Antti Saarela

Chicago Blackhawks
Photo courtesy of Iltalehti.fi

Fantasy Summary

Complementary forward with middle-six upside. Has played center in junior but projects to be a winger at the pro level.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 6.0
NHL Certainty 6.0
Country FIN
Position RW
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth June 27, 2001
Height 6‘0”
Weight 190 lbs
Drafted 2019 Round 4; Overall: 123

Observations

June 2019 – Saarela has been drafted 123rd overall by the Blackhawks.  Jokke Nevalainen

June 2019 – Saarela was officially measured at 5-foot-11.75 and 190 pounds at the NHL Draft Combine.  Jokke Nevalainen

March 2019 – Saarela started this season in Jr. A SM-liiga which is the top junior level in Finland. While there, he put up seven goals and 15 points in 21 games. After that time, he’s been mostly playing at the top level in Liiga where he’s put up two goals and 10 points in 23 games. Saarela’s production in Liiga is very impressive but he’s also received great usage which has allowed him to produce points alongside talented players. Saarela comes from a true hockey family as his father Pasi was a long-time pro player and a local legend with Lukko which is probably partly why Antti has received such a great opportunity there as well. And Antti’s older brother Aleksi was drafted by the Rangers and is currently playing in Carolina’s system. The younger Saarela has also played 11 games with Finland’s U18 team and scored six points there. He’s expected to play an important role for Finland at the U18 Worlds.

Saarela has played center in junior but has been used purely as a winger at the pro level. His game is better suited for the wing, so I would expect him to stay there. He’s not big (5-11, 176) but he plays a fearless style of game and isn’t afraid to get his nose dirty. Saarela is a great skater who can create offensive opportunities because of his speed but his acceleration and agility are also great. His puck-skills are very good which makes him very dangerous in one-on-one situations. He also has a good shot. His playmaking skills are decent but he’s more of a complementary player than someone who drives the offense. He plays a reliable defensive game as well. Besides skating, his tools don’t appear to be high-end which is why he projects to become a complementary third-line winger. Saarela is likely going to be drafted in the third round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.  Jokke Nevalainen


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2015-2016 Lukko U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 12 7 15 22 14 |          
  Lukko U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 26 20 15 35 24 | Playoffs 6 8 2 10
 2016-2017 Lukko U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 1 3 1 4 0 |          
  Lukko U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 34 5 15 20 40 |          
  Finland U16 (all) International-Jr 9 5 3 8 6 |          
 2017-2018 Lukko U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 5 2 4 6 4 | Playoffs 3 0 2 2
  Lukko U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 25 6 9 15 6 |          
  Lukko Liiga 1 0 0 0 0 |          
  Finland U17 WHC-17 5 2 2 4 4 |          
  Finland U17 (all) International-Jr 16 6 8 14 26 |          
 2018-2019 Lukko U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 21 7 8 15 32 |          
  Lukko Liiga 24 2 8 10 20 | Playoffs 4 0 0 0
  Finland U18 WJC-18 5 1 2 3 6 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 19 5 4 9 39 |          
  Finland U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 3 0 0 0 2 |          
 2019-2020 Ilves Liiga - - - - - |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 6 0 3 3 4 |          

Highlights