Team: HIFK Helsinki (Finnish Liiga)
2020 Draft Prospect Ranking (Central Scouting): 3rd Among European Skaters
Over the years, the National Hockey League has seen its fair share of high-end Finnish talent. From Teemu Selanne, Saku and Mikko Koivu, Tuukka Rask, Jari Kurri, Mikko Rantanen, Patrik Laine, and Aleksander Barkov, the list goes on and on. “Finns” as they are often called, are known for their top-tier talent, two-way dominance, graceful skating, and high hockey-IQ.
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Another player who hopes to follow in the footsteps of his predecessors is Anton Lundell. Heading into this fall’s 2020 NHL Entry Draft, Lundell is an interesting prospect with a real chip on his shoulder. Let’s take a closer look at the super-Finn and find out what kind of impact he will have at the NHL level.
Anton Lundell is another product of the excellent Finnish youth development system. Born and raised in Espoo, Finland, Lundell stands at 6’1, 187 pounds. He has good size down the middle as a centerman and is just as effective without the puck as he is with it. The cream of the crop from Finland in this year’s draft, Lundell is an intelligent player with a real extensive toolkit.
He has the ability to beat defenders one-on-one and loves to drive play. He is a strong skater and is elite at using his body to protect the puck. Pro scouts have been impressed with what they have seen from Lundell over the past few seasons as he continues to further refine and improve his game.
In North America, where the game is quicker and time and space are of the essence, Lundell has the ability to make plays under pressure and create space for both himself and his linemates. He is a gifted passer and is able to find seams in crowded areas of the rink. This is a player who makes good decisions and can turn a game on its head at the drop of a hat. All in all, Lundell is an intriguing prospect with high upside ready to make his mark at the NHL level.
World Junior Presence
The annual World Junior Hockey Championships is the “cream of the crop” for junior players from around the world. Over the last 15 years, Finland has emerged as a hockey powerhouse at this very tournament. Luckily for Lundell, he’s had the privilege of participating in two of them in back to back seasons for Finland. Lundell caught the eye of the Finnish management team after scoring 19 points in 38 games last season with HIFK Helsinki. This season, however, saw him pop 10 goals and 28 points in 44 games played. Not too shabby for a teenager playing amongst men.
The 2019 World Juniors hosted in Vancouver and Victoria saw Lundell and the Finns win the Gold Medal. As a key member of the squad, Lundell scored four points in seven games as a 17-year-old. The 2020 rendition of the tournament saw Lundell appear in six games tallying a single goal. Although Lundell wasn’t at his best in the 2020 World Juniors, he gained valuable experience on the world stage. Lundell’s next chapter, however, is the world’s grandest stage, the National Hockey League.
As the top-ranked Finn at this year’s NHL Entry Draft, Lundell should go within the first 12 picks. Depending on what teams are looking for specifically, he may even creep into the top-10. He’s an impressive talent, with plenty of potential. In addition, Lundell has a real knack for the game and elite-level hockey sense. He’s aware of his surrounding on the ice and is more competitive than most give him credit for. That should place him in good stead around fully-grown men in the NHL.
For Lundell to make a real name for himself as a pro he will have to work on his skating, specifically his explosiveness and agility. In addition, he would greatly benefit from improving his scoring “touch” in and around the net. Once Lundell fully fills out as a player he will, without question, be a real treat to watch. He’ll be a fascinating player to keep tabs on as the hockey world awaits the draft in just a few short months.
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