Joakim Kemell could become the first Finland-born player in the past three years to be chosen among the top 10 picks in the NHL Draft.
Kemell (5-foot-10, 185 pounds), who had 23 points (15 goals, eight assists) in 39 games this season with JYP in Liiga, the top professional league in Finland, sustained a shoulder injury in October that kept him in and out of the lineup for 2 1/2 months, but is No. 2 in NHL Central Scouting’s final ranking of International skaters.
“When healthy, Kemell is a highly skilled playmaker with acceleration and speed,” said Goran Stubb, NHL director of European Scouting. “He can use his smooth hands and passing abilities to move the puck through traffic.”
Kemell said he felt like himself when he resumed playing Jan. 29.
“When I came back [the second time] I felt like I’m back 100 percent, shoulder is OK, does not hurt anymore, “said Kemell, who turned 18 on April 27.” I got my skating and shot back. I can rip it like normal. “
His 15 goals with JYP are the most by a 17-year-old player in Liiga since Kaapo Kakko scored 22 in 45 games for TPS in 2018-19.
“It would be amazing if I could play in the NHL next year, but I guess for my development it’s better that I play one more year with JYP,” Kemell said.
Kakko was the last Finland-born player selected among the top 10 picks when he went No. 2 to the New York Rangers in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Here are NHL.com’s top 10 right wings available for the 2022 NHL Draft:
1. Joakim Kemell, JYP (FIN)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 2 (International skaters)
Kemell is a highly skilled playmaker capable of weaving his way through traffic and playing an effective two-way game. He certainly picked up where he left off prior to his shoulder injury at the 2022 IIHF World Under-18 Championship, leading third-place Finland in goals (six), power-play goals (three) and game-winning goals (two), and tying for the lead in points (eight). He had a hat trick, including the winner 28 seconds into overtime, on a breakaway, to give Finland a 6-5 win against Canada in the quarterfinal tournament April 28.
2. Jonathan LekkerimakiDjurgarden (SWE)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 6 (International skaters)
Lekkerimaki (5-10, 171), who missed a month of the season with mononucleosis, is a pure shooter who plays a two-way game with good hands and explosiveness. The 17-year-old led all skaters at the U-18 Worlds with 15 points and 10 assists for first place Sweden and had nine points (seven goals, two assists) in 26 games with Djurgarden of the Swedish Hockey League, the top professional men’s league in Sweden.
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3. Jimmy SnuggerudUSA U-18 (NTDP)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 11 (North American skaters)
Snuggerud (6-1, 188) made big strides in his skating this season and has exhibited the tools needed to become a scoring wing in a top-six role at the next level. He was tied for sixth on the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team with 63 points (24 goals, 39 assists) and was second with seven power-play goals in 59 games. The 18-year-old, who is committed to the University of Minnesota in 2022-23, had seven points (three goals, four assists) and one power-play goal in six games to help the United States finish second at the U- 18 Worlds.
4. Danila YurovMagnitogorsk (RUS)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 7 (International skaters)
A smart, hard-working two-way forward with good vision and compete in all three zones. Yurov (6-1, 178) had no points in 21 games with Magnitogorsk in the Continental Hockey League to begin the season but finished with 36 points (13 goals, 23 assists) in 23 games in Russian junior league. The 18-year-old can win loose pucks and is physically strong but not overly aggressive, since he’s considered a finesse-type player.
5. Jagger FirkusMoose Jaw (WHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 12 (North American skaters)
Firkus (5-10, 151), who displays good vision, deceptive speed and creativity, made a big jump from No. 33 on NHL Central Scouting’s midterm ranking in January after finishing 14th in the Western Hockey League with 80 points (36 goals, 44 assists) in 66 regular-season games, and led Moose Jaw with 12 power-play goals and seven game-winning goals . He also had 12 points (six goals, six assists) in 10 WHL playoff games. The 18-year-old, who can play center or wing, had a goal and an assist and was named player of the game for Team White at the CHL / NHL Top Prospects Game in Kitchener, Ontario, on March 23.
6. Rutger McGroartyUSA U-18 (NTDP)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 22 (North American skaters)
McGroarty (6-1, 204), committed to the University of Michigan in 2022-23, had a goal and an assist and was named MVP of the BioSteel All-American Game on Jan. 17. The 18-year-old was fourth on the NTDP U-18 team with 69 points (35 goals, 34 assists) and was third with six power-play goals in 54 games. The left-handed shot, who is competitive and smart and plays a power-forward game, led the United States with eight goals and had nine points and 34 shots on goal in six games at the U-18 Worlds.
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7. Filip MesarPoprad (SVK)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 20 (International skaters)
Mesar has a willingness to shoot and track pucks despite his small frame (5-9, 174). The 18-year-old had 16 points (eight goals, eight assists) in 37 games with Poprad in Slovakia’s top professional men’s league. He had four points (three goals, one assist) in six playoff games by getting to the front of the net and finding ways to create offense. Mesar played two games for Slovakia in the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship before the tournament was postponed Dec. 29 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus.
8. Kirill DolzhenkovCSKA 2 (RUS-JR)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 22 (International skaters)
The left-hand shot, an imposing presence on the ice with his size (6-6, 234), had 28 points (14 goals, 14 assists) in 33 games with Krasnaya Armiya Moscow in Russian minor hockey league. The 18-year-old, who had eight points (three goals, five assists) in 19 MHL playoff games, plays with a winning attitude, possesses strong character, and plays an honest two-way game.
9. Jani NymanKoovee (FIN-2)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 24 (International skaters)
Nyman (6-4, 217) had 35 points (18 goals, 17 assists) in 34 games on loan with Koovee in Mestis, Finland’s second division. He had one assist in 10 games with Ilves in Liiga, where he’s expected to be a regular next season. The 17-year-old had four points (two goals, two assists) and 18 shots on goal in six games for third-place Finland at the U-18 Worlds. He’s considered a power forward with good offensive instincts and solid in 1-on-1 battles. He’s at his best when playing a straight-forward game, moving to the net.
10. Nicholas MoldenhauerChicago (USHL)
NHL Central Scouting: No. 39 (North American skaters)
Despite missing almost three months due to a non-COVID-19 related illness and then a skate cut, Moldenhauer (5-10, 170) played 41 games and was named to the United States Hockey League All-Rookie Second Team after leading all first -year players with an average of 1.05 points per game (minimum two games played). He tied for fifth among USHL rookies in goals (18) and was seventh in points (43). He had 10 power-play points (four goals, six assists) and finished with points in 11 of his last 14 regular-season games (24 points; nine goals, 15 assists). He plays with pace, has a high compete and a good short passing game.
Photo: Jiri Halttunen, JYP (Finland)
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