2024 NHL Draft Prospect Profile: Konsta Helenius

Photo Credit: INTERNATIONAL ICE HOCKEY FEDERATION (IIHF)

The Scouting Report:

While it is widely predicted that Macklin Celebrini will emerge as the top choice in the forthcoming 2024 NHL Draft, Konsta Helenius is a player who may see some buzz leading into the draft. Noteworthy for his stellar performance in his debut full season in Finland’s top league, Helenius currently serves as a Finnish professional ice hockey forward for Mikkelin Jukurit in the Liiga, on loan from Tappara. Helenius is skilled, quick, and comes with a highly competitive level of play. In 51 regular-season games, he scored 14 goals and provided 22 assists, totaling 36 points. Additionally, he accumulated six more points in six playoff matches.

During the 2024 WJC, he contributed two points (one goal, one assist) in seven games while playing in a middle-six position for fourth-place Finland. Despite a less-than-ideal performance at the IIHF Ice Hockey U18 World Championship for both Helenius and the Finnish team, Helenius was later chosen for the senior men’s World Championship team. Joining a select group, including USA’s Jack Hughes in 2018-19 and Kevin Fiala for Switzerland in 2013-14, Helenius is now part of a rare group of players who competed in the U-18, U-20, and the senior men’s World Championship all within the same year.

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Draft Projections

Ranked #13 by Inside The Rink

Ranked #7 by TSN/Craig Button

Ranked #14 by Sportsnet (Bukala)

Ranked #3 by NHL Central Scouting (EU)

Ranked #12 by DAILY FACEOFF

Karen Zehner of Inside The Rink has Konsta Helenius projected at 13th overall.

I’ve highlighted some of Konsta Helenius’s attributes, let’s take a deeper dive into his attributes and areas for improvement.

Diving Deeper:

Shooting Potential

An asset frequently underestimated in his skill set is his shooting prowess. While not reaching the same level of proficiency as his passing abilities, his shots display a remarkable blend of strength and accuracy. Delivered with finesse and a touch of deception, his shooting style may lack the sheer speed of renowned sharpshooters such as Celebrini, but it remains highly effective at surprising opposing goalkeepers. His ability to seamlessly blend passing and shooting in similar scenarios makes him a challenging and unpredictable force for both goalkeepers and defenders to deal with.

Solid, Versatile Player

Helenius demonstrates consistent movement toward the net, adept positioning, and skillful engagement with opponents who often surpass him in age and size. This proficiency not only amplifies his impact on the team but also establishes him as a formidable offensive threat irrespective of his designated position. Helenius’ versatile playing style distinguishes him as a prominent offensive prospect in the draft.

“Amazing hockey player. Great team player. He can carry this team,” Kiviharju says of Helenius. “He needs every one of us but as you probably saw today he’s able to make a lot of great things (happen) on the ice with and without the puck.”

Aron Kiviharju, teammate on Team Finland

Hockey IQ

He demonstrates exceptional intelligence on the ice, surpassing many of his peers in particular with his performance across various game aspects, whether it be with defensive maneuvers or transitional plays. Helenius has learned how to best exploit gaps in the offensive zone and execute precise passes to create scoring opportunities for his teammates. When engaging in forechecking, he displays a keen sense of when to apply pressure and when to hold back, exhibiting proficiency in both offensive and defensive roles. This versatility enables him to seamlessly transition from defense to offense through diligent backchecking and defensive reliability.

On-Ice Abilities:

Helenius stands out as a formidable player due to his exceptional skating abilities. His skating prowess is distinguished by his explosiveness and solid foundation. Notably, he exhibits a remarkable initial burst and boasts one of the league’s top accelerations. Mechanically, his technique is fluid and he has excellent edge work. These attributes enable him to maximize his exceptional work ethic, allowing him to traverse the ice purposefully and efficiently.

While his maximum speed may not be the highest, yet, he remains able to cover significant ground on the ice. This attribute is pivotal for his success as a player renowned for his comprehensive game. Moreover, this speed variation capability enhances his transitional play, enabling him to alter the tempo of the game and to better capitalize on opponents’ vulnerabilities. This represents a potent asset that will only become more formidable as he refines his skating technique and attains a higher maximum speed.

Prospect Potential:

Competing against Team Finland in the IIHF U18 Men’s World Tournament on home ground gave this athlete a chance to demonstrate his abilities. However, he managed to only secure 7 assists, totaling 7 points. Despite the tournament not going Finland’s or Helenius’ way, he played a crucial role in keeping Finland competitive in a tournament pool filled with talented teams such as Team Canada and Team USA.

Helenius consistently demonstrates his skill in catching opposing goalkeepers off guard. The smooth coordination between passing and shooting in similar scenarios makes him a formidable and unpredictable threat, posing a significant challenge for both goalkeepers and defenders alike.

Best Potential Fit:

Helenius offers a compelling prospect to any team, particularly if his adaptability thrives at the professional tier or if he continues to excel in his gameplay. On the other hand, he could potentially bring great value to a team like the Minnesota Wild. His skill set could complement Joel Eriksson Ek’s, making him a strong addition to the Wild if they have the opportunity to acquire him. I personally believe that placing him on a team with experienced veterans who can help refine his already remarkable skill set from the outset would be beneficial, especially for a team hungry for a Stanley Cup run.

Final Thoughts

Helenius has a game that NHL-ready, with any remaining areas for improvement unlikely to hinder his professional development significantly. Although his shot is impressive, a slight boost in power may be needed. His passing skills meet or exceed most NHL standards, and with the guidance of a coach who nurtures his offensive flair, Helenius is set to have an immediate impact on any team that selects him. It’s probable that Konsta Helenius will be selected early in the draft, possibly sooner than many have anticipated. The question remains whether he will choose to complete a final season in Liiga or jump straight into the NHL.

We Got The Jack Inside The Rink

In episode 8 of the Inside The Rink podcast, Matty and Smitty are joined by new co-host Conrad Jack. After the long hiatus, we get back to hockey with a PACKED episode!Matt Rempe & the Devils vs. Rangers Line BrawlCould the Vancouver Canucks squander a playoff opportunity? Have the Winnipeg Jets finally figured out their lines?Flyers Head Coach John Tortorella is a sound byte MACHINEOvechkin is on his way to 895, Who is next?McDavid joins elite company with 100 Assists in a seasonRyan Hartman was suspended 3 Games, was it worth 3 games??Can Auston Matthews hit 70 Goals this season?The Eastern Conference Wild Card race is heating up, who lands the two playoff berths?For all of your hockey news and more from the show, visit us at insidetherink.com and watch us on YouTube! How to support us and our sponsors:TicketmasterColumbia Sports ApparelESPN+ SubscriptionFanaticsDraft Kings – CODE ITR
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Karen Zehner

Credentialed Beat Writer covering the ECHL Atlanta Gladiators. Diving into the world of slap shots, penalty kills, and the game we love. [@RunwithK] on socials.

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