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Top 25U25: Young Finnish defenseman Robin Salo is #24

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Finnish defenseman Robin Salo took a massive step back this season, but still has lots of talent and time to rebound.

2017 NHL Draft - Rounds 2-7
No relation to Tommy Salo.
Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Robin Salo was a sleeper pick for some in the 2017 NHL Draft, given that he compared favorably in certain aspects of his game to the third overall pick from the same draft, Miro Heiskanen. Both were playing in SM-Liiga, Finland’s professional league, and looked like strong players despite largely playing with men, rather than in a junior hockey setting.

However, unlike Heiskanen, Salo took a major step back this season. After a season where he had a goal and 15 assists in 54 games in his draft year, he managed only 5 assists in 43 games this year and was sent down to Finland’s non-elite league, where he had 0 points in 2 games.

Jenny Spizzwolf Noel Fogelman Travis Flynn CIL Mike B LHH HockeyGoalieEh garik16 Dominik Steve
19 24 18 20 25 23 22 - 21 22 24

At the Blue and White scrimmage at Islanders prospect camp, Salo had a multi-point night, showing that he clearly has some tools to be better than the average prospect. At only 19 years old, Salo has time before he’ll make the jump over to the US, if he decides to do so, and staying in Finland for now will help him work on his game and get the minutes he’ll need rather than competing on a crowded Bridgeport blue line.

His disappointing season in the Liiga won’t win him many fans, but there’s still plenty of time to improve. Salo will have to adjust his game and will hopefully have a bounce back season in 2018-19 in Finland. He’ll be with a different team and that might be the fresh opportunity Salo needs.

Rationales

CIL:

There's not a lot of data to go on with Robin Salo, but what is available doesn't impress much. It's difficult to view a prospect playing in Europe, but the scouting reports seem to indicate he has potential, if nothing else. Add Salo's name to the list of fleet-footed puck-moving LD.

Previously

#25: Solid defenseman Kyle Burroughs

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