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#9 Vili Saarijarvi
Pos: D
D.O.B.: 5/15/97
From: Rovaniemi, Fin
Height: 5'10
Weight: 165
Shoots: Right
Drafted: 2015 draft 3rd rnd, 73rd overall by Detroit (NHL)
Acquired: Signed 3 yr contract with Detroit (NHL) 7/3/15
Personal:
Plus: offensively creative... Mobile puck carrier... Powerplay quarterback... High energy, motor never quits, plays with high pace...
Minus: Undersized for an NHL defender... Needs to get stronger... Has been a bit injury prone partially due to small frame... Defensive game needs work...
Organizational Comments: Wings Asst GM Ryan Martin "The complete package - size, strength, competitiveness, hockey sense and skill, There's not really one thing that he doesn't do very well. I think his skating's got to maybe come a little bit. It's not bad by any means but I think it wil come with strength. He's committed. This kid is a character kid. Hockey means everything to him and his family. He was just too good for us to pass up."
What GRC says: Fall 2017 One of the rookie blueliners looking to take a regular shift on the Griffins blueline, Saarijarvi is an undersized offensive powerhouse who never stops moving, playing with incredible pace. He also uses his smarts to play a solid defensive game, using good positioning and skating to make up for his lack of stature. The gifted freshman has been a standout at every level he has played, and should pile up points on the Griffins powerplay.
2017-18 The diminutive speedster was not able to secure a permanent spot in the lineup over the second half and seemed have a hard time playing with the same fire he had earlier in the season. While he still showed good vision in the offensive zone and played with pace, he was inconsistent and at times tried to force the play, causing some glaring defensive lapses and turnovers. He showed some moxie on the powerplay, but needs to get stronger and will have to step up his defensive play to make an impact next season.
Role: Offensive Defenseman
Projection: 3-4 defender

Statistics:

Transactions
7/3/15 Signed 3 yr contract with Detroit (NHL)
3/24/16 Reassigned from Flint (OHL)
3/28/16 Assigned to Toledo (ECHL)
4/11/16 Recalled from Toledo (ECHL)
5/17/17 Reassigned by Detroit (NHL) from Mississauga (OHL)
5/28/17 Reassigned by Detroit (NHL) to Mississauga (OHL)
10/1/17 Assigned by Detroit (NHL)
10/10/17 Assigned to Toledo (ECHL)
10/25/18 Recalled from Toledo (ECHL)
11/20/18 Assigned to Toledo (ECHL)
12/6/18 Recalled from Toledo (ECHL)