Extremely talented offensive winger who has been dealing with lots of injuries. Top-line upside but there’s a lot of risk with him as well. More of a playmaker but also owns a great wrist shot. High-end vision and hockey sense. Great speed with the puck.
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February 2020 – Contrary to what was expected, Simontaival hasn’t been a regular at the men’s level this season. But he has been dominant player in the junior league, scoring 22 goals and 52 points in 45 games. Most importantly, though, he has been focusing on his play without the puck to become a more well-rounded player. He has been frequently used on the penalty kill and protecting a lead which are not situations where you would normally expect to see a skill player like him. Becoming a more well-rounded player increases Simontaival’s chances of being a full-time player at the men’s level next season and also increases his chances of one day playing in the NHL. He has upside to become a top-line scoring star but even if he doesn’t reach that level, he can still become a middle-six offensive winger because of his improved all-around game. Jokke Nevalainen
July 2019 – Simontaival is one of the most talented offensive players in his draft class but he’s been dealing with a multitude of injuries over the past couple of years which has been affecting his consistency among other things. Simontaival has high-end vision and hockey sense which allow him to read and make plays at an elite level. He has great speed, and his hands are among the best in his draft class which allows him to make plays at top speed. He’s a great playmaker but also owns an excellent wrist shot which is both accurate and powerful. He isn’t afraid to battle for pucks despite his small frame (5-9, 179). Besides the injury concerns and size, the one negative part about his game is that he sometimes cheats for offense but hopefully that improves when he gets more pro experience. Simontaival spent half a season in junior and half a season at the pro level. Most of his pro games were in Mestis which is the second-highest level but he also played a few games at the top level in the Liiga. Despite facing a couple of injuries throughout the season, his counting stats at all levels were excellent considering his age, and he has a history of producing big numbers at the junior level. Simontaival also played at the U18 Worlds as an underager. He was coming back from an injury which clearly affected his play early on as he didn’t go hard into situations like he usually does. But late in the tournament, he showed what kind of a talent he is and put up some points there as well. Simontaival is expected to spend his draft season at the pro level, either in the Liiga or in Mestis. He could also push for a spot on Finland’s roster at the World Juniors. He is currently projected to be a first round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft but a strong season could push him to top ten territory. Jokke Nevalainen