Prospect Ramblings: Thoughts About European Prospects (Oct 7)

Jokke Nevalainen

2019-10-07

 

Here are some of my thoughts about 20+ European prospects that I’ve been watching lately.

 

When I wrote the Deep Dive of Anton Lundell (2020), he was stuck on HIFK’s third line. Since then, he’s been promoted to the top line and he’s been one of the best players on the team. Things are right on track for him to become a top five pick next summer. Lundell will be a top player for Finland at the World Juniors, and I’m confident he’ll be NHL ready next season.

 

Finland has never produced a first overall draft pick. Russia has three. The Czechs and Swedes have two. Even Switzerland has one. Finland has zero. That could very well change in 2021. Center Aatu Räty (2021) has been the front-runner for first overall in the 2021 NHL Draft for about a year now – pretty much since he was first promoted to the U20 league. Less than a year from that, Räty has already made his debut in the Liiga, and he has four points in his first four games. At age 16.

 

Räty has all the tools to become an excellent number one center in the NHL. He has very good size already now, and he will add more muscle to his frame. He’s an excellent skater who drives the play and dictates the pace even at the men’s level. He has a great shot and excellent hands. His defensive play is the only weakness in his game right now but that’s only because he’s playing against men at such a young age – his defensive play is actually good when he’s playing against his peers. Räty will be a top player for Finland at the U18 Worlds but even before that, he could represent the country at the U20 World Juniors.

 

Goalie Justus Annunen (COL) is playing his rookie season in the Liiga, and he’s had an amazing start so far. The 19-year-old Finn is battling for starts on the Kärpät team with 25-year-old Czech Patrik