Moving onto our second draft target in the second round of the 2020 NHL Draft, we have Joni Jurmo; a big puck rushing defencemen from Espoo, Finland.
At 6’4″, 198 pounds, Joni Jurmo is one of the largest prospects eligible in the 2020 NHL Draft. The smooth-skating left-shot defencemen has been playing for the Jokerit system since he was 15 years old, becoming a regular on the U18 team as a 16-year-old and tallying 28 points (5 goals + 23 assists) in his draft year while suiting up for 43 games.
Jokke Nevalainen of Dobber Prospects has identified the following positives about Jurmo’s game:
Jurmo’s combination of size (6-4, 190) and skating ability is something that doesn’t come by too often. His playing style draws comparisons to Philip Broberg who played a similar puck-rushing style in his draft season, although he did it at a higher level. Jurmo loves to take the puck from his own end and carry it all the way to the other end. And because of his puck-handling skills and skating ability, he can often be successful at that.
Jokke also goes on to claim the following shortcomings of the Finnish defender:
Sometimes, he loves carrying the puck way too much and doesn’t even consider other options. He tries to force himself through traffic and if that fails, that usually means a breakaway or an odd-man rush against. He is capable of making good breakout passes, so it’s just a matter of making better decisions with the puck. His biggest weaknesses are in his own end where he is still very raw and not the type of player you would want on the ice protecting a lead or killing a penalty. His positioning isn’t all that great, and he also lacks urgency in his defensive game.
Here is an excerpt from Matthew Zator of The Hockey Writers analysis on Joni Jurmo:
The way Jurmo moves the puck and attacks the offensive zone is pretty amazing. He is still a raw talent in his own end, but his exceptional speed, vision, and offensive instincts should make that a moot point soon enough.
Excellent finish and skating from Jurmo as seen below.
— Clare McManus (@claremcmanuss) April 19, 2020
The consensus among all analysts that have tracked Joni Jurmo is that he’s an incredible skater for his size who’s displayed excellent puckhandling skills throughout his career with Jokerit. With that being said, they also all agree on the fact that Jurmo’s defensive zone play is his biggest weakness; with his positioning being rather poor. Having signed with JYP of Liiga, Joni Jurmo will need to spend more time refining his defensive play in order to get playing time in Finland’s top professional hockey league.
With 28 points in 43 games (0.65 points/game), Joni Jurmo came first in points per game scoring among all U18 defencemen in the U20 SM-Sarja league. While he isn’t the most flashy player, the Espoo native tends to do all the little things right in the offensive zone and also quarterbacks a potent U20 Jokerit power play; both factors contributing to Joni Jurmo’s tremendous offensive success in the 2019-2020 season.
It’ll be interesting to see how Jurmo transitions into a top men’s league in Liiga. While he already has excellent size, the shifty defender isn’t overly physical and will need to hold his own in a league where the average height and weight is a lot higher then it was in the U20 league. JYP, Joni Jurmo’s new team, only had one player in the top 30 for defencemen scoring this past season. This likely indicates that April-2002 born will be receiving power play time right off the bat, giving him an excellent opportunity to further develop his offensive game.
Availability and fit
With Juuso Valimaki, Oliver Kylington, and Rasmus Andersson all graduating from the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames defencemen prospect pool is getting razor-thin. Drafting Joni Jurmo provides the club with yet another smooth-skating defencemen who has the potential to slide into the top-four core one day.
In terms of availability, most pundits have penciled in Joni to get drafted in either the second or third round. While the Flames most likely will not have a third-round pick this year, they do possess the 50th and 96th overall picks. Jurmo is projected to go 46th overall by Elite Prospects, 53rd by Future Considerations, 60th by TSN’s Bob McKenzie, 73rd by McKeen’s hockey, and 78th by TSN’s Craig Button. Thus, Brad Treliving and Co. will likely need to use their second-round pick on Joni Jurmo should they wish to acquire the Finnish defensemen’s services.
Joni Jurmo is NHL ready in terms of size and skating. His puck-handling skills are far superior to other players in the U20 Finnish circuit, as is his break-out pass. On the flip side, the young defencemen is still very raw in his own zone and will need to further commit to developing a two-way game if he wants to play at hockey’s highest level. Should he be able to refine his positioning and backchecking abilities, Joni Jurmo could end up becoming one of the most complete defencemen from the 2020 NHL draft.