Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Joni Jurmo.
Finnish defenceman Joni Jurmo had a solid season in his countries’ junior leagues playing in the Jokerit system this year. The 17-year-old played 43 games in the Jr. A Under-20 League putting up five goals and 23 assists for 28 points in 43 games. He was only able to play one playoff game before the season was cancelled. He also played one game in the Jr. B Under-18 League, picking up an assist. Jurmo also represented his national teams. He played four games for the Under-18 National team and four games for the Under-20 team picking up three goals and six points. Following the season Jurmo transferred to JYP and is expected to play for their men’s team in the SM Liiga next season.
In 2018-19, Jurmo was one of the best players in the Jr. B U-18. He put up three goals and 20 assists for 23 points in 42 games. Jurmo also added a goal and two assists in seven playoff games. He helped lead his Jokerit team to the league championship. Jurmo was named the best defenceman in the league and a First-Team All-Star. He also played five games at the U-20 level, picking up an assist.
Joni Jurmo Scouting Report
Defence — shoots Left
Born April 19th, 2002 — Espoo, Finland
Height 6’4″ — Weight 198 lbs [194 cm/90 kg]
Jurmo is an outstanding skater. Bigger players are often called good skaters for their size, but that is not something that needs to be said with Jurmo. He has very good speed in both directions and excellent acceleration. He can attack defenders by changing speeds and is also hard to beat by attackers off the rush. Jurmo has quick, sharp pivots. He is able to transition quickly from offence to defence and vice-versa. Excellent agility and edgework also allow him to cover a ton of ice and help him at both ends. He is also strong on his skates and tough to knock off the puck. Jurmo can fight through checks as well as win battles along the boards and clear the front of the net.
Jurmo combines his skating with effective puck-handling skills. He can avoid forecheckers when retrieving loose pucks and make a quick move to get past them and start the transition game. From there, Jurmo can either rush the puck up the ice or make a smart pass to a forward to lead the rush. His stickhandling and skating allow him to avoid defenders and make successful zone entries. He can quarterback the play from the point, finding passing lanes and exploiting them to set up teammates. His movement in the offensive zone creates opportunities and he can feather passes through tight areas. He also has excellent vision and almost always makes the smart pass.
Jurmo’s slap shot is decent but by no means is it a high-end weapon. He could stand to add more power. He is good at keeping the shot low and on the net though, giving his teammates opportunities for deflections and rebounds. Jurmo also has a good wrist shot which he can get off from the top of the circles or when joining the rush as a trailer. His lateral movement allows him to walk the line and create shooting lanes. He is aggressive in pushing the play and pinching in at the line. This can lead to him getting caught up ice from time to time.
Jurmo’s strong skating also gives him the ability to successfully defend against attackers. He maintains good gap control and forces attackers to the outside and away from prime shooting areas. His quick stick can knock the puck away from an opponent and also does a good job of cutting down passing lanes. He could stand to be more physically aggressive though. Jurmo wins his board battles and contains his man on the cycle when he engages but there are times he tries to do too much with his stick instead of playing physical. His ability to get the puck out of the zone quickly and transition into offence are assets as he reduces zone time for the opposition.
Projection and Comparison
Jurmo’s smooth-skating, size, and offensive ability are all traits that should intrigue NHL teams going forward. There is some concern about the level of competition that he faced and that his numbers, while good, did not dominate against that competition. The Finnish under-20 league is good, but it is not quite at the level of the CHL. Add in some questions about his defensive play and his ceiling is probably as a second pair defender. His game is reminiscent of Nick Leddy, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Joni Jurmo that are available on youtube and twitter.
— Clare McManus (@claremcmanuss) April 19, 2020
#NuortenSMLiiga: Two of Finalnd's top #2020NHLDraft prospects combined to produce Jokerit's eventual GWG in a 3-2 triumph over SaiPA U20. C Juuso Maenpaa (Ranked No. 68) sets up LHD Joni Jurmo (Ranked No. 60) for a shot that gets tipped in by LW Eetu Matilainen (2020/1999) pic.twitter.com/1q3ljZwmab
— Steve Kournianos (@TheDraftAnalyst) November 2, 2019
Joni Jurmo is 6'3" and can move like this. #7 and the one doing the stuff in the fun colours. pic.twitter.com/kKiUXeIpSx
— Will Scouch (@Scouching) October 19, 2019
Watch this play by 6'4, 2020 draft eligible defenceman Joni Jurmo (7 Blue). The forward sees Jurmo skating towards his goal line, and is anticipating that Jurmo would make the traditional play and pass it around the boards to his defence partner. (1) pic.twitter.com/Fd8qZynUb2
— Brian C (@brianchoihockey) April 19, 2020
From yesterday: LHD Joni Jurmo (2020) carries the puck up the ice – which is something he loves to do – and gets a bit lucky when his shot goes in.
— Jokke Nevalainen (@JokkeNevalainen) October 31, 2019
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Joni Jurmo Main Photo:
— Peter Harling? (@pharling) April 10, 2020