Weight: 185 pounds
Date of birth: May 5, 1998. Helsinki, Finland
OHL Draft: Round 1, 45th overall, CHL Import Draft.
Prior to arriving in North America, Juolevi played Junior A hockey for Jokerit U-20 in Finland’s SM-liiga Jr A. He appeared in 44 games and notched 6 goals while adding 26 assists. He was voted the league’s top defenseman and was named the league’s top rookie. Surprisingly, or not, he appeared in 11 games for Jokerit the previous season as a 15 year old and contributed a goal and 3 assists.
Internationally, Juolevi has played for Finland’s under-16 and under-17 junior squads and has a combined total of 5 goals and 10 assists in 30 games. He also played for Finland at the 2014 Ivan Hlinka Memorial and in 4 games had an assist.
When you hear Juolevi’s name it is often compared to fellow countryman and former London Knights’ defender Olli Maatta. While there are similarities to their game, I would contend that Juolevi’s ceiling is higher than the Pittsburgh Penguins’ first round draft pick (22nd overall) from 2012.
Juolevi has good size with skating at an elite level. He’s a well rounded two way defenseman whose only weaknesses can be overcome simply by gaining more experience on North American ice. He has tremendous vision, and learning to make intelligent puck decisions as he gains experience. Early in the season, he would periodically make some bad decisions at the offensive blue line, but he has overcome that and learned to pick his spots.
Juolevi has a good shot from the point and is usually on target. He has a knack for getting it through traffic and uses a variety of shots, depending on the situation in front of him. His ability to quarterback the powerplay is excellent. His ability to make tape to tape passes even through coverage is bordering on elite.
Perhaps the biggest surprise may be Juolevi’s ability to make a stretch pass. Given his excellent vision and passing ability it shouldn’t be a shocker, but periodically he stretches the ice with a pass that leaves you scratching your head wondering how he was even able to get the puck through. He has the ability to skate the puck out of danger and I would like to see him use that ability more often.
While not a big hitter, Juolevi uses his size to separate the opposition from the puck. His skating allows him to close gaps quickly and he has a very active stick. He’ll battle along the boards for pucks and uses his hockey smarts along with his size to win battles. Shying away from physicality is not part of his game.
Juolevi is averaging 22:57 of even strength time on ice. He plays in every situation and with his powerplay and penalty killing time is at 30 plus minutes of time on ice per game. His 3 goals on 38 shots to date have him at an 8% shooting percentage.
Two characteristics you’ll find attached to Juolevi the most often are poise and calm. And he has those in abundance.