Before the Pokka: Friday's Draft Party.
The second round is underway at the 2012 NHL Draft and the New York Islanders added their third defenseman in the last 24 hours by drafting Finnish defenseman Ville Pokka with the #34 pick. This comes after Friday night's addition of veteran blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky via trade from the Anaheim Ducks, and big prospect Griffin Reinhart with the 4th overall pick.
When playing with his age group, Pokka is seen as a good puck distributor and decision-maker, impressing at the World Junior Championship and U18 Championships. He earned promotion to Karpat's senior team in SM-liiga though understandably hasn't racked up offense in 35 games while, in the parlance of our times, "playing with men."
Pokka shoots right and is listed at 6'0", 198 lbs. McKeen's calls Pokka "a low-maintenance player who does many things well, but thrives on the offensive side of the game. His ability to execute a first pass is among the best in this year's crop of defensemen."
For weaknesses, McKeen's says defensively his pivots can be a handicap but that he has several qualities that could make him an NHL defenseman. TSN's Craig Button also cites Pokka's ability to smartly jump into the play offensively while saying he'll need to improve his defensive quickness.
Note: Our 2nd-day NHL Draft open thread continues here.