An undersized forward with middle-six upside. Primarily a playmaker but can also finish. A natural center but has been used at wing at the men’s level. Great effort and good two-way game.
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September 2023 – Hirvonen had his best goal-scoring mark last season with 15 goals in 57 Liiga contests with HIFK. He does not have the profile of a player that will blow you away on the score sheet but his tool set should translate into a contributor for the Maple Leafs bottom-six. He will be a name to watch on the Toronto Marlies this year as he begins his transition onto North American ice. Curtis Rines
August 2022 – Hirvonen had a very strong showing at the rebooted World Juniors in Alberta, captaining the Finnish squad to a silver medal. Finland was a shot away from claiming gold, falling to Canada in overtime of the gold medal contest, and Hirvonen was a driving force in his team making it that far. He finished the tournament with three goals and four assists through seven games, manning the left wing alongside Joakim Kemell and Aatu Räty on Finland’s first line. Hirvonen’s intelligence and vision, combined with his willingness to get to the dirty areas of the ice, were apparent throughout the tournament. He has since returned to HIFK where he will be looking to build upon his solid 2021-22 campaign in what could be his final season before making the jump to North America full-time. Nick Richard
May 2022 – Hirvonen established new career highs in goals, assists, and points during his third Liiga campaign – his first with HIFK after spending two seasons with Ässät. His strong season was enough to earn him an entry level contract with the Leafs and he is expected to join the club for training camp in the fall before heading back to Finland for another season. Hirvonen will look to build upon is 2021-22 campaign as he prepares to make the jump to North America full-time, perhaps as early as next spring. Nick Richard
December 2021 – After spending his first two Liiga seasons with Ässät, Hirvonen made the move to HIFK for the 2021-22 season. Following a bit of a slow start with his new team, the points have started to come for Hirvonen in recent weeks and he is now producing at a higher rate than he was for Ässät in 2020-21.
His performance so far this season, coupled with his play at last year’s World Juniors, has led to him making the Finnish WJC roster again for the 2022 tournament. Hirvonen has also been named captain of Team Finland and will be relied upon as one of their most important players as they look to improve upon their bronze medal finish from last year. Nick Richard
August 2021 – Hirvonen was a monster at the recent World Junior Summer Showcase, finishing second in scoring with eight goals – including a pair of hat tricks – and two assists in just six games. He was lethal on the power play, scoring four of his eight goals with the man advantage, proving dangerous as a shooter from the flank.
Hirvonen was a key part of Finland’s team at the last World Juniors and he is a safe bet to reprise his role as a prominent figure on this year’s squad as well. He might not be able to sustain the shooting percentage that saw him score eight times in six games at the WJSS but the rest of his game makes him a valuable player, even if he isn’t able to find the score sheet with regularity. His ability to read the game allows him to keep up with more talented players, his forechecking and physical game is constantly disrupting opposing defenders, and he has enough skill of his own to capitalize when given the chance. Look for him to have another strong showing at the World Junior Championships this winter. Nick Richard
April 2021 – Hirvonen finished his Liiga campaign with 6 goals, 15 assists, and 54 PIM in 54 games played, unfortunately all regular-season with Assat missing the playoffs. His output was only slightly higher than 2019-20 (other than PIMs, which jumped up significantly), but he remained at the center position for most of the year and was strong in the circle, winning 52% of his draws which is a good sign. He will remain in Liiga for 20201-22, citing a need to improve his strength ad skating before considering a move to North America. Wait for him to take the next step overseas before considering drafting in long-term fantasy. Hayden Soboleski
January 2020 – Hirvonen has won bronze at the 2021 WJC with Team Finland, and established himself as a go-to forward in the process. He played a steady but not flashy role on the wing in the top-six and was trusted in most tight situations, leading to clutch performances including a final-minute game-winner against Sweden and a late-game tying goal against USA. His 6 points in 7 games came against top competition, not just from blowout victories. Finnish coaching staff described him by saying “he plays like he’s old”, which is quite the compliment on a team that values reliability. That being said, he did take several avoidable penalties – an area for improvement. The 2nd-round pick has only increased his value since being selected in October 2020. Hayden Soboleski
December 2020 – Hirvonen has been named to Team Finland’s preliminary roster for the upcoming WJC tournament. The young pivot has upped his production rates in his second season in Liiga (5G, 4A, 28PIM in 21GP) and has seen time on his squad’s first line – not bad for a 5-9 18-year-old. Unfortunately we will be seeing less of him while Liiga is on pause for the month of December. Hayden Soboleski
October 2020 – The Maple Leafs have selected Hirvonen in the second round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. This was considered a good value pick by most pre-draft scouting rankings. He wasn’t a huge point producer in the Finnish league in 2019-20, but being a full-timer as a 17/18-year-old is no small feat, especially for an undersized player (5’9″, 170 lbs). He is listed as a dual centerman/winger but projects more likely as a winger. He is crafty and can get to the net, and makes things happen with the puck. He will require another year or two before being NHL fantasy-relevant, but he is relatively fast-tracked for a draftee considering he is already in year two playing against men. Hayden Soboleski
December 2019 – Hirvonen’s six points in 25 games may not look all that promising but it’s important to remember it’s his first season playing in a professional league against men. Hirvonen has been playing well and it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he starts putting up more points than he has until now. He has been getting good usage, averaging 14:30 of ice time per game with 1:54 of that coming on the power play. Hirvonen is a natural center but has been used at wing in the Liiga this season. Because of his small frame, he may end up being a winger at the NHL level as well. Hirvonen is part of Finland’s preliminary roster for the World Juniors, and all indicators are pointing towards him being part of the final roster. He will also be a top player for Finland at the U18 Worlds in the spring; he played a depth role at the U18 Worlds last spring and was a top player at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Hirvonen is primarily a playmaker but he also has a decent shot and a good nose for the net. His skating is good but there’s room for improvement. He doesn’t necessarily have high-end skill in any area but his effort level is great and he plays a reliable two-way game. He battles for pucks in the corners and goes to the dirty areas of the ice. He put up a lot of points in the junior league a year ago but I wouldn’t read too much into that. He is on the older side for this draft class and very mature for his age. Hirvonen is currently projected to be drafted in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft but he could potentially sneak into the first round if he has a strong second half. Jokke Nevalainen