The age of the two-way center is in a funny place right now. Many are divided over what exactly the proper definition of a “two-way center” is nowadays. Are they necessary in today’s game? Do they really provide that much value? Otto Makinen may be looking to forge his own path and show that he can be reliable middle six center on a NHL team. Can he change a team’s mind?
Makinen is the thirteenth ranked European skater according to the NHL CS rankings.
While not playing in a full fledged men’s league just yet, Makinen was still able to show his defensive prowess at one of the highest Finnish levels. He has a solid offensive game, it isn’t necessarily flashy but it gets the job done. Defensively, he looks to be a prototypical third line center in the NHL. He has size and some okay skating, that will help his development out. The problem with his high NHL CS Ranking is many team’s may reach for a player that will only top out as a third line center. Most organizations are trying to shoot for the moon and land a superstar, not a player that projects to have a middling career.
The Eye Test
Ryan Kennedy of the Hockey News had this to say about Makinen:
“Makinen is the type of smart player you want on your team. A two-way center who always makes the right play and works on the defensive end, the kid is always involved with the play.”
Chris Dilks of SB Nation agrees with my assessment of Makinen:
“Makinen’s ceiling is likely as a third or fourth liner, but he could be very effective in that role. He won’t make a lot of highlight reel plays, but he’s just a solid, honest hockey player that does a lot of the little things to be effective when he’s out on the ice.”
Does he fit in with the Red Wings?
On a team already chock full of middling centers, do they really need another to muddy the waters? His offensive potential isn’t high enough for a team to risk picking him in the first two rounds. His high ranking may have him high on some team’s radars but they would need to temper expectations if selected that early. In a draft filled with great European skaters, Makinen doesn’t stand out and that may be a problem on draft day. Are the Red Wings going to be willing to take the plunge?