If you take a look at the Arizona Coyotes' prospect pool, you might be forgiven for thinking IceArizona bought the London Knights instead of the Springfield Falcons.
Former Knights Max Domi and Christian Dvorak headline an excellent looking pool of forward prospects, along with 2013 6th round choice Brendan Burke (now with the Ducks' organization) and Scottsdale, Arizona native Matthew Tkachuk.
Yet the Coyotes may end up adding one more Knight to the Arizona hockey family this summer. Let's take a look at why defenseman Olli Juolevi generates so much excitement among the Coyotes faithful.
Olli Juolevi - Defenseman - London Knights (OHL)
2015-16 Stats - 57 GP - 9 G, 33 A, 16 PIMs
Going into this season, Jakob Chychrun was considered the best defenseman available in the draft. Yet in his stellar rookie season with the Knights, Juolevi has rocketed up the draft boards to the Top 10.
After starting his development in Finland, Juolevi really turned heads with an excellent performance at the World Junior Championship, as the backbone of a defensive corps that carried the Finns to the Gold Medal.
It's easy to see why. Juolevi is a smooth skater with a powerful shot and a keen sense of where to be on both ends of the ice. He's at home on defense, and can jump into the play on offense. His light touch and ability to fire off a quick wrister mid-stride should remind Coyotes fans quite a bit of Oliver Ekman-Larsson.
Juolevi's fit in Arizona is clear. Apart from Ekman-Larsson, the Coyotes are in dire need of two-way defensemen. Michael Stone has provided some offense on the power play, but is generally less sound in his own end. Connor Murphy has been good for stretches, but needs to prove he can be a consistent top four defenseman.
Even if Juolevi didn't quite reach the talent levels of OEL, some of the other names that come up when evaluating his ceiling include Anaheim's Hampus Lindholm and Pittsburgh's Olli Maatta. Both of those guys are staples on their teams' respective blue-lines.
Ultimately, Juolevi is young, and at 183 pounds, is about 20 pounds under OEL's weight. Yet Juolevi is a tantalizingly good prospect with two-way potential that could very well be worth the wait. Should he be available at #7 for the Coyotes, he will be tough for Arizona to pass up.