By John Vogl
Junior team: Swift Current (WHL)
Born: Jyvaskyla, Finland
Measurables: 5-foot-7, 180 pounds
2013-14 stats: 62 games, 16 goals, 40 assists, 56 points
Central Scouting rank: No. 11 (North America)
Lowdown: All it took was one game for Honka to know he belonged in North America. The on-ice decision making is done a lot quicker here than on the larger rinks in Europe, and the fast-thinking Honka knew his skills would translate well during his draft year. He was right.
The free-wheeling, slick-passing defenseman showed he could be a magician in traffic or with open ice. He’s calm with the puck, which makes him a dependable quarterback on the power play. He sees plays develop before his teammates do, allowing them to get great scoring chances. Not surprisingly, he patterns his game after Ottawa’s Erik Karlsson.
It’s clear where Honka’s weakness is – his size. Shorter blue-liners can struggle for position while defending in front. Typical of smaller prospects, his height listings fluctuate from Central Scouting’s 5-foot-7 to Swift Current’s 5-11.
They said it: “Let’s just say that when you go to a game and you see his name in the lineup, you’re excited to watch the game because he’s got about four or five different gears. You think he’s just skating normally and he puts it in another gear, then another gear. Excellent vision and on-ice awareness. He reads the play so well sometimes he’s two or three steps ahead of his own teammates.” – Peter Sullivan, NHL Central Scouting.
The Buffalo News is profiling 30 prospects in 30 days leading up to the NHL draft, which begins June 27.
taggedNHL Entry Draft