52. Kasper Simontaival RW – 5’9, 177 lbs
Simontaival is a hard prospect to gauge, as he dominated the U-20 Finnish league this season with his 25 goals and 32 assists for 57 points in just 48 games. The young winger showed great skills, including a very dangerous shot and some dangerous offensive instincts.
Some folks are a little weary of placing the diminutive winger any higher in their rankings due to his size and the quality of the opposition he faced, but Simontaival has the shot, speed and skill necessary to jump into the Finnish Liiga next year and make some serious noise.
Kasper Simontaival scored two goals in the first period against Czech Republic at the U18 Five Nations in Sochi. Here’s the first one which is a great individual effort from the #2020NHLDraft prospect. #Tappara pic.twitter.com/38jZ5J79FX— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) February 5, 2019
He could very well be one of those diamond-in-the-rough stories for the 2020 Draft, as his international play, at tournaments like the Hlinka Gretzky Cup, shows that he can more than handle his own vs his peers.
53. Joni Jurmo LD – 6’4, 190 lbs
Joni Jurmo is another strong, puck-movind defenseman who’s game is predicated on speed and skill. Playing in the Jr A league in Finland this past season, Jurmo was able to use his solid skating stride and very favourable size (6’4) to help neutralize players as they attempted zone entries. He was the best offensive defenseman in the league last year for Jokerit, putting up 5 goals and 23 assists for 28 points in 43 games in a league that is known to be very defensive.
For him to take the next step in his development next year with JYP of the Finnish Liiga, he will have to improve his work in the defensive zone, as he has difficulty in zone tracking and man-to-man coverage during the cycle. He has all the tools to become a PP quarterback in the future, due to his solid passing and vision, but he will not succeed at the next level without shoring up his defensive game.
This is a great clip of Joni Jurmo.— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) May 11, 2020
Great lateral movement along the blue line and he mans the cycle. Skates around the half-wall, wraps around the net and delivers a shot in the slot. pic.twitter.com/tPx6myHJbT
54. Vasili Ponomaryov C – 5’10, 180 lbs
Ponomaryov has an excellent set of hands, as well as some exceptional vision. He lacks elite foot-speed and doesn’t have the explosive first few steps that his peers do, but his skill is clear. Jumping over to play in the QMJHL this year, the young Russian hit the ground running, putting up 18 goals and 31 assists for 49 points in 57 games.
#HlinkaGretzkyCup #Russiahockey #VasiliPonomaryov— Yannick St-Pierre (@DraftDynasty1) August 10, 2019
Vasili Ponomaryov has been one of the most impressive player for Russia. Very skilled. Canada Keeper will need to be better. Bad goal here. pic.twitter.com/GxPIzwYGUV
Playing a primarily young Shawinigan team this year, Vasili started off slow, but really took off playing with fellow draft-eligible Bourque. The two has solid chemistry, and this truly allowed the youngster to display some serious skill, vision and Hockey IQ. Although he really needs to work on his speed and skating, he’s a solid bet for eventual top-6 duty.
55. Roby Järventie LW – 6’3, 184 lbs
Järventie was a monster this season in the Finnish 2nd division (Mestis), putting up an impressive 23 goals and 15 assists for 38 points in 36 games. He plays a physical game with a nose for the net. He possesses a solid, and very heavy wrist shot, while also having some pretty soft hands.
Järventie is the type of forward who likes to be in the thick of things, but has yet to do it consistently versus men. He dominates his age group physically, but he will need to translate that dangerous combo of grit and skill to the next level in Liiga before many start believing in his top-6 potential. The biggest knock on him is the lack of maturity in his defensive game, and I strongly believe that will come with good coaching and with time.
Järventie is going to have to get a little quicker and improve his defensive presence, but, as one of the youngest players in the draft, he has a ton of time to do so, especially physical training. A solid year in Liiga would go a long way in making people think of him as a legit top-6 player in the making.
56. Tyler Kleven LD – 6’4, 200 lbs
Kleven is a behemoth of a defenseman known primarily for his great attention to detail and sound defensive game. Now that might turn off a few people, but I was just getting started. Kleven is a really good skater, exceptional if you consider his size. He uses his size to box out opposing players quite effectively, while also using his solid edgework around the boards to pick up speed and successfully create zone exits.
Offensively, Kleven has a very underrated shot, which he can unleash at any point in traffic. Being able to move as easily as he does along the blueline makes him great for puck retrieval and distribution, although he will need to improve his speed of execution at the next level. However, he won’t be quarterbacking a powerplay anytime soon. He is a triggerman in an offensive zone situation, and has the skating to cover for a pinching teammate.
The pairing of Eamon Powell and Tyler Kleven are becoming a very formidable duo for the U17’s.— Stars n’ Stripes Hockey (@StarsStripesHKY) November 20, 2018
A thunder and lightning type combo, here they show exactly that. Kleven takes the body to cut off the rushing forward and Powell uses his speed to break up the centering feed. #NTDP pic.twitter.com/jor45Bjw3w
57. Sean Farrell LW – 5’9, 175 lbs
The third member of the infamous top line for the Chicago Steel of the USHL this year, Sean Farrell was just as impressive offensively, but lacks the overall game to be ranked ahead of Brisson and Colangelo. The 5’9 forward is known primarily for his sound two-way play and his exceptional vision. Primarily a playmaker ( as evidence by his 41 assists in 45 games), Farrell is very good at finding streaking players and put a saucer pass right on the tape for a high-danger scoring chance.
He thinks the game at incredible speed, but doesn’t necessarily have the shooting acumen to be a true scoring threat at the NHL level. I believe that he could be a legitimate top-9 player in the NHL due to his speed of execution and his Hockey IQ, but the Harvard University commit has lots of time to work on his game and could be an idea late-2nd round project for a team with multiple picks
What a goal by Sean Farrell. Top shelf goal and managed to get the puck past a ton of traffic. Farrell can pick his corners quite well. #WJAC | #2020NHLDraft | @FCHockey | @DobberProspects pic.twitter.com/TsDael2eah— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) December 8, 2019
58. Veeti Miettinen RW – 5’9, 161 lbs
Veeti Miettinen is such a difficult player to gauge due to the fact that he dominated in much lesser league (Finnish Jr.A), despite being one of the older players in this draft. He’s a player that loves to put the puck on the net and he does so in various ways. He’s good at deflections, has a very accurate wrist shot and has an equally precise slapshot; needless to say he’s a goalscorer above all.
Veeti Miettinen THREAD of how good he really is:— Gavin Chiasson (@HockeyScoutCA) June 29, 2020
He’s my #51 but the more I see from him, the more I like. He’s become a lot quicker towards the end of the year too, and has a top 10 shot in this draft pic.twitter.com/vAAggYDHJ5
His skating is quite refined as well; a necessity for a player of his size. He plays a solid defensive game as well, but isn’t overly combative for lose pucks. Miettinen is set to play for Saint-Cloud University in the NCAA this year, which will give us a much more quantifiable idea of where he is exactly as a prospect, but the potential upside coluld be huge.
Veeti Miettinen (2020) scored a hat-trick in today’s U20 game between Kiekko-Espoo and Sport. The @SCSUHUSKIES_MH recruit is now up to 9G, 8A in 13 games in the Finnish U20 league this season. #2020NHLDraft pic.twitter.com/TAJpeznGij— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) October 5, 2019
59. Yan Kuznetsov LD – 6’4, 209 lbs
Yan Kuznetsov played the last season in the NCAA as a true freshman at the tender age of 17 years old. This is incredibly rare, as few defensemen have taken this route (recent names like Zach Werenski or Quinn Hughes come to mind). Kuznetsov is a big (6’4) and mobile defenseman that plays a very simple and physical game, where he uses his deceptively good skating and gap control to shut down opposing players and box them out to the outside.
Draft eligible left handed defenseman Yan Kuznetsov with a solid check in front of his net. Good job eliminating the traffic in front of his net. #2020NHLDraft | @FCHockey | @DobberProspects pic.twitter.com/8ukbLYXmG2— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) November 9, 2019
He did put up 2 goals and 9 assists for 11 points in 34 games, which is very good for a player his age in a league dominated by 21 and 22-year-olds. He projects as a potential top-4 shut-down D, and could be ready for the pro game faster that his peers drafted around him due to his size and skating. A good gamble at this point in the Draft.
60. William Villeneuve RD – 6’1, 175 lbs
Villeneuve is a steady and effective defenseman who many credit with making Jeremie Poirier look good all season for the Saint-John Sea Dogs in the QMJHL. The 6’1 right-defenseman was an absolute rock on a very young roster. He would use his solid Hockey IQ and his underrated speed to avoid high-danger situations and skate the puck out of the defensive zone.
It’s plays like this that make me regret being so low on William Villeneuve in my past couple of rankings. Brick wall at the blue-line. Great strip of the puck on the PK. #2020NHLDraft | @FCHockey pic.twitter.com/sgDPrrVhzl— Josh Tessler (@JoshTessler_) March 1, 2020
Although Villeneuve put up very respectable offensive numbers (he has 9 goals and 49 assists for 58 points in 58 points in 64 games), many question how effective his offensive game will be at the next level if he isn’t playing next to Poirier and 2021 eligible Joshua Roy.
William Villeneuve is one of the most under-appreciated players of this years draft class. His ability to read defenses and find open space is some of the best in the CHL. His timing and Hockey IQ in transition is also top end often catching opposition completely off guard. pic.twitter.com/TLc2XkyILq— Finlay Sherratt (@FinlaySherratt) May 27, 2020
Villeneuve is an excellent risk at this point, but he projects as reliable top-4 D that could play some solid minutes and play in all situations. At worst, I could see Villeneuve becoming a premium bottom pair defenseman with offensive upside, and, given he’s a righty, those are valuable, even at this point on a list.
61. Jaromir Pytlik C – 6’2, 200 lbs
In his rookie season for the depleted SSM Greyhounds of the OHL, Pytlik put up a solid 22 goals and 28 assists for 50 points in 56 games, which isn’t anything to write home on. However, it became apparent that Pytlik improved by leaps and bounds as the season went on. He likes to use his body to protect the puck and drive to open spaces to create plays and crash the high-danger area. He possesses a heavy shot, but doesn’t use it nearly enough. His solid puck protection skills make him a pain to play against, but also gives him the extra time and space to use his equally solid playmaking skills. He is able to attract more coverage, leaving teammates open in high-danger areas for a quick pass.
He will have to work on his speed and speed of execution, but the early signs of his offseason training have shown a revitalized Jaromir that looked much faster already. He projects to be a top-9 winger with a shot at top-6 duty, but he would have to work on being a little more selfish with the puck and work on speeding up his release.
62. Ty Smilanic C – 6’1, 170 lbs
One of the most hyped prospects going into the USNDT program this year, Smilanic looked good, but not great. His 7 goals and 15 assists for 22 points in 34 games left many scouts wanting more from the young man, as he had difficulty creating offensive zone situations when away from the top unit.
He possesses a good wrist shot, with deceptive velocity, but many question his Hockey IQ and vision, leading some to believe that Smilanic could be a one-trick pony at the next level. Personally, I certainly see top-9 upside with lots of character, the tenacity in his game, and, above all, his excellent skating and speed.
That’s a Wrap! More Content Coming..
That’s a wrap folks! Phew, I really don’t think I could have looked at this screen anymore. For anyone looking for more information on any of the prospects listed, or even those I have not included in this ranking, please do not be shy to reach on Twitter!
Until then, please stayed tuned for my upcoming Final 2020 NHL Mock Draft
For those of you looking for more content on the Draft, you can always check out my most recent Post-Lottery Mock Draft to get you ready!
Or if you want to compare and contract my current Top-62 with my May Edition, just click here.