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 2022 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 Topias Leinonen Scouting Report.
Finland has produced a number of talented goaltenders in recent years. Widely seen as the top goaltending prospect in this year’s NHL Draft, Topias Leinonen has been playing in the JYP system. He played 21 games in the Finnish Under-20 league this year. Leinonen put up a 9-10 record with a 2.28 goals-against-average and a .916 save percentage behind one of the weaker teams in that league. He also made four appearances for the big club, playing in the SM Liiga, Finland’s top men’s league. Unfortunately, he struggled against men, putting up an 0-1-2 record with a 5.02 goals-against-average and an .825 save percentage. Leinonen has a short stint in the Mestis, as he was loaned to KeuPa HT. He went 1-1 with a 3.15 goals-against-average and an .861 save percentage.
Leinonen also spent time with the Finnish Under-18 team. He led them to a gold medal at the European Youth Olympic Festival. In three games, Leinonen had a 3-0 record with a 2.33 GAA and an .897 save percentage. Leinonen also backstopped Finland at the IIHF Under-18 World Championships. He led the team to a bronze medal. He put up a 3-2-0 record with a 2.61 GAA and an .897 save percentage.
Topias Leinonen Scouting Report
Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born January 25th, 2004 — Jyvaskyla, Finland
Height 6’5″ — Weight 233 lbs [195 cm / 106 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6-foot-5 Leinonen has the ideal size that NHL teams look for. He is also very athletic, playing a butterfly style. Leinonen loves to come out of his crease to challenge shooters. This helps him to make the most of his huge frame. However, he does need to work on being consistent with his angles. He can sometimes be a little bit off, which gives the shooter more to look at than is ideal. Leinonen is a good skater. This allows him to challenge shooters and be able to back up quickly if they try to go to the net with a deke. He also has very strong legs. Leinonen gets across the crease quickly, making saves on cross-ice passes. He tracks the puck well and gets into good positions.
Leinonen has strong legs and he gets up and down in his butterfly quickly. He has a very deep crouch and wide stance. This can sometimes lead to an issue with letting in goals in his five-hole. He also does a good job of taking away the bottom of the net. However, Leinonen can sometimes go down too early. Leinonen also needs to work on his rebound control. However, this is not unusual for a young goaltender and often comes with time and maturity. His quick reflexes are apparent on the blocker side.
Like many young European goalies, Leinonen could use some work on being a bit quicker with his glove hand. One of his best assets is his ability to recover quickly though. Leinonen is quick to get square to the puck after giving up a rebound.
Leinonen is also a real competitor. He recovers quickly from goals against him and does not let things spiral. He forgets his mistakes quickly and is ready to make the next save. Leinonen has seen plenty of shots and traffic in his career to date. He does not let this rattle him either. He stays calm and composed in the net. Leinonen is a team leader and defencemen rely on him to keep things calm. He is a smart goaltender. He knows when his team needs a line change and will cover-up. Leinonen also understands how to keep the puck moving when his team can take advantage of a tired opponent, or a team on a line change. He has a high compete level. He never quits on a play and can make some miraculous saves as a result.
Leinonen is aggressive in playing the puck. He gets out of his net quickly to intercept dump-ins and move the puck to his defenders. He almost acts like a third defender, helping his team to start the transition game. Leinonen makes effective passes to defenders. If he catches the opponent on a line change, he can also get the puck up the ice quickly, leading to a breakaway or odd-man rush for his team.
Projection and Comparison
Leinonen has the tools to develop into a number one goalie in the NHL but it will take time. Like many goalies, he will be a bit of a project. Expect him to continue with JYP next season. He may be able to get some time on loan in the Mestis if he proves to be too good for the Under-20 league. Leinonen will need at least two more years in Europe and then some AHL time as he adjusts to the angles of the North American game. He is a bit raw, but his issues with rebound control and his glove hand are fixable. With his athleticism and work ethic, a strong goalie coach could develop him into an NHL goalie. Leinonen’s game is reminiscent of Pekka Rinne. This is a stylistic comparison only though and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Topias Leinonen that are available on youtube and Twitter.
Haastatteluvuorossa maalivahtilupaus Topias Leinonen🌪🏒
Katso koko pätkä JYPin YouTube -kanavalla 👉🏻 https://t.co/HqtSzUk4rm
— JYP Jyväskylä (@JYPJyvaskyla) June 21, 2022
Check back later for our next NHL Draft article.
Topias Leinonen Scouting Report Main Photo:
With the absolute disaster that was the 2021-22 New Jersey Devils’ goaltending, one would imagine Tom Fitzgerald is inclined to pick more goaltenders during this Draft. Currently, the only prospects the Devils have the rights to – but have not signedhttps://t.co/O7RiWk6Aun
— Shop NJD Hockey (@ShopNJDHockey) June 19, 2022