This is the first part of the series on the newest members of the Anaheim Ducks, the 2013 draftees. I’m going to start with their last pick and go from there. So, to start off, I’ll begin with Finnish center Miro Aaltonen, like you couldn’t figure out he was Finnish from his name.
The Anaheim Ducks selected center Miro Aaltonen from the Espoo Blues (SM-liiga) in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. The 20-year-old is from Joensuu, Finland and is listed at 5’10″-168 lbs. The third time’s a charm for Aaltonen as he has been draft eligible since 2011, but was not selected until the Ducks took him this year. Both his father and his grandfather played hockey in Finland, but Miro is the only one to reach the highest professional league in Finland. He got his first taste of SM-liiga two years ago when he played in 26 games for the Blues, registering a goal and an assist. This year he became a mainstay in the SM-liiga, playing 32 games for the Blues and tallying 11 goals and 5 assists for 16 points. He was named to the Finnish National Junior Team and played in the World Junior Championships this year, but only played in one game and then suffered a broken ankle injury and he missed the rest of the tournament as well as the rest of the season for the Blues. In the one game he did play for Team Finland, he scored 2 goals and got an assist as well. He returned form injury to play for the Blues’ junior team in the playoffs and showed a full recovery. He’ll return to Espoo next season to continue his development.
Weight: 168 lbs.
“Miro is a very good playmaking centerman, though a little undersized. He was good in his under-18 year and he has gained some muscle mass. He played pro in Finland last year, but didn’t play as much, and this year the top picks for Espoo got some power play time. He played two outstanding games leading up to the world juniors and was one of the best players on the ice for those two games. He started that tournament on fire and had two goals and an assist in the first game, but towards the end of that game he ended up breaking his ankle. He didn’t play again until he came back for the finals of his junior team’s playoffs. He played well and showed he’s recovered from the injury. I spoke to the assistant GM there, and they’re really excited about the future for him. He’ll play a top six role again in Espoo and be part of the power play and penalty kill.”
- Martin Madden, Director of Amateur Scouting, Anaheim Ducks
“A fairly small forward, Aaltonen can play as a center or in the left wing. He is a goal-scorer with good puckhandling and creativity. He also has very good playmaking-ability and is a useful assett on the man-advantage. Aaltonen skates well and has decent top-speed. He works hard but lacks physicality and needs to add plenty of strength. The 2012/2013 season was an important one for Aaltonen who took a big step forward in the summer and started to get on the board regularily in the SM-liiga. However, he missed a great part of the 2nd half of the season after breaking his ankle at the World Junior Championships.”
- EliteProspects.com (Matias Strozyk, 2013)
Next up is forward Grant Besse.