Photo Credit: Claus Andersen/Getty Images
By Scott Rosenhek
We have been expecting this to happen, but it is official. Olli Juolevi was granted permission from the London Knights to play in Finland this year. The 19-year-old defenceman will be joining 2017 Canucks draft pick Petrus Palmu on TPS Turku.
One of the notable members of the team’s coaching staff is former Canuck, Sami Salo. The Finnish blue liner was here in the summer during the Canucks prospect camp.
This is the best thing that could happen for Juolevi. It looked like his play was stagnating in the CHL and he wasn’t good enough to play on an NHL roster yet. Juolevi will get to learn from an excellent defenceman and play against men in the best league in Finland.
The ice is larger in Finland, but there are hybrid rinks that closer in size to NHL ice. I don’t think the smaller ice will affect Juolevi when returns next year, but we will have to wait and see.
It will be exciting to follow Juolevi’s progress in Europe as it feeds into the World Junior Championships. This is the time for Juolevi to take the next step and cut through the noise around a disappointing training camp.