When it comes to composure, Vilen is a man in a teenager’s body. You would never guess his age just by watching how he conducts himself on a shift-by-shift basis. He doesn’t seem to panic or get phased by anything, and goes about his business in a very assured and workmanlike way. When he faces…
|Mar 4/21||Vilen Topias||21760 – Pelicans vs. JYP||LIIGA||by Derek Neumeier||View Report|
When it comes to composure, Vilen is a man in a teenager’s body. You would never guess his age just by watching how he conducts himself on a shift-by-shift basis. He doesn’t seem to panic or get phased by anything, and goes about his business in a very assured and workmanlike way. When he faces pressure he shows the ability to absorb it and find ways to alleviate it. Displays a very advanced understanding of how to defend, encompassing what to do with his body, where he needs to go, and what he needs to do. It’s not perfect, but it’s very good for a player this age at this level. Looks right at home on the penalty kill. Despite the positives to his game, there are some unfortunate and easily noticeable drawbacks. The first is that you’d like to see Vilen be a little bigger and stronger for an off-puck specialist, so that he is more capable of forcing changes in possession. He’s not scrawny or weak or anything, but he seems average in this area. The second issue is that his feet leave a lot to be desired. He’s neither quick nor agile at the moment, hurting his ability to gain separation in a straight line or move well laterally. This also hurts his zone exits a lot, as he has to rely a lot on passing it out instead of carrying it out himself, reducing his options. His skating issues also limit his ability to be involved in the rush. A little more creativity and dynamism would be nice to see. He’s a little predictable and by-the-book with how he goes about his business. This could be a problem at the NHL level, where he would have to defend against guys who think the sport at an elite level. There’s a very safe floor and foundation with Vilen, which should make him an interesting project as a draft pick in the middle rounds.