Eemil Viro was a third round pick by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2020 NHL Draft and he’s already been signed to his entry-level contract. What does Steve Yzerman and the organization see in the young Finnish defenseman? Here’s a look in another installment of a prospect deep dive.
Games played: 53
Team Finland U-20
Games played: 7
Left Shot Defenseman
Eemil Viro has already taken major steps in his draft + one year. In his draft year, Viro had just made the transition from the Finnish juniors to the pros, playing with TPS in Liiga. In 29 games, he managed just three assists. However, in a larger role with the organization this past season, Viro has already stepped up his production. In 53 games, he nabbed four goals and ten assists.
Viro is a highly skilled defenseman, which adds to an already impressive pipeline. He’s a fantastic skater with crafty hands and fantastic vision. He’s not afraid to join the rush, using his acceleration to blitz past defenders. Viro also has great vision, always watching for forwards with open lanes or teammates that have joined him on the rush/on transition.
However, Viro has struggled a to put the tools together to create production on offense, although he certainly took a step forward this year. The tools are there for sure, it’s just a matter of knowing when to use them. His hockey IQ is not necessarily a problem, but an improvement could make his offense (And defensive) go from good to excellent.
Like most mobile skaters, Viro is fantastic at stopping rushes/clean zone entries. He won’t let a forward in without a fight, cutting off offensive lanes by reaching the correct positions immediately. If Viro adds some strength to his frame and physicality to his game, he could become a real threat on the blue line.
Viro is on loan again to TPS in Liiga next season. His progression this year will key key in factoring when he’ll arrive on Detroit’s main roster; if he stagnates or regresses, he’s probably in for another year in Europe. However, if Viro takes the kind of step forward he did last season, he’ll almost certainly make his way to North America.
Viro doesn’t have the talent of Moritz Seider or Lucas Raymond, so the chance of him leapfrogging the AHL straight to Detroit is slim; he’d have to have a monster season. His first North American games will probably be in Grand Rapids with the Griffins. But with the raw talent that Viro possesses, there’s a chance he makes Detroit’s roster as soon as 2022.