FinnProspects

Prospect ranking 4 / 2019-20

Published 2020-05-22

1. (▶) Anton Lundell

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-10-03 / Espoo
Height 185 cm
Weight 83 kg
Team: HIFK

“Lundell plays a very smart and structured system-based game. He reads plays extremely well and always seems to be in the right position. He has enough offensive skill to become a top-six center but his biggest strength is obviously his strong two-way play. Skating is not great but his playing style doesn’t require him to be a great skater.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Lundell is an intelligent and mobile centerman who shines through his strong defensive abilities. He is reliable and thinks the game at high level. With that, Lundell is able to produce very solid offensive numbers and gain advantage against his opponents. Lundell’s transition game and shooting are also above average.” – Markus Suhonen

“The premier two-way center in this draft class. Boasts an elite brain and uses it to drive play in all three zones. Not the most agile skater but compensates for it well with his smarts.” – Lassi Alanen

“Lundell is a rarity. In the average draft year, there are no two-way centermen of his caliber. While it’s probable Lundell will never hit the PPG mark, every team in the NHL would want a player like him in their roster.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: picks 5-10

2. (1) Topi Niemelä

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-03-25 / Oulu
Height 182 cm
Weight 74 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Mobile, modern puck-moving defenceman who excels because of his smarts. Good skater with good acceleration and speed. Impressed with his defensive play against men. Upside might be limited, but projects as a very good all-around blueliner.” – Lassi Alanen

“Niemelä is all you need from a modern defenceman. Elite skating abilities, sees the game well, defends smartly. He won’t be an elite power-play QB, but any other task: Niemelä’s probably up to it.” – Miika Arponen

“Niemelä is a great skater and he plays a solid two-way game. He’s at his best when he has the puck on his stick. He makes great breakout passes but can also rush the puck up the ice. He makes smart decisions and can play in all situations. He doesn’t have elite upside but it’s pretty easy to see him becoming a middle-pair puck-mover at the NHL level.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Niemelä’s development has been rapid with one full Liiga season on his belt already. Niemelä embodies perfectly what a modern defenceman is. He is mobile and offensive defenceman who provides extra offence to his team every time he’s on the ice. Niemelä has all the qualities to be a solid quarterback in the Liiga and eventually in the NHL while not compromising the defensive side of the game.” – Markus Suhonen

Where we think he should be picked: late 1st, early 2nd round

3. (1) Roni Hirvonen

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-02-10 / Espoo
Height 176 cm
Weight 74 kg
Team: Ässät

“Hirvonen is a smooth skater who is pretty straightforward with his game. He attacks opponents and the net with confidence and skill. Hirvonen anticipates plays well and with that he’s strong and effective near the net.” – Markus Suhonen

“Undersized forward with great offensive tool kit. Flashes high-end playmaking skills. Developed to a more well-rounded player this season. Plays better as a center but lack of size and top-end speed might force him to the wing at the next level.” – Lassi Alanen

“Hirvonen’s biggest assets are definitely his smarts. He sees the ice as good as anyone and his puck-handling and passing abilities are almost on par with his hockey IQ. Needs a bit more physicality to be able to challenge for a spot in the NHL.” – Miika Arponen

“Hirvonen is a natural center but it’s hard to see him playing that position at the NHL level because of his size. He adjusted well to the men’s level and to playing wing this season. He has a good amount of offensive skill but it’s not elite level. He works hard on the ice and is capable of playing more of a supportive role. Skating is a bit concerning, especially with his size.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: first half of the 2nd round

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-01-11 / Tampere
Height 175 cm
Weight 81 kg
Team: Tappara

“Simontaival has the highest ceiling in this year’s Finnish draft class. His offensive potential is sky-high, and while his skating is barely above-average, it shouldn’t be an obstacle. A Martin St. Louis like lower-body strength certainly helps when playing against big opponents.” – Miika Arponen

“Simontaival is one of the most talented offensive players in this draft class. He’s a very dynamic offensive talent who can beat you in a number of different ways. He’s had a lot of injuries in the past but managed to stay healthy this season. He’s been known as a purely offensive player in the past but he improved his play without the puck a lot this season. His upside is very high but there’s definitely some risk as well.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Dual-threat winger who has the best shot out of all the draft-eligible Finns. Flashes high-end vision as well. Skill and talent are worthy of a first-round pick, but skating and smallish stature push him to early second round. High upside.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: first half of the 2nd round

5. (3) Roby Järventie

 
Position: left wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-08-08 / Tampere
Height 189 cm
Weight 84 kg
Team: Ilves

“Järventie is a natural goal-scorer. He can score from distance with his great shot but he can also finish plays near the blue paint. He’s a bit of a one-dimensional player at this point. His consistency is also a concern. When he’s playing at his best, he can look amazing. But at times, you can forget he’s even playing. But his combination of size, skating and skills is very intriguing.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Produced historically well in Mestis as a draft-eligible player. Big-bodied winger who can score from different positions and also make plays as a passer. Very young for this draft. Overall impact at even-strength is a bit of an issue, but considering his age and the upside he’s worthy of getting drafted in the mid second round range.” – Lassi Alanen

“Järventie excelled in Koovee tallying 23 goals and 38 points in 36 games. He is a big winger who has solid offensive abilities. Järventie has progressed well, and during the years he could provide secondary scoring in the NHL. He should work on his consistency to gain a big role with Ilves.” – Markus Suhonen

“When it comes to finishing, there are not many players in this draft class better than Järventie. His shot is both fast and accurate, and he can fire it from any position. Needs consistency and better overall game to be a gamechanger, but the potential is there.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: 2nd round

6. (6) Joni Jurmo

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-04-19 / Espoo
Height 193 cm
Weight 90 kg
Team: JYP

“The biggest riser among Finnish players on my board, Jurmo had a very good first season in the U20 league. 6-foot-4 defenceman who has excellent skating ability and skills to handle the puck well at high speeds. No other player on this list rushes the puck up the ice as well as Jurmo. Defensive game is still a work-in-progress.” – Lassi Alanen

“Loads of raw potential. The combination is his huge frame and excellent skating is very intriguing and could bring him a surprisingly early draft number. Could make a lot of fuzz next season when he’s set to debut in the top Finnish men’s league.” – Miika Arponen

“Jurmo is a puck-rushing defenseman with great size. He’s a great skater and he has good puck-skills. He needs to improve his decision-making with the puck because he often tries to force plays that aren’t available. He’s also not the most naturally gifted player in the offensive end. He needs a lot of improvement in his defensive game which is currently his biggest weakness. Using his big body more effectively could really help him in that regard.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: second half of the 2nd round

7. (2) Veeti Miettinen

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Left
Born: 2001-09-20 / Espoo
Height 175 cm
Weight 72 kg
Team: Kiekko-Espoo

“Miettinen is an offensive winger. He’s a very good goal-scorer who can beat goalies from distance. But he can also make plays which wasn’t as noticeable this season because he didn’t play on a good team. His play without the puck has been improving. Concerns are related to his lack of elite level skills and skating which would be preferable for a small player. But those parts are good enough to take a gamble on him somewhere in the second or third round.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Already too good for junior hockey but was forced to dominate in the U20 league to maintain NCAA eligibility. Excellent wrist shot combined with good wheels. Improved his two-way play this season.” – Lassi Alanen

“Miettinen’s puck-handling hockey IQ, passing skills and shot play are all already on a very high level. His skating is a bit of a concern for a player his size, but it hasn’t held him back yet in the juniors or in the international stage.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: late 2nd, early 3rd round

8. (1) Joel Blomqvist

 
Position: goalie
Catches: Left
Born: 2002-01-10 / Uusikaarlepyy
Height 186 cm
Weight 93 kg
Team: Kärpät

“The most exciting Finnish goalie prospect since Justus Annunen. Excellent track record in league play. Big, technical and athletic.” – Lassi Alanen

“Blomqvist has upside to become a starting goalie at the NHL level. He makes great reads and moves quickly. But like most young goalies, he’s still trying to find consistency to his game. At times, he allows soft goals that he definitely could have stopped. But he can also make saves that look almost impossible to make. Size is not a concern but it’s also not a strength.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“The biggest strength in Blomqvist’s game is that he doesn’t really have any weaknesses. Makes some junior-like mistakes at times, but the number of those can be expected to decline with time.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: late 2nd, early 3rd round

9. (2) Eemil Viro

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-04-03 / Vantaa
Height 182 cm
Weight 76 kg
Team: TPS

“Viro is a smart two-way defenseman who adjusted to the men’s level surprisingly well this season. He’s a great skater and he makes good decisions with the puck. He’s a good puck-mover but he doesn’t have high-end offensive skills. He can play a pretty reliable defensive game because of his hockey smarts but isn’t a defensive stud by any means.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A highly competitive player. Very athletic defenceman with good gap control, active stick and decent puck-handling skills. The lack of elite attributes holds him back of being higher on this list.” – Miika Arponen

“Performed well in Liiga after getting called up from the U20 team in late October. Good skater, competent defensively and can engage physically. Offensive skill is a bit of a question mark but showed some flashes later in the season.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: first half of the 3rd round

10. (▶) Oliver Suni

 
Position: right wing
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-02-13 / Kempele
Height 188 cm
Weight 85 kg
Team: Oshawa Generals (OHL)

“Had a solid first season in the OHL. Solid skater, good individual skill level and playmaking ability. Not particularly great in any single area but if everything goes right, could turn into a competent top-9 winger in the NHL.” – Lassi Alanen

“Suni is a big-bodied winger with good offensive skills. He plays a very pro-like game which translates well to higher levels. He’s not able to create a lot of offense on his own which limits his offensive upside. But it’s pretty easy to see him becoming a third line complementary winger at the NHL level.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A big body, decent skating, above-average hockey IQ, good puck-handling skills. Lacks the high-end attributes but is on track to be a solid secondary scorer on pro level.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: first half of the 3rd round

11. (5) Kasper Puutio

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-06-03 / Vaasa
Height 183 cm
Weight 84 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Puutio split the season between Swift Current Broncos and Everett Silvertips. In terms of scoring, Puutio got much more comfortable in Everett than in Swift Current. His skating and passing are his strongest weapons. He is agile and balanced defender with a solid offensive output. His vision and playmaking abilities are also good but he could improve his decision-making.” – Markus Suhonen

“Former first overall pick in the CHL Import Draft, Puutio had an up-and-down season in the WHL. He’s a very good, mobile skater and can contribute on the power play. Excellent rush defender. Needs to improve his decision-making.” – Lassi Alanen

“Before the season started, Puutio was generally considered the best Finnish defenseman in this age group. But he had a very difficult season which has lowered his stock and allowed a few others to pass him. But he’s too talented to be ignored entirely despite his struggles. He has NHL level tools but he needs to put it all together.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: late 3rd, early 4th round

12. (3) Ruben Rafkin

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-01-08 / Turku
Height 182 cm
Weight 86 kg
Team: TPS

“Started the year hot in the OHL but cooled off as the season progressed. Sound skater who flashes very nice speed going forwards. Physically mature and not afraid to punish forwards along the boards. Needs to become a lot more consistent at both ends of the ice.” – Lassi Alanen

“Rafkin is a reliable two-way defenseman who can play in all situations. His skating is good. He’s not a big player but he plays a surprisingly good physical game. He’s a good puck-mover and has a strong shot. He competes for every puck and never gives up on a situation.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Rafkin is very strong physically and can use his body and strength to his advantage in the board battles and in front of the net. He can also hit hard and has a very heavy shot. His puck-skills and skating are OK for a player of his profile – a physical two-way defenceman.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: late 3rd, early 4th round

13. (▶) Juuso Mäenpää

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-04-29 / Helsinki
Height 169 cm
Weight 64 kg
Team: KalPa

“Mäenpää is a very skilled playmaking center. The problem is that he’s very small, so he won’t be a center at the NHL level. He’s an excellent passer with very good creativity. His on-ice effort level is very good, and he’s a great skater. If he can figure out ways to consistently make plays from the wing and improve his shot, he has a chance to make it to the NHL. But there’s a very real chance of him becoming a star player for the European leagues instead.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“Had a very productive first season in the U20 league and rightfully won the Rookie of the Year award. High-end skater with very good speed and playmaking skills. Very much a long-term project due to his size but has upside.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: late 4th, 5th round

14. (1) Christoffer Sedoff

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-02-20 / Helsinki
Height 185 cm
Weight 86 kg
Team: Red Deer Rebels (WHL)

“A prototype of a modern bottom-pair defensive defenceman. He can be trusted on any situation and copes well with even the speediest opponents with his good skating abilities. While he doesn’t have the high-end offensive abilities, he can produce offensively every once in a while as well.” – Miika Arponen

“Played in a big role with the Red Deers Rebels in his first WHL season. Mobile defenceman with good defensive awareness and physical tools. Needs to improve offensively and should have probably produced more given his role and ice time.” – Lassi Alanen

“Sedoff is a smart and reliable two-way defenseman. He doesn’t have any high-end qualities which limits his upside but he could become a trusted bottom-pair defenseman who moves the puck effectively while playing a reliable defensive game.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: late 4th, 5th round

15. (NEW) Ville Ottavainen

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2002-08-12 / Oulu
Height 193 cm
Weight 91 kg
Team: Kärpät

“Had a very difficult season in the OHL. Pretty good defensively and has intriguing physical tools. Has shown offensive abilities in the past.” – Lassi Alanen

“Ottavainen has great size but he struggles with consistency and hasn’t shown to have any high-end abilities. He had a good start to the season but then struggled a lot in the second half. He has potential to become a bottom-pair defenseman but finding consistency is key for him. ” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: 5th, 6th round

16. (2) Joel Määttä

 
Position: center
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-07-06 / Helsinki
Height 188 cm
Weight 87 kg
Team: Sioux City Musketeers (USHL)

“A sizable center with solid two-way skills. Määttä has never been and probably will never be a big scorer, but he has potential to become a good bottom-six two-way center with penalty kill duties.” – Miika Arponen

“Solid first season in the USHL. Pretty good without the puck, good physical tools. Skating needs a lot of work.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: 5th, 6th round

17. (NEW) Karri Aho

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-09-06 / Tampere
Height 186 cm
Weight 81 kg
Team: Ilves

“Performed well in the U20 league and earned himself a cup of coffee in Mestis as of result. Smooth skater, solid stickhandler, deceptive wrist shot from the point. Needs to refine his overall game and decision-making.” – Lassi Alanen

“Aho is a reliable two-way defenseman. He’s a good skater and a pretty good puck-mover but he doesn’t have any high-end offensive abilities. He’s shown good defensive awareness at times but struggles with consistency there. Eventually, he could become a bottom-pair defenseman.”  – Jokke Nevalainen

“One of the youngest players in this draft class, Aho played a good season in the Finnish U20 league and had some solid showings in the 2nd-tier pro league Mestis as well. Aho is a raw talent with lots of room to improve in many areas.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

18. (NEW) Axel Rindell

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Right
Born: 2000-04-23 / Espoo
Height 182 cm
Weight 80 kg
Team: Jukurit

“The highest ranked overager this year on our list. Rindell is an effective puck-moving defenceman with good hands and high offensive awareness. He is a work in progress especially on the defensive end.” – Miika Arponen

“Had a breakout year in Liiga in his draft-plus-two season, leading the league in points among all U21 defencemen. Plays with a lot confidence and has a very nice pair of hands. Runs a power play very well and is a major shooting threat from the point. Lots of work to do on the defensive side of things.” – Lassi Alanen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

19. (NEW) Rami Määttä

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-04-03 / Oulu
Height 179 cm
Weight 77 kg
Team: Ässät

“Very promising first season in the U20 league, playing big minutes on Ässät’s top pairing. One of the smartest players in the entire list, Määttä’s defensive game is very refined for his age and his decision-making with the puck is at a very high level. Offensive upside is a bit of a question mark and he’s not a particularly fast skater for his size.” – Lassi Alanen

“Määttä is small and not the most talented offensive player but he’s shown he can be a great support player when paired with a high-end guy. He plays a smart and reliable two-way game. Because of his size, he relies on positioning and active stick defensively. Offensively, he can make good, simple passes in every zone. Eventually, he could become a bottom-pair defenseman.” – Jokke Nevalainen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds

20. (NEW) Matias Rajaniemi

 
Position: defenceman
Shoots: Left
Born: 2002-09-11 / Lahti
Height 190 cm
Weight 83 kg
Team: Pelicans

“Rajaniemi is a big defensive defenseman who skates surprisingly well for his size. He’s not the most skilled player with the puck but he’s managed to play on the power play at the junior level, and he’s capable of making good, simple passes. His adjustment to the men’s level went very smoothly. He could become a defensive bottom-pair defenseman.” – Jokke Nevalainen

“A towering defender with good physical tools, big reach and good skating for his size. Offensively his repertoire is very limited, but he can play the simple game and not be a liability with the puck.” – Miika Arponen

Where we think he should be picked: last two rounds