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2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings: #10 Topi Rönni

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Photo credit:Sergei Belski-USA TODAY Sports
Jeff Middleton
7 months ago
Some of the best players are the ones that don’t do a ton of fancy stuff with the puck, and if there’s one player to fit that archetype, it’s Topi Rönni. He was the Calgary Flames’ top selection in the 2022 NHL Draft (even though he was drafted in the second round).
Rönni checks in at 10th on the 2023 FlamesNation prospect rankings. (He was 13th in 2022.)
Topi Rönni
Left-shot centre
Born May 5, 2004 (19 years old) in Hausjärvi, Finland
6’2″, 185 lbs
Drafted in the second round (59th overall) by Calgary in 2022
Rönni has worked his way up through the Finnish ranks since 2018-19, when he started playing for the Tappara U16 team in the U16 SM-sarja Q and in the U16 SM-Sarja league as a 15 year old kid. On both of those teams, he scored over a point per game. In the SM-sarja Q, he played 27 games, scored 11 goals and tallied 21 assists for a total of 32 points. In the SM-Sarja, he scored 8 goals and 8 assists for 16 points in 15 total games. He even helped during the Tappara U16’s team SM-Sarja postseason, scoring over a point per game as well with seven in six games.
In 2019-20, Rönni played for both Tappara’s U16 and U18 teams, with most of his contests coming on the U18 squad. He was a point per game at the U16 level with four points in four games, but his production at the U18 level was what drew people’s attention. Unfortunately, he didn’t score at a point per game, but he did manage to score 24 points in 36 games. At this point with age, that’s a very impressive output. He also played 15 international games for Finland’s U16 team and scored 10 points (only two of those points were goals).
In 2020-21 Rönni only played in one league, and it was higher competition than the previous ones he had played in: the U20 SM-Sarja. And again, he did not disappoint. In 39 games, he scored a total of 26 points despite not hitting the 10-goal mark. He also played two postseason games for the team but didn’t register any points in that couple of appearances. The next year (2021-22), Rönni was back in the U20 league, and his scoring took a big boost. He did play nine fewer games, but he was one point away from being a point per game, hit 11 goals, and registered two assists over the course of two postseason games.
Playing extremely well in the U20 league wasn’t the only feat that the young Finnish forward accomplished that year. He also played a total of 20 games in the Finnish Liiga, the highest professional league in the country. He played 19 for Tappara and also appeared in one for HPK on a loan. He only scored four points (all with Tappara), but making that many appearances as an 18-year-old is an impressive feat. Rönni also played six games with the Finnish U18 World Junior Championship team, where he scored four points, and he was almost a point per game in all of the Finnish international tournaments that he played in, scoring 20 points in 21 total games.
Last season is where the problems may come for those who know Rönni’s development path in-depth. We know that Rönni likely won’t be the most effective offensive player in the NHL if or when he makes it to the show. However, there have been some concerns with his production at the professional level in Finland.
Rönni played in the U20 league and scored over a point per game there with 10 points in 7 games, so that’s not an issue. We know that he can succeed at that level. But it was in Liiga that he struggled. He played three more games than the previous year and scored only one more point and the same number of goals. He also didn’t score any goals or register any points with Finland’s U-20 World Junior team.

Expectations for 2023-24

Rönni is going to be playing 2023-24 with the Tappara team in Liiga after signing a one-year extension with the club. He’s also still eligible to play in some international competitions over the course of the season, which gives him a chance at redemption in the World Juniors.
The hope is that Rönni’s offensive production can take a leap at the professional level because as of right now, it isn’t anything to be impressed with. Of course, he’s still only 19 years old, and his production in the U20 leagues has been very good. But seeing him take that next step at the highest level of Finnish hockey (which is no joke) would be a huge step for him and the future of his career with the Flames. If his playstyle can evolve and reflect in the stats at the highest level, he should be able to find success in America. We know that he’s a strong player. We’ve seen the kind of things he can do in the Flames’ development camp among other places. But taking the next step over a sizable sample is the next step and what fans should be expecting in 2023-24.

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