Photo Credit: Tomi Vastamäki
D.O.B – January 10, 2002
Nationality – Finland
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Weight –163 lbs
Position – Center
Handedness – Left
Hirvonen’s Style Of Play
When you watch Hirvonen without focusing in on him directly it can be easy to come away wondering why some consider him a potential first rounder. He is undersized, and really has no stand-out abilities either physically or technically. However, the young Finn plays the game to a high level primarily because of what he has between his ears.
Hockey sense is the best attribute he possesses, though he is also a very good passer. He skates well enough but not exceptionally, has nice vision, and is very good off the puck at finding lanes and creating space for himself and team-mates. Hirvonen is in the right place, at the right time, all the time. Inside his own blue-line he has a good defensive IQ and stick, and even though immature won’t shy away from contesting pucks. The young pivot does not have much flash to his game, but has pretty good hands. He is also great on the draw for his age, and has put up good possession stats this year with 51.2% Corsi.
There are, however, legitimate questions over his offensive upside, and whether his skillset will allow him to be anything more than “just” a decent middle-sixer. It is worth noting though that last year his 1.10 P/GP better than guys like Kasperi Kapanen, Jesperi Kotkaniemi at same age, while playing mainly third line minutes in Liiga. It would not be a major surprise if he found himself as an NHL second liner down the line if he develops well.
Mikael Granlund, Right Wing/Center, Nashville Predators
Like his fellow Finn, Hirvonen wins mainly due to his passing ability and high hockey IQ. Neither are burners, especially since they are both undersized. The two pivots also are plus defensive players who can penalty-kill, and run a power-play due to their vision. Like Granlund, Hirvonen may well move over to wing at the NHL level. Hirvonen is not as skilled as Granlund, and it is unlikely he will reach quite the same peak.
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.
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