On December 14, it was announced that Calgary Flames prospect Topi Rönni had been named to Finland’s 2023 IIHF World Junior Championship roster. Rönni had previously represented Finland internationally at the U18 World Championships.
With the Calgary Flames holding the 59th overall pick inside the second round of the 2022 NHL Draft, general manager Brad Treliving selected the centreman. Rönni, a native of Hausjärvi, Finland weighed in at 6’2″ and 179 lbs back in July at the time of the draft and has come into this calendar season with a slightly bigger frame, clocking in at 6’2″ and 181 lbs.
The main upsides to his skillset, as noted by scouts at the time of his selection in July, were his “very good” stick skills and on-ice vision, which allow him to create a lot of chances inside the offensive zone and be able to run a power play, albeit at the junior level.
He isn’t seen to be flashy with the puck and scouts believe that there is a chance that his primary play-driving ability won’t necessarily translate to the professional level, but Rönni’s competitive level is seen to be strong enough in the eyes of scouts. He uses his size to win battles and he is reliable defensively (a common trend between our 2021 and 2022 2nd round picks). Ultimately in terms of weakness in his skillset, his skating ability seems to be noted as the potential one area that could hold him back.
After a brief five-point, two-game stint as a part of Tappara’s U20 program, Rönni has since dressed in 10 games with Tappara’s big club, a Finnish professional ice hockey team playing in the Liiga. Through 10 games dressed on the year thus far, he’s notched a goal and an assist.
Rönni is essentially labelled as a supportive player; mechanically seen as someone who’s able to provide timely passing options to his teammates, with the bread and butter of that element being objectively prevalent in transition. Technically, Rönni seems to be great at drawing low arcs in the defensive zone, in order to help his defencemen break the puck out up the ice and create rush plays. He is lastly, also noted to be a quick puck-handler in transition.
Finland’s WJC schedule
Finland will be competing inside Group B at the tournament starting this Boxing Day, alongside the United States, Switzerland, Slovakia and Latvia. They have already played one pre-tournament game against the United States thus far, which resulted in a 5–2 loss on December 19. Their second pre-tournament matchup will be against Canada on December 23. Puck drop for that one at 4:30 pm MST.
Finland’s group stage schedule:
December 26th vs Switzerland, 9:00 am MST
December 27th vs Slovakia, 9:00 am MST
December 29th vs Latvia, 9:00 am MST
December 31st vs the United States, 2:00 pm MST
Photo by Martin Rulsch, Wikimedia Commons