If you have been away from Canes and Coffee for a couple days, today’s article on Finnish prospect Eetu Luostarinen is actually the third of three from Finland. Check out also the ‘Back to School’ articles on fellow Fins Eetu Makiniemi and Ville Rasanen.


Today’s entry in the ‘Back to School’ series, Eetu Luostarinen, completes the set of 2017 draftees from Finland with a forward to go with a defenseman and goalie.


Eetu Luostarinen

Selected in the second round of the 2017 NHL draft, Eetu Luostarinen follows an interesting and promising lineage of Finnish forwards selected in the second round. First was Sebastian Aho in 2015, and next was Janne Kuokkanen in 2016. Luostarinen is of course his own man, but he does bring some of the same playmaking and hockey sense possessed by his fellow countrymen. He was a rapid riser during his draft year going from off many charts up into the second round. In 2016-17, he split his time between U20 and men’s professional hockey in Finland and finished with three goals and four assists in 32 games at the higher level. He has already started his 2017-18 with KalPa in the SM-Liiga in Finland.


Interview with Carolina Hurricanes Robert Kron, Head European Scout for the Carolina Hurricanes

About the interviewee

Robert Kron is the Head European Scout for the Carolina Hurricanes. Robert’s Hurricanes history dates back to the 1997-98 season when he was part of the inaugural Hurricanes team. In addition to three years with the Carolina Hurricanes, Robert’s NHL career spanned 12 seasons including three with the Carolina Hurricanes. In 771 games in the NHL, he scored 144 goals and collected 338 points.


Interview on Hurricanes prospect Eetu Luostarinen

Canes and Coffee: How would you describe Eetu Luostarinen’s style of play, skill set and development as a player so far? What abilities make him an NHL prospect?

Robert Kron: Eetu is a what I like to call skilled power forward that can play all forward positions. I prefer him as a center because of his strong two-way play. Eeetu has a good size, good hockey sense and handles the puck very well. He can shoot the puck or create plays. He also plays a two-way physical game.


Canes and Coffee: What areas must Eetu Luostarinen improve upon to become an NHL player in the future?

Robert Kron: Eetu needs to work on his leg and overall strength as does every player this age and learn what it takes to be a professional hockey player on and off the ice.


Canes and Coffee: What would you hope to see Eetu Luostarinen accomplish in 2017-18 to take the next step toward one day playing in the NHL?

Robert Kron: Eetu is off to a very good start playing second line center for Kalpa in Finnish Liiga scoring a goal and an assist in the first game of the Champions league. He also is being coached by former Cane Sami Kapanen, and I believe it is a great advantage for a young player to have someone like Sami to coach, teach and help him in his development. If he can establish himself as a regular second line center and contribute offensively that would be very good.


Interview with Marco Bombino from FinnProspects

About the interviewee

Marco Bombino (Twitter=@marco_bombino) is a Finnish prospect analyst for McKeen’s Hockey and FinnProspects. He also has his own website finnishjuniorhockey.com that provides information on Finnish prospects playing in juniors and at the pro level. He has previously worked for Future Considerations, Over The Boards and Dobber Prospects.


Interview on Hurricanes prospect Eetu Luostarinen

Canes and Coffee: Eetu Luostarinen rose from mostly off the radar before the start of the 2016-17 season all the way up to the first half of the second round in the 2017 NHL Draft. Can you please describe his 2016-17 season and what helped him rise up in the Hurricanes draft rankings?

Marco Bombino: I thought Luostarinen made a seamless transition to the Liiga from the juniors. It has to be remembered that he played in the U18 league in Spring 2016, however, he looked really solid against men. He received more ice time as the past season progressed and really made most of it, especially in the playoffs. Also, he was a standout for the Finnish U19 national team in three games against Czech Republic in November 2016.  


Canes and Coffee: For Hurricanes fans who are just getting up to speed on Eetu Luostarinen, can you please briefly describe his abilities, style of play, accomplishments and development so far.

Marco Bombino: Luostarinen has a high hockey IQ and very good puck skills. He’s an effective puck distributor and can maneuver with the puck in tight spaces. He is also a defensively reliable center with good speed who he could develop into a really strong skater. He demonstrates a lot of confidence on the ice and contributes at both ends of the rink.


Canes and Coffee: With Luostarinen being the third consecutive draft that the Hurricanes selected a Finnish center in the second round (Sebastian Aho in 2015 and Janne Kuokkanen in 2016), are there any similarities in Luostarinen’s game compared to Aho or Kuokkanen?  

Marco Bombino: I think the main similarity between Aho and Luostarinen is that both are considerably smart players who use this strength to be strong on both sides of the puck.


Canes and Coffee: What are Eetu Luostarinen’s strengths as a player that make him a top NHL prospect? What areas of his game will need to improve for him to make it to the NHL?

Marco Bombino: Luostarinen has impressive technical skills and understands the game very well. Combine this with his strong skating mechanics and overall skill set and you have an intriguing center prospect. Like a lot of young players, he must add extra muscle into his frame before hitting the NHL ice. He will also need to improve his face-off abilities going forward.  


Canes and Coffee: What are expectations for Eetu Luostarinen for the 2017-18 season?

Marco Bombino: Luostarinen will have an extended role with KalPa this season and his point totals could definitely improve by a large margin, especially if he receives power play time. It is expected that KalPa could give a chance on the first line to either Luostarinen or Montreal second-round pick Joni Ikonen at least at the start of the season. Luostarinen will also have a good chance to make the Finnish World Juniors team in Buffalo.


For additional reading on Eetu Luostarinen, please check out Canes and Coffee’s ‘reading list’ of external articles compiled after the Hurricanes selected Luostarinen at the 2017 NHL Draft.

Canes and Coffee would like to extend a huge thank you to Robert Kron from the Carolina Hurricanes and Marco Bombino from FinnProspects for generously sharing their insight on Hurricanes prospect Eetu Luostarinen!


Go Canes!

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