3ème place !
Eemil Viro (DET) et Samuel Helenius (2021) prennent les assists !
🇫🇮2-1🇷🇺 #WorldJuniors pic.twitter.com/1yfO4w8AMV
— 𝓜𝓪𝓽𝓽 ✵ (@GnS_Mat64) January 6, 2021
Check back later for our latest draft article.
Samuel Helenius Scouting Report Main Photo:
EDMONTON, AB – DECEMBER 25: Samuel Helenius #20 of Finland takes a shot on goaltender Arno Tiefensee #1 of Germany during the 2021 IIHF World Junior Championship at Rogers Place on December 25, 2020 in Edmonton, Canada. (Photo by Codie McLachlan/Getty Images)
#WJC: Samuel Helenius exploits a gap in coverage with a bullet. Nice moves for a big kid but his shot also is respected in competition outside of the WJC#2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/TNb0Nhfk6o
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) December 30, 2020