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Topi Niemela


Average to below, often pinches in on the rush but doesn't have the speed to catch back up when puck is turned over. Topi plays his angles very well, which makes it hard to notice when speedy forwards are coming at him. This might translate to the NHL, but you can bet coaches wont stand for him pinching and not being able to get back.


Average to above, Topi is able to read the play and make a solid first pass to spring the offense into an odd man rushes. His puck handling is pretty solid when walking the blueline, but nothing flashy like dangling defenders.


Below average, Topi does not shoot often. Hard to get a sense of how well he shoots when he only gets one shot on net per game.

IQ (Vision, Anticipation, Panic/Poise):

Average to above average, as pointed out in the passing headline he is great at reading the attack and get sprout the offense with a long stretch pass to a forward. Topi doesnt carry the puck up ice too often for an offensive minded defender so hard to judge the panic meter.


Being a defender, he is usually the 2nd or 3rd guy in looking for a drop pass. This might be a good area to mention his lack of hits, being a smaller guy Topi doesn't shy away from being hit but sure doesn't finish them either.


Average, he plays the angle great when forwards are coming down on him, as he isn't the fastest or biggest guy this is his bread and butter. Nothing stood out when watching Topi's defensive game, which is a good thing. Seemed to handle himself well in the corners and in front of the net with bigger and stronger competition.

Best Asset:

Best asset is his first pass out of the D zone, finding seams that the average defender wouldnt have seen.

Biggest Concern:

My biggest concern is the offense doesn't translate to the NHL, currently he's a half a point/game player with 19:00 minutes of ice time. With a sure drop in play time and tougher competition, I see a 25 point guy with no BASH.

Top Tier/Role Potential:

Tier 2/3, top 4 and 2nd PP putting him at a 40-50 point guy with minimal BASH stats.

Justification for Top Tier Assessment:

If all breaks right for Topi his defensive game will give him the minutes and slight offensive ability could land a PP2 assignment.

50th Percentile Tier/Role:

Tier 3/4, 2nd or 3rd pairing with touches of PP time. 20-30 points with minimal bash.

Justification for 50th Percentile Tier Assessment:

His defensive game is solid enough to play in the NHL, however the size and speed will hinder him from being a top 4 guy. His game doesn't scream offense, but can be seen when given the opportunity.

Stylistic Comparable:

Travs Dermott, smaller guy who struggles with stronger competition but was able to put some points on the board at the AHL level and below.

Scouts Final Thoughts and Additional Stats/Info:

There was a point in time when I thought Niemela could be a fantasy option, that no longer exists.

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