A complementary defender who brings intelligent and efficient plays to the ice. Can flash offence at times but irregularly.
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September 2020 – Utunen completed another season playing in Finland’s top tier. His role was much the same, however. He was used sparingly – often deployed as the #6 or #7 defender for Tappara. This 2020-21 campaign will be the final one of his current Finnish contract. It is expect that he will then cross the pond and give the American League a spin. His brand of efficient and smart defensive play will be welcomed at the bottom of the pro lineup, but don’t expect much in the way of offensive or creativity. Simple and safe are the names of the game with him. Cam Robinson
August 2019 – Utunen concluded his first full season in the Liiga by recording one goal and three points in 43 contests. He was deployed as the sixth or seventh defender with Tappara averaging just over 12 minutes a night for much of the campaign. His role should elevate in 2019-20 and he’ll look to push into a secure top-four position. Utunen has been looking strong at the World Junior Summer Showcase of yet – flashing some offense amongst his steadfast defensive play. As a returning player on the defending championship squad, he’ll be looked at to lead and be a calming presence on the blueline. It is plausible that we see the 19-year-old cross over to the AHL for 2020-21. Cam Robinson
Toni Utunen with his second goal of the day. He reads the play, jumps to the spot, gets down on one knee and finishes with the wrister.
— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) July 31, 2019
January 2019 – The Canucks most recent fifth-round selection appears to be a winner. The two-way defender captained his Finnish squad to a gold medal at the U18 World Championships last spring. He made the U20 World Junior team as a depth player last month before working his way up to the first pairing for the medal rounds. Utunen delivered the dagger that sent Canada home in the quarter-finals when he sniped one short side in overtime. That win propelled the Finns towards another gold medal. In 23 Liiga contests, Utunen has seen bottom pairing deployment is mostly defensive situations. He’s held his own at that level albeit without any offensive production. With his Liiga contract running two more seasons, he’s considered a long term prospect for the Canucks, but if he can continue on this trajectory, he may just have a future in the big leagues. Utunen will represent one of a handful of returning players for the Finns for the 2020 rendition of the WJC where they’ll look to defend their title. Cam Robinson
June 2018 – The Vancouver Canucks selected Utunen in the fifth round of the 2018 draft. Utunen projects as a safe, defensively responsible blueliner with good leadership qualities. He led the Finns to gold at the U18 World Championships. Cam Robinson