Urho Vaakanainen

Boston Bruins
Photo courtesy of nbcsports.com

Fantasy Summary

Smart, smooth-skating, stay-at-home defenseman. Will have more value for his actual team than for your fantasy hockey club.


Attributes
Fantasy Upside 4.5
NHL Certainty 8.5
Country FIN
Position D
Roster Type System
Shoot/Glove Left
Date of Birth January 1, 1999
Height 6‘1”
Weight 185 lbs
Drafted 2017 Round 1; Overall: 18

Observations

January 2019 – Vaakanainen managed four points (all assists) through seven games while serving as an alternate captain for gold medal-winning Finland at the WJC. The tournament served as the young defenseman’s platform to return from injury, and he did not disappoint. He logged significant ice time for the Finns, showing poise and good puck movement each game. With Boston getting back many of their injured defensemen, Vaakanainen should return to Providence for the remainder of the season as he works to improve his pro game on North American ice. Chris Mazza

 

October 2018 – Vaakanainen was called up to the Bruins as an injury replacement for a weakened blueline (Oct. 20). He has been praised by both the AHL and NHL coaching staff for his defensive abilities, and as such may have been the logical choice as a low-risk, short-term injury replacement. The young Finn has made a seamless transition to the AHL, demonstrating the key elements of his defensive game that made him a first-round pick in 2017. Viewed by some as a lost cause offensively, he has fired an impressive 14 shots on goal in just six games, and should continue to work on adding an offensive element to his game once he returns to Providence. Chris Mazza

 

July 2018 – Urho increased his offensive production this year in the Liiga for SaiPa. He also led his club in plus-minus rating with plus-8. On June 13 he signed his three-year ELC with the Bruins. Boston’s staff are high on his defensive instincts and great skating ability. He needs to continue to develop his shot and offensive side of the game. He will spend next year playing for the Bruins farm club in Providence. Sid Osmond

June 2017 – Playing last season for Jyvaskyla of SM Liiga, Vaakanainen established himself as an elite stay-at-home defender with an NHL stride. He’s got the great hockey sense and plays to his strengths, his skating, his poise with the puck, and his defensive prowess. Vaakanainen was considered by many to be the most complete defensive defenseman coming into the draft. Vaakanainen excels on the penalty kill, the ability to shut down the rush play, and is generally not a liability with the puck. Vaakanainen hasn’t shown elite offensive skill at this point in his career, scoring only two goals and nine assists in 55 total games played last season. There are questions about whether Vaakanainen will be an offensive liability in the near term. Urho has a hard but inaccurate shot from the point but possesses good passing and decent on-ice vision.

Despite the knocks to his offensive game, the prevailing thought here is that the Bruins have acquired a solid defenseman with plenty of upside. Vaakanainen is a pick that makes a lot of sense for the Bruins who already have two great, young offensive defenders in Torey Krug and Charlie McAvoy. Mike Drover

June 2017 – Vaakanainen was in a holding pattern in 2015-16, but it wasn’t his fault. Thrown into the fire against men for 25 games in the Liiga, the 16-year-old played about 15 minutes per game but his game didn’t evolve because the level of competition was so much higher than he was used to. He totaled a goal and five assists in those 25 games and was minus-8. Against players his own age, he put up 13 points in 18 games and was plus-10. Vaakanainen spent most of this past season in the Liiga, registering six points in 41 games and plus-5. In 14 games of invaluable playoff experience with JYP, he had three assists. Speaking of invaluable experience, he enhanced his international resume with his first goal at the WJC.

Vaakanainen is a mature-beyond-his-years stay-at-home defender whose worth cannot be measured in goals and assists, although he does make a good first pass out of his zone and he’s a good passer generally. As much as the Bruins are eager to rebuild their back end, it wouldn’t be a surprise if they left the young Finn in Scandinavia for at least one more season. Mark Allan


Stats

 Season Team League GP G A TP PIM      Playoffs GP G A TP PIM 
 2011-2012 Jokipojat U16 Jr. C I-divisioona 1 0 0 0 2 | Playoffs 3 0 1 1 16 
  Finland Selects U13 QC Int PW 2 1 2 3 2 |          
 2012-2013 Jokipojat U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 5 4 2 6 0 |          
  Jokipojat U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 15 5 14 19 16 |          
  Jokipojat U18 Jr. B Mestis 13 3 9 12 52 |          
  Jokipojat U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 9 1 4 5 4 |          
 2013-2014 Blues U16 Jr. C SM-sarja Q 1 0 0 0 0 |          
  Blues U16 Jr. C SM-sarja 6 4 6 10 10 | Playoffs 1 0 0 0
  Blues U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 41 8 25 33 48 | Playoffs 5 0 3 3
 2014-2015 Blues U20 JCWC 5 1 0 1 6 |          
  Blues U18 Jr. B SM-sarja 0 0 0 0 0 | Playoffs 1 0 0 0
  Blues U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 30 4 8 12 34 | Playoffs 9 2 0 2
  Finland U17 WHC-17 6 0 1 1 2 |          
  Finland U17 EYOF 3 0 1 1 0 |          
  Finland U17 (all) International-Jr 19 1 6 7 10 |          
 2015-2016 Blues U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 18 2 11 13 8 | Playoffs 2 0 0 0
  Blues Liiga 25 1 5 6 8 |          
  Blues Champions HL 2 0 1 1 2 |          
  Finland U17 WHC-17 5 0 0 0 6 |          
  Finland U18 WJC-18 7 1 2 3 6 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 2 0 0 0 0 |          
 2016-2017 JYP Champions HL 5 0 1 1 4 |          
  JYP U20 Jr. A SM-liiga 1 0 0 0 0 |          
  JYP Liiga 41 2 4 6 12 | Playoffs 14 0 3 3
  JYP-Akatemia Mestis 3 0 1 1 29 |          
  Finland U18 WJC-18 5 3 3 6 2 |          
  Finland U18 (all) International-Jr 8 3 3 6 4 |          
  Finland U20 WJC-20 6 1 0 1 4 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 9 2 1 3 4 |          
  Finland U18 Hlinka Gretzky Cup 4 0 1 1 2 |          
 2017-2018 SaiPa Liiga 43 4 7 11 24 | Playoffs 9 0 1 1
  Finland U20 WJC-20 5 0 1 1 2 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr 13 0 2 2 26 |          
  Finland EHT 5 0 1 1 2 |          
  Finland (all) International 9 0 3 3 4 |          
 2018-2019 Boston Bruins NHL 2 0 0 0 0 |          
  Providence Bruins AHL 9 0 5 5 4 |          
  Finland U20 WJC-20 7 0 4 4 6 |          
  Finland U20 (all) International-Jr - - - - - |          

Highlights