PITTSBURGH, PA - JUNE 23: Mikko Vainonen, 118th overall pick by the Nashville Predators, poses for a portrait during Day Two of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft at Consol Energy Center on June 23, 2012 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
It took a while, but the Nashville Predators finally drafted a defenseman, choosing Finnish blueliner Mikko Vainonen at #118. Highly ranked among European skaters, he's a 6'3" 205 pound defender at age 18, so perhaps there's still room to grow.
Hockey Prospectus offer this:
Vainonen is not a really gifted from an offensive standpoint as he won't be the kind of player who makes a seeing eye pass coming out of his own end, or leads a rush up the ice, but he's a solid, mobile defender who will deliver on some lower-tier value. Vainonen has good size at about 6'3" and over 200 lbs, he uses his frame well and as displayed by his weight, he has a decent amount of muscle and strength for a player his age. Vainonen is also pretty mobile for a big defender, showing average to solid-average speed and four-way movements that is quite good for a player his size. He closes his gaps well, is smart with his positioning and stickwork, and overall has the build of an effective defensive defenseman. That being said, Vainonen has a little bit of touch with the puck, but it's more being able to make basic maneuvers or the odd move as opposed to above-average skill. I also don't see Vainonen as anything beyond a basic puck mover.
Watch him in action, big #4: