Steve Kournianos | 2/2/2020 | Nashville |
Height / Weight: 6’1, 185 lbs
Born: October 3rd, 2001 | Espoo, Finland
The Draft Analyst Ranking:
|2017-18||HIFK U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)||22||8||12||20||6||+2||0.91|
|2017-18||Finland (U18 WC)||7||2||4||6||2||+1||0.86|
|2017-18||Finland (U17 WHC)||5||3||4||7||0||—||1.40|
|2018-19||HIFK U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga)||10||6||9||15||6||+11||1.50|
|2018-19||Finland (U20 WJC)||7||1||3||4||0||E||0.57|
|2018-19||Finland (U18 WC)||5||2||2||4||6||+3||0.80|
|2018-19||Finland (U18 Hlinka)||4||1||1||2||16||—||0.50|
A solid 200-foot center with a deadly wrist shot who his holding his own in Finland’s elite SM-Liiga, Lundell is the top Finnish prospect for the 2020 draft. He has been a notable presence for HIFK in each of the last two years, and he has been receiving a regular shift for the better part of his two full SM-Liiga seasons. In fact, Lundell has played under 10 minutes in only one of his 67 career games, and that dates back to last October. Unlike most first-year draft eligible playing in European men’s leagues, Lundell has never dealt with the uncertainty of being benched or demoted, which is a testament to his skill set, work ethic, and consistency.
Lundell has the makings of an excellent top-six center at the NHL level. He is constantly involved in the play in one form or another and he uses his size, strength, reach, and sound positioning to overwhelm the toughest of Finnish league veterans. Although he isn’t physically intimidating or a punishing hitter, Lundell definitely plays a North-South game predicted on tenacity on the puck and making plays in traffic. It’s always good to see a defensively-responsible center like Lundell attack the middle of the ice with controlled aggression and make snap decisions to exploit gaps in coverage. Thus, opposing defenders seem to afford him far too much room at their line, and Lundell is more than willing to advance into space and whistle a wrister on net.
Lundell is a slightly hunched yet powerful skater with a long, clean stride and outstanding balance. He can power through checks at the line while maintaining control or slow down his pace to allow support to catch up. Either way, he’s going to dominate the puck, and opponents have all kinds of issues trying to wrestle possession away from him. Lundell’s first step is quick for a center his size, but it’s his anticipation and reading of plays that gives him a needed head start if a quicker opponent is marking him. His above-average agility is more noticeable in tight spaces than it is in open ice, and Lundell is poised enough to cut back or delay under pressure with his back to the boards.
Several aspects of Lundell’s games makes him an asset in the defensive zone. For starters, he’s very good on faceoffs (52.8 % through Feb. 1) is the way he stays within his coverage zone and not leave the middle of the ice open. He is more than willing to support in board battles and cover the low slot of his defensemen, but he also patrols the danger areas with vigilance and proper communication. Because of this, Lundell picks off a fair amount of passes and quickly transitions the other way.
Offensively, Lundell’s elite shot definitely makes him more of a shooter than a passer. His average of 3.7 shots per game (106 shots in 29 games) is high considering he averages just over 15 minutes. Passing-wise, only four of his assists (not including faceoffs) were passes of the primary variety during 5-on-5, but he’s been able to equally distribute his point production between 5-on-5 (11) and the power play and 3-on-3 combined (9). His vision is generally sound and the delivery of his passes are clean, but most of the chances he generates are off the cycle and created within short distances.
He sees a fair amount of time on the power play, but his deployment in SM-Liiga play differs from international competition. Lundell will run possessions from the half wall for Team Finland and look to tee up one-timers from the right circle. With HIFK, however, Lundell is more of a net-front or slot presence, and he always faces the puck with his stick blade on the ice. Lundell also owns a soft set of hands. He has excellent coordination and skate-to-stick quickness, and wobbling pucks won’t stop him from hitting his spots when near the net.
#SMLiiga: C Anton Lundell (Ranked No. 13) with a bullet for his fourth goal after recording an assist earlier in HIFK's 4-1 win over JyP. Lundell now has 4g and 3a in 13 games, and three points in his last two matches after being held off the scoresheet the previous six. pic.twitter.com/tfjp2YRJ3A
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) October 25, 2019