There are some good defensemen ready for the NHL Draft

Makar is ranked the highest

Paul Hamilton
June 21, 2017 - 2:37 pm

Buffalo, NY (WGR 550) - Sabres GM Jason Botterill has said that he won't draft for position this weekend, but I'm still going to focus on the top defensemen.

Cale Makar is rated 9th been Central Scouting, but I would doubt he'd still be there when Buffalo drafts in the 8th spot. Makar is a slick skating, offensive minded defenseman who put up 75 points in 54 games this season in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. We all know the kid can play offense, but how is he in his own end? Makar said, “Personally I’m telling myself I think in the defensive area, there’s a few flaws in my game, but at the end of the day, I don’t think anything is going to hold me back from playing at the NHL level.”

The Hockey News has Juuso Valimaki ranked 18th overall. He has spent the last two seasons playing for Tri-City of the Western Hockey League. This season the Finnish defenseman had 19 goals and 42 assists for 61 points in 60 games.

Being from Finland, Valimaki has not only met Rasmus Ristolainen, he's actually roomed with him, “Yes, I lived with him. It went really good, he's my best friend and an amazing person and player and he helped me a lot with my game.”

“It was nice to hang around at home and watch NHL playoff games and stuff. It was also nice to have somebody to talk to, he helped with my English and all that stuff.”

The numbers tell us that Valimaki is good with the puck, but he's also considered a solid two-way player. He said, “I'm trying to be like Victor Hedman, I really enjoy watching him and I think he's a great player, so I want to be like him.”

Valimaki was in Buffalo for the NHL Scouting Combine. He said he talked to every team in the league except for Minnesota and Dallas.

With Ristolainen here it only makes sense that the D-man would like to join him, but he's not going to get picky, “I would be honored to go to any team. I want to go to a team that believes in me and wants me to be part of their futures.”

Miro Heikanen is another defenseman from Finland. The smooth skating D-man is ranked right after Makar by the Hockey News at number 6. This past season he played pro in his home country for HIFK. 

Timothy Liljegren is ranked 15th by the Hockey News. His ranking dropped as the season went on. 

Join me and Pat Malacaro live from Chicago on Friday at 7:00. Brian Koziol has our NHL Draft coverage anchored from in studio. 

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