Thoughts about Anton Lundell, Ville Heinola, Lassi Thomson, Patrik Puistola, Michal Teply, Mikko Kokkonen, Lenni Killinen, Antti Saarela, Matias Maccelli, Veeti Miettinen, Valentin Nussbaumer, and many others…
The 2019-2020 scouting season officially started for me on Monday when I went to Vierumäki for a short U20 level tournament. The tournament included teams from Switzerland and Czech Republic, and also two teams from Finland. Finland made their final roster decisions for the World Junior Summer Showcase (WJSS) based on this tournament. Here are my thoughts on some of the players who played there.
Team Finland (A squad)
Finland’s A squad won both their games, first beating Switzerland 8-1 and then the Czechs 6-5. So scoring goals didn’t seem to be much of an issue for the top team even though they were playing without center Rasmus Kupari who is busy with the Kings.
Even though he only had one point (a goal), make no mistake about it – this is Anton Lundell’s team. He’s the youngest player on the team but without Kupari, he’s the only returning forward from the team that won gold at the World Juniors last year. Lundell made a lot of high-end plays both offensively and defensively, and that strong two-way game is really his calling card and the reason he’s projected to become a top five pick in the 2020 NHL Draft.
“He’s done his job very well, we’re very pleased with his play”, said Finland’s head coach Raimo Helminen about Lundell. “I’m doing everything I can to make sure our team wins. I think I’ve given my best in these games and played at a good level”, Lundell said.
Lundell was Finland’s top center in the Vierumäki tournament and will continue to hold that role at the WJSS as well, so I asked him what kind of pressure that creates: “No pressure, it’s only a good thing. Everything has to be earned. I’ll try to show in every game that I belong there, and that I can play at a good level, play in a big role and lead the team.”
I’ll share more quotes from my Lundell interview when I write a Deep Dive article about him later this season. If you’re not yet familiar with him, click on his name to go to his player profile.
Another top forward for the Finns will be winger Patrik Puistola (CAR) who had a great tournament as well, scoring thr