October 1, 2021

FCHockey’s top draft-eligibles of the month – September

FCHockey’s scouts can be found in all corners of the globe, watching players at the professional level, right down to junior.

They see a countless number of players in action, but there are always those that shine.

Through the 2021-22 hockey season, our team will collect the names of those prospects that have caught their eyes. From standing out in their leagues to impressing at tournaments, from making history to accomplishing remarkable feats for their age, we’ll take a look at the 2022 NHL Draft-eligibles making waves in the hockey world each month.

In the first edition of this series for the 2021-22 season, the European leagues have all gotten underway while the North American leagues are just getting their regular seasons rolling. Therefore, this is an all-European edition to kick off our season – and it’s highly dominated by Swedes.

Here are FCHockey’s top-five draft-eligible prospects for September 2021, alphabetically listed.

Simon Forsmark, D, Orebro HK J20 (J20 Nationell)

FCHockey’s rank: 27th

September stat line: 8GP (J20 Nationell) – 3G, 7A, 10PTS/3GP (SHL) – 0PTS

We get started with Simon Forsmark, one of the top Swedish defenders in this class. He started off his season on fire, scoring in his first two J20 Nationell games and adding four assists, earning him a callup to the SHL level. He’s been bouncing between the two leagues throughout his first month of the season, but he’s seen minimal minutes in the SHL.

In the J20 Nationell, Forsmark is leading all defensemen in points. It looks like he could be bouncing between the leagues for a period of time, but if he continues this pace, he should earn an extended look in the SHL. He’s already earned some extended looks from FCHockey’s scouts.

“Forsmark is a two-way defenseman with good size and decision-making,” FCHockey’s Swedish scout Viktor Bergman reported. “At some times, he looks like a veteran who has done nothing but playing defense at a high level. Forsmark is mature in his decision-making on the ice.

“He is patient with the puck on his stick, making simple and effective plays and rarely puts himself or teammates in trouble. He also showed good IQ and understanding of the game as he could predict what would happen as the play develops. His usage of shoulder-checks really helps him as he can take in information about his surroundings.”

Joakim Kemell, RW, JYP (Liiga)

FCHockey’s rank: 10th

September stat line: 8GP – 6G, 3A, 9PTS

If there’s one standout player from the first month of the season, it’s more than likely Finnish forward Joakim Kemell. While Brad Lambert was looking like the sure-fire top player from Finland, Kemell has exploded into that conversation – even surpassing him on some draft boards.

The winger has stepped right into the Liiga and has not only fit in but is tied for the league lead in goals and is second in points. That’s pretty remarkable after playing just one Liiga game last year, granted he did score in that game as well. The pace that Kemell has started off with could be one of the biggest storylines to follow this season, especially when he looks to challenge Lambert for that top spot.

“Kemell is a quick winger who utilizes shiftiness, ability to find open space, and a great shot to create offense,” FCHockey crossover scout Josh Frojelin said. His speed makes him noticeable. Whether in the offensive or defensive zone, Kemell can move exceptionally well. He has an active stick as well, allowing him to defend rush attempts from the opposition.

“He also has potential to be a great offensive-rush threat. In the offensive zone, he has his head up looking for teammates. He also occasionally can find himself in open spots within the offensive zone.”

Jonathan Lekkerimaki, C, Djurgardens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

FCHockey’s rank: 29th

September stat line: 6GP – 8G, 4A, 12PTS

Right there with Kemell, Jonathan Lekkerimaki collected the most points through September of any draft-eligible prospect. The forward knows how to put the puck in the net and has put that on full display in the J20 Nationell. He could be a strong candidate to shoot up draft boards as the season drives along.

Lekkerimaki is currently tied for third in the J20 Nationell for goals and sits seventh for points. However, his 2.00 points per game are also third in the league. If he continues through the season at this rate, this could be a massive season for the Swedish forward. You’re going to want to keep an eye on the sniper this season.

“Lekkerimaki is a pure sniper that could surprise the goalie at any time with his shot,” FCHockey’s Swedish scout Fredrik Haak reported. “His wrist shot is really elite, and he fires it quick and with good precision. What really impresses me is that he does not need to receive a perfect pass or have the puck in a perfect place. Instead, he often manages to get a good shot off regardless, and he also hits the goal most of the time.

“Lekkerimaki also shows good puckhandling skill, and it seems hard to get the puck from him both out on the ice and along the boards. He is also creative and finds his teammates with smart passes.”

Noah Ostlund, C, Djurgardens IF J20 (J20 Nationell)

FCHockey’s rank: 19th

September stat line: 5GP – 1G, 10A, 11PTS

Right there with Lekkerimaki, Noah Ostlund has shot out of the gate this season, sitting one point behind the former – and teammate – in one less game. This puts Ostlund in second in the league in points per game at 2.20. FCHockey’s top Swedish forward is also sitting second in the league in assists, with 10. This is going to be an exciting player to watch this season.

What stands out with Ostlund is that it’s not just the offensive side of his game that catches your eye. His effort off the puck and in his own end stands out. The highly competitive player could be a riser all season. He and Lekkerimaki on the same team makes Djurgardens a must-see team for draft enthusiasts.

“Ostlund is a very skilled center that makes an impact every time he is on the ice,” Haak said. “It does not matter if it’s a backcheck on the penalty kill or creating a scoring opportunity on the power play, Ostlund wants to participate in every part. He is a speedy player that maintains great speed over longer distances combined with good acceleration.

“He reads the game exceptional and interrupts plays, and seems to find the right positions without the puck in both offense and defense.”

Danila Yurov, RW, Metallurg Magnitogorsk (KHL)

FCHockey’s rank: 5th

September stat line: 11GP (KHL) – 0PTS/2GP (MHL) – 1G, 5A, 6PTS

Last, but certainly not least, Russian forward Danila Yurov has proven early on that he’s just too good for the MHL. In just two games in the league, he’s recorded six points. This has earned him a look at the KHL level, although he hasn’t seen any significant playing time as of yet.

Yurov and Ivan Miroshnicheko look like they’re set to battle it out this season for the right to be the first Russian off the board. Early on, it looks like the speedy, creative winger might have that edge. They’re very different players, but the excitement that Yurov brings is sure to catch the eye of NHL scouts.

“Yurov is a highly competitive, two-way forward with exceptional awareness in both ends, and the ability to drive offense,” one FCHockey scout said. “His intelligence on the ice is extremely strong. From his positioning in both ends to his reads of passes, and this ability to take advantage of mistakes stands out in a big way.

“Mixed with his competitiveness, Yurov is often the first player on the puck in all situations. If a puck trickles out of a scrum, he’s on it. Or, he’s often in the midst of the board battle and his impressive hands allow him to win those battles. He’s hard on puck carriers in all three zones, looking to pressure them into mistakes.”

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