MLive’s Ansar Khan posted a profile of Red Wings prospect Otto Kivenmaki, suggesting that the 5’8,” 154-pound forward will have some sizeable challenges in overcoming his small stature as he aims for the NHL:
Kivenmaki, 19, is among four Red Wings prospects at this week’s World Junior Showcase at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth. He is hoping to make Finland’s World Junior team.
“He definitely has natural smarts, he’s got natural ability and for him it’s just going to be, can he be strong enough, can he develop a strong enough core and lower body to able to protect the puck in traffic?” Shawn Horcoff, the Red Wings’ director of player development, said. “Can he develop his legs to get enough speed to get up in the play? I think he’s come a long way since last year. We drafted him at 140 pounds or 145 pounds. He’s put some work in this summer. He’s got a long ways to go, but he really finished the season well. He’s definitely a project and is going to take some time.”
The added weight has helped Kivenmaki protect the puck better.
“I noticed this summer when we had training with my team in Pori that just being in the corners, I wouldn’t fall so easily,” Kivenmaki said. “Obviously, I need to get bigger. I still don’t weigh much compared to the other guys, so there’s still improvement.”