The Calgary Flames did not have a first-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft. As a result, there was lots of talk about either moving up into the first round or trading down to acquire more picks. However, the Calgary Flames used their first selection in the draft to select Topi Ronni 59th overall. So, who is Topi Ronni, and what kind of player is he? Let’s take a look.
Ronni’s strengths and weaknesses
Ronni is a centre who has some size. At 6’1″ and 176 pounds, Ronni is looked at as two-way forward who also has a bit of a power forward aspect to his game as well. One of Ronni’s biggest strengths is his defensive play. He is a player who has excellent defensive awareness and seems to consistently be in a good position to backcheck.
Additionally, Ronni is great at using his size to his advantage when protecting the puck. When doing this, Ronni is able to maintain possession, and he can then set up teammates to create plays. Ronni’s playmaking is one of his offensive strengths, as the centre is able to play with patience. Take a look at the below clip to see the vision Ronni has.
Areas to improve for Ronni would be with puck battles, and offensive areas like shooting and puck handling. However, Ronni’s size should be able to help him get better at winning puck battles. If Ronni wants to translate that size to help himself develop more of an offensive power forward style to his game as well, his shooting and puck handling should get better over time as well.
Ronni’s on-ice results
When looking at Ronni’s stats, the difference in the two leagues he played in last year is clear. At the U20 league, Ronni was basically too good for it, as he practically produced at a point-per-game pace. However, once he started to see Liiga action, the top Finnish league, it would be more than fair to say that his production doesn’t really jump off the page.
Despite this, it almost certain that Ronni will have a bigger role in Liiga next season, and as a result, he should show up a lot more on the scoresheet.
Ronni’s next steps
It’s pretty simple for Ronni. Stay in Liiga, and develop his game. Ronni may be a talented defensive player, however, there are areas in his game, especially on the offensive side, that can be improved. Additionally, there is no rush for him to get into the NHL right now, this will be a developmental project for the Flames.
Ronni’s ceiling seems to be a second or third line centre who would serve in a shutdown role but can also occasionally contribute to the offensive end of the ice. Can he end up being like a Mikael Backlund down the road for the Flames? Only time will tell.
Photo by Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons