Prospect Ramblings: ELC Deals: Lundell & Tkachyov

Dave Hall

2021-06-08

Courtesy of LitterBoxCats.com

Welcome back to Tuesday’s Prospect Ramblings.

While a handful of teams are enjoying the second round of their battle towards becoming Stanley Cup Champions, the remaining outliers are making moves to try and build their own contender. While trades are suspended until the end of the postseason, there is one transaction that can go on – entry-level deals.

This is the window that we begin to see some of the league’s most intriguing youngsters take that crucial steps towards becoming NHL stars, putting pen to paper on their rights. Some are fresh off of a World Championship showcase, while others have been off for months, prepping for their next step. Here are a few intriguing players to sign away their rights this week that caught my eye.

Anton Lundell, Panthers – Three-year, $925,000

Make no mistake about it, this is big news for the franchise. In fact, I personally consider this to be the trailblazer with regards to recently signed NHL-ready prospects.

If you spent any time watching his game this season; whether it be against men in Liiga action, teenagers at the WJC, or a mix of both at the recent World Championships – you know that his game is ready to transition into the NHL.

He is coming off an extremely hectic, yet, equally fruitful year. The spotlight was shining on him to kick off the 2020-21 season, as many of his draft-eligible peers were unable to participate in gameplay, making him a “must watch” attraction. As if he was not already. 

At the ripe age of 18 (he turned 19 in October), Lundell was gifted with an “A” on his chest, a sentiment that shows his maturity as both a player and a human being. Could you imagine having a locker room presence amongst men as a teenager? He began his sophomore season taking on a heavier load, seeing minutes in almost every situation imaginable. He was their go-to guy.

Come draft day, he would end up slipping to the Panthers at the number 12 spot. While many projections had him falling in-and-around this area, hindsight is in full effect, and I can guarantee that there are some GMs tossing and turning watching him develop. All signs point towards him being a major difference-maker.

Since his selection, he has suited up for Team Finland on two occasions, earning hardware in both. It began over the holidays at the WJC, which was his first major opportunity to “stick it to” the hockey world, showcasing all of the reasons why he should have been a shoo-in for a top-10 selection. He contributed a team-leading 10 points as captain, taking home a Bronze Medal in the process.

From there, he returned to HIFK Helsinki, where he ran into some minor injury trouble. To top it off, the league shut down for some time due to Covid-19 complications, stretching out the final weeks of the season by a healthy margin. He would end up playing just four games in the months between Jan