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 “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we bring you our Ville Koivunen Scouting Report.
Finland has produced a number of strong prospects for this year’s NHL Draft. Playing in the Karpat system, versatile winger Ville Koivunen continues that run. He played in the Finnish Under-20 league this past season and was a dominant offensive force. Koivunen had 23 goals and 26 assists for 49 points in 38 games in the COVID interrupted season. He was named the league’s Rookie of the Year as well as taking a spot on the Second All-Star Team. He also picked up four assists in five playoff games. Koivunen impressed while playing for Finland at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He put up four goals and six assists for 10 points in seven tournament games.
In 2019-20 Koivunen dominated the Finnish Under-18 league. He scored 27 goals and 71 points in 37 games. Koivunen led the league in both goals and points. He was named League MVP as well as winning the award for Best Forward. Koivunen was also awarded a spot on the league’s First All-Star Team. He also played at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge. Koivunen picked up just two assists in five games. He is expected to play for Karpat in the Liiga next year.
Ville Koivunen Scouting Report
Right Wing/Left Wing — shoots Left
Born June 13th, 2003 — Oulu, Finland
Height 6’0″ — Weight 165 lbs [183 cm / 75 kg]
Skating is the biggest issue in Koivunen’s game right now and is preventing him from taking the next step. He really needs to work on his stride. It is short and choppy. He also needs to bend his legs more and get lower to the ice. This would improve his speed and acceleration which are both below average. Koivunen can have some issues creating separation from defenders as well as keeping up with the play. His agility and edgework also need work. His turns are wide and he needs to improve his crossovers. This would give him acceleration and power as he gets out of his turns. Koivunen also needs to add muscle to his frame. This will help him to be stronger on the boards as well as in front of the net.
Koivunen is a very intelligent player. His positioning helps him to make up for his lack of speed. He finds soft spots in the defence and always seems to be open for a pass from a teammate. Once he gets the puck, he is an excellent playmaker. Koivunen can control the puck and protect it with excellent stickhandling ability. He has the vision and anticipation to see when his teammates are open for a scoring chance as well. When an opportunity presents itself, Koivunen can saucer a pass over sticks or through a tight passing lane to set up that chance. He also does a good job of creating passing lanes with quick stick movements.
While more of a playmaker, Koivunen can also score goals. He has an excellent array of shots and can score with his wrist shot, snapshot, slap shot, one-timer and backhand. He does a good job of getting his shots off with a quick release. His soft hands also allow him to change the angle on his shot before letting it go, fooling goaltenders. Koivunen understands how to get open and leave himself in a good position for a pass from a teammate. He can score in tight to the net, elevating the puck quickly and putting it into tight spaces. His hands also help him get deflections and pounce on rebounds. Koivunen needs to be stronger on his skates though, as that would make him even more effective in the dirty areas of the ice.
Koivunen’s lack of speed can be an issue in the defensive zone as he is often the last man back. He struggles to provide support and backpressure against the rush due to his lack of speed. When he does get back into his own zone, his defensive game is good. He uses his body and stick well to take away the middle of the ice and to cut down passing lanes. His ability to read the play and anticipate what an opponent will do helps him to create turnovers. When a turnover is created, he is effective at starting the transition game. Koivunen is willing to battle for loose pucks. This is another area where added muscle will help him.
Projection and Comparison
Koivunen is a real boom or bust type of prospect. He has all the offensive and defensive skills to be a top-six winger in the NHL if he reaches his potential. However, his skating is a real concern and that could hold him back from being effective at higher levels. Koivunen needs some serious time with a good skating coach in order to reach his potential. He is signed with Karpat through the 2023-24 season and so should get that development time in a good system and playing on bigger ice surfaces. Koivunen’s game is reminiscent of Joe Pavelski, but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Ville Koivunen that are available on youtube as well as Twitter.
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) April 27, 2021
— Steven Ellis (@StevenEllisTHN) April 29, 2021
Going back and watching a bunch of Ville Koivunen as a I prepare for my report on him.
Koivunen LOVES to play the puck up the boards, cut in as soon as he has cleared the perimeter, goes to the slot and fires a wrist shot. It's like clockwork and he thrives at it.#2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/w9BxDE4skb
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 4, 2021
#SMSarjaU20: RW Ville Koivunen (2021/2003) is off to a red-hot start with Karpat's junior team. He scored twice in a loss to JyP on Friday, including this impressive inside rush. Note the slot recognition prior to breaking out. pic.twitter.com/6dFofJda0f
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) September 13, 2020
— Tony Ferrari (@theTonyFerrari) April 27, 2021
Going through some Ville Koivunen footage as I prep for my report.
Look at his stick-handling ability here. Koivunen tries to shorten his stride, falls, grabs control of the puck and manages to shift the puck to the right to avoid the attacker with his stick blade facing down. pic.twitter.com/Hi4CgHAyAf
— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 9, 2021
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) February 2, 2021
Ville Koivunen was named the rookie of the year in FIN U20 league. A smart, skilled and unselfish winger who creates lots of offense. But his ability to win possession also makes him tough to play against. Here are some takeaways and pass interceptions from No. 14. #2021NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/6yFdR2URD4
— Marco Bombino (@marco_bombino) April 8, 2021
Ville Koivunen (#2021NHLDraft) is there on the doorstep to get the Finns into this hockey game with the tying goal.
Finland has now drawn even with the Americans, 1-1 at the #U18Worlds in the 1st period.
— Elite Prospects (@eliteprospects) May 2, 2021
Ville Koivunen (2021) got a breakaway opportunity earlier in the same shift that probably should have resulted in a penalty shot for Kärpät. pic.twitter.com/gE6VSOANkG
— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) April 6, 2021
— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) August 10, 2019
Check back later for our latest NHL Draft article.
Ville Koivunen Scouting Report Main Photo:
Tshekillä hurja alku, Ville Koivunen iski Suomen kavennuksen. #Pikkuleijonat toiseen erään 1–2-takaa-ajoasemista. Lähetys #tvviisi ja #discoveryplusFI. #U18fi #U18Worlds #Leijonat pic.twitter.com/XaA4JXpR9q
— Leijonat (@leijonat) April 29, 2021