– Anton Lundell –
HIFK (Liiga) | C/LW | 2020 NHL Draft Eligible
Espoo, Finland | 6-foot-1, 185-pounds | October 3rd, 2001
Unquestionably the top Finnish-born prospect eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft, Anton Lundell is a versatile centre-man who can do seemingly everything well each and every time he takes to the ice. With great size, Lundell is a force who is hard to handle in the offensive zone — moreover, he plays a responsible two-way game and can be counted upon to produce or defend regardless of the situation on the ice.
However, at the end of the day Lundell’s calling card is his offensive prowess, as the native of Espoo, Finland features lightning-quick hands, impeccable vision and an extremely high level of on-ice intelligence and awareness. Whether he be attacking on the rush or anchored in front of his opposition’s goal, Lundell has the skill set necessary to excel in multiple situations and, as a result, stands as one of the top prospects eligible for the 2020 NHL Draft.
With this being said, let’s take a more refined look at Lundell’s numerous strengths on the ice.
- Skating Speed and Acceleration
- Shot Release and Velocity
- Offensive Awareness and Intelligence
- Vision and Playmaking Ability
- Strength, Stability, and Positioning
The foundation of Lundell’s game — like many great players — is his ability to navigate the ice with both purpose and confidence. When leading an offensive rush, Lundell displays his steady and fluid stride — one which allows him to create and maintain a high-level of speed with little issue. Further, Lundell is remarkably strong on his skates and difficult to knock off of the puck, a reality which allows Lundell to drive puck possession for his team. Since he is so fast, agile, and strong on his skates, Lundell has little issue creating time and space for himself and comes to stand as a lethal offensive threat as a direct result.
#2020NHLDraft top prospect Anton Lundell dishes a terrific behind-the-back pass to set up a goal in today’s Liiga action pic.twitter.com/9w2DELMVOE
— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) September 20, 2019
If opposing defenders afford Lundell with too much time and space in the attacking zone, he will routinely find an open shooting lane before unleashing his deceptive on goal. Defined by its unique release, Lundell’s shot is extremely difficult for opposing goaltenders to read and often finds the back of the net before they can read it’s direction and speed. However, if pressured, Lundell also features the vision and offensive awareness necessary to fire crisp and creative passes to his fellow teammates in high percentage scoring situations.
Areas of Improvement:
- First Step Acceleration
- Offensive Versatility
In terms of areas in need of improvement within Lundell’s game, there aren’t many. So, if we were to nitpick, we’d identify Lundell’s first step acceleration as well as his offensive versatility as two areas that are strong yet could be improved in the years ahead.
While his acceleration is strong, Lundell would do well to become a more explosive skater who can turn around and disorient his defenders in all three zones of the ice. As Lundell continues to mature physically this skill will surely develop, and so too will Lundell’s offensive versatility. In the future, we’d like to see Lundell fully utilize his skating abilities, strength, and instincts to become a player who can drive the puck wide and hard to the goal on the rush — if able to do so, Lundell could stand as a combination of Aleksander Barkov and Sebastian Aho at the NHL-level.
In short, Lundell is a decisive offensive player who can also play a responsible 200-foot game. Not afraid to park himself in front of his opponent’s and ever creative, it’s rather easy to see why Lundell is skating and producing at the Liiga-level in the season preceding his first NHL Draft. If he can continue to produce offensively at the Liiga-level throughout the 2019-20 season, Lundell will unquestionably be selected within the top-10 overall come the 2020 NHL Draft, if not higher.
In the years ahead, Lundell boasts the skill set and intelligence level necessary to become a first line player at the NHL-level. Lethal offensively and reliable in all three zones of the ice, Lundell has the tools to become a modern-day NHL star.