Liiga Report – November 2017

by niko on November 24, 2017

 

We are nearing the end of November and a third of the games have been played in the Liiga. The usual suspects Oulu Kärpät and Tampere Tappara lead the way in the standings, with Turku TPS only one point behind. In the other end of the spectrum Otto Koivula’s Tampere Ilves is having one of the worst starts to the season in the team’s history.

Miro Heiskanen keeps logging big minutes and post impressive numbers that are some of the best in the league. He is up to seven goals and four assists in thirteen games. The talented defender has 2.35 points per 60 minutes of ice time (P60) and his COR%-C is 61.6. Heiskanen also debuted with the national team in the Karjala Cup earlier this month. He did not look out of place and was able to control the game in both ends of the ice while scoring two goals in three games.

{twitter}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fi"><p lang="en" dir="ltr"><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Liiga?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Liiga</a>: Here's Jesperi Kotkaniemi's goal from Assat's 3-1 win over Saipa. Production hasn't been pretty last few weeks but he made up for it in other areas of the game. <a href="https://t.co/hz8Eg7h5D2">pic.twitter.com/hz8Eg7h5D2</a></p>&mdash; Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) <a href="https://twitter.com/TheDraftAnalyst/status/933109922522451969?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">21. marraskuuta 2017</a></blockquote>

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Jesperi Kotkaniemi  broke out of his slump with a goal and assist. He was pointless in five games before his two point night. The young center has six goals and eleven points in 25 games on the season. He is third in team scoring with Pori Ässät. At times it seems that he is too small for the mens league and that he needs to add strength during next summer. The talent is there, but his frame is holding him back. Current projections have him going around 15th overall in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft.

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Henrik Haapala was called up by the Florida Panthers. Haapala has seven points in 11 games for the Springfield Thunderbirds. On his first NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs Haapala played well on the second line with Vincent Trocheck and Nick Bjugstad. He was smart with the puck and made safe plays, as would anyone playing their first game in the NHL. He got an assist on Bjugstad’s goal after dropping down and giving his line-mates the space to create a scoring change, while making sure that he is there to back up the defensemen if a turn-over happens. Haapala would be a great fit with the up tempo style of hockey that the Panthers play. Couple of more good games from him and it would be hard for Bob Boughner to drop him back to the AHL even when Vrbata returns from his injury.

 

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Sebastian Repo is another prospect that has been drafted by the Panthers from Tappara. Sixth round pick of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft has five goals and ten points fifteen games, including a six game point streak during which he scored five goals and eight points. Only two of his points have come on the powerplay. The young sniper is not seeing a lot time on the man advantage. It would be nice to see what he could do with a bit more time on the powerplay. The 21-year old has a good frame that he utilizes to his advantage. He is sporting solid 52.5 COR%-C which tells us that when he is on the ice, pucks tend to fly towards the opposing teams goal more then Tappara’s.

{twitter}<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="fi"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">4th goal of the season on Saturday for <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/FlaPanthers?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#FlaPanthers</a> Sebastian Repo <a href="https://twitter.com/Tapparaofficial?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Tapparaofficial</a>..shot comes from below goal line, replay barely shows it <a href="https://t.co/Gqj0rFbB1A">pic.twitter.com/Gqj0rFbB1A</a></p>&mdash; Panthers Prospects (@fla_prospects) <a href="https://twitter.com/fla_prospects/status/927383536956473345?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">6. marraskuuta 2017</a></blockquote>

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For those who are interested in Liiga stats, here is a great resource to satisfy all your advanced stats needs.

Niko Salminen