With the 17th pick of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators have selected Joakim Kemell from JYP of the Finnish Liiga
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Tracker
About Joakim Kemell
Joakim Kemell was one of Finland’s top players at the 2022 U20 World Hockey Championships. While he has some work ahead of him to iron out inconsistencies in his game, there’s no doubt about his talents. A hard and accurate shot, sound positioning with and without the puck, and a slick puck-handler, Kemell has a bright future ahead of him. Despite his regression in scoring during his second year with JYP, he blossomed into a more-developed forward and improved significantly in various aspects.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
He gives up a bit of size, standing at 5-foot-11, and could benefit from making some alterations with his skating stride. Still, Kemell has most of the tools needed to excel at the pro level in North America, and could become a tremendous asset with the proper development. He’s committed to JYP in Finland for at least one more season, and could make his way out of Finland by 2024.
THW Prospect Profile Excerpt
“He will undoubtedly be a top-10 pick in the upcoming NHL Draft, but it’s safe to say that Kemell hasn’t quite reached his ceiling just yet. The development in his game has shown inconsistencies in multiple areas from his ability to use his stick on the forecheck to his defensive zone coverage. Still, the possibility of growth makes him a coveted prospect for a number of NHL clubs picking in that eight to 12 range.
“As for what he brings, his stick handling and shot might be his strongest attributes. He has the ability to get creative with the puck which often helps him beat defenders on the rush and create opportunities of said rushes. As for his shot — simply put — it’s hard and it’s accurate. Whether it’s a blistering wrister or a one-timer in tight, Kemell could have one of the top three shots amongst the top-10 prospects in this year’s draft.
“Now, keeping in mind his size, physicality isn’t quite one of his strong suits. That’s why we see him trying to stick check more often then laying the body. This goes for both ends of the ice, where Kemell has relied heavily on trying to poke check pucks from defenders sticks rather then engage physically. While that might be one of his shortcomings as a player — especially in his defensive zone — it certainly isn’t something that will steer teams away from taking the young Finn.
“Let’s not forget, however, that this is an 18-year-old playing alongside older competition. All things considered, he put up 15 goals and and 23 points in just 39 games with JYP in the Liiga. And while his minus-13 rating can be telling of his defensive play, it should be stated that JYP wasn’t the strongest Liiga club this season. In fact, only SaiPa and Ässät finished with few points in the standings.
“The skill level that Kemell plays with is one of natural talent. The holes in his game can be fixed or, at the very least, developed to become less of an issue when he’s on the ice. Considering what he can provide teams with, along with a potential power play option, Kemell will end up being a top-10 pick and given the right development, he’ll be an interesting prospect to keep an eye on over the next couple of seasons.
“Kemell has some holes in his game that need to develop further if he’s to be an impact player at the NHL level. His offensive game is one that should impress most scouts, but it’s the consistency that could play against him at times. Right out of the gate, don’t be surprised to see him as a middle-six when he does crack an NHL lineup. But the skill level is there to become an impactful player for any NHL club, given the time to fill in the gaps in his play.”
How This Affects the Predators’ Plans
The Predators already have a nice mix of size, skill, and offensive awareness, but they couldn’t pass up on the abilities that Kemell possesses. For his skillset, he’s a top-10 prospect that was held back due to injuries this season. He’s undersized, but with talents like Luke Evangelista and Zachary L’Heureux coming up the ranks, Nashville doesn’t need to worry too much about this. He’s the first Finnish-born player to go in the 2022 Draft.
Covering the Nashville Predators. I work for a company called SPORTLOGiQ and have loved the game of Hockey for over three decades. I’m obsessed with advanced analytics and pair that with my love for the eye test – i.e. watching the games (I DO that too!)