The 2020 National Hockey League entry draft is stacked with talent from top to bottom. One of the top-ranked prospects, Anton Lundell, was placed 4th on Overtime Heroics first-ever rankings. Here’s his scouting report.
Anton Lundell was born on October 3rd, 2001, making him one of the older prospects in this draft. Born in Espoo, Finland, the 6’1, 183-pound centerman managed to snag a roster spot in the top Finnish league, Liiga. He played 38 games for HIFK, posting 9 goals and 10 assists. Despite being a 16/17-year-old playing against men, Lundell stuck it to them and competed during his whole tenure. But is he truly good enough to be ranked top 5 in a very talented draft class?
Thanks to ProspectShifts, I was able to watch film on Lundell’s game, making this whole article possible.
Lundell’s Skating Ability
Right away, I noticed Lundell’s skating. He is fast, but he has an awkward-looking stride. He doesn’t have great acceleration because of it. Not only that, Lundell appears to struggle to make tight turns and to stop on a dime. That may not hinder his ability in Finland, but on a smaller ice surface against tougher competition in the NHL, that is a somewhat big problem. He also struggles with balance. He tends to get knocked off the puck and off his feet a little too easy at times. While that also could be a matter of bulking up, he still needs to be much stronger on his skates.
In the offensive zone, Lundell plays a smart game. He has excellent off the puck movement and a great motor. He’s constantly moving and getting to open spaces. His ability to find open spaces in the offensive zone is a testament to his excellent vision, however. He pairs his vision with great offensive zone positioning and high-end anticipation. He reads the play really well and with such speed that he always seems to find himself in the middle of a play. He’s also a good net-front presence, though he doesn’t always plop himself in front too often.
Lundell Playmaking Ability
Lundell is a very good passer and is more of a playmaker than a sniper. He always has his head up and eyes scanning the ice for the next play. He does tend to force passes that aren’t open, trying to extend a lost play, but that’s an easy fix for a coach. He’s not the most flashy on the ice, however. He doesn’t get too creative with stickhandling, often trying to just make the simple reads and moving on to the next play.
Lundell Shooting Ability
Lundell isn’t limited to just his passing though. He has a very powerful and accurate shot, with a dangerously smooth and quick release. He doesn’t need too much room to get his shot off due to his hand positioning on the stick, that allows him to shoot in traffic. However, here’s why he fills the playmaker role more than a sniper role. He doesn’t utilize his very effective shooting abilities. He has to shoot much more and if he does, I feel he could work his way into top 3 consideration.
Lundell Transitional Game
Lundell doesn’t exactly stand out on the transition, though I’ve only tracked one of his games from last season.
As shown above, I have gathered his exit metrics. While I’ve only tracked one game, you can compare him to Noel Gunler and Dylan Holloway, who are both ranked below him by Overtime Heroics, and he had less involvement and success when exiting the defensive zone.
As for entering the offensive zone, Lundell poses even worse for wear. He has the lowest involvement among all players (tied with LaPierre) in the games I’ve tracked. Again, compared to Gunler and Holloway, he has less success. This is something that I will continue to update to the best of my ability, and Lundell needs to improve his numbers here as well.
Lundell Forechecking and Backchecking
His forechecking and backchecking are real good. His abilities on the forecheck is a result of his vision and anticipation being top-tier. On one play, he charged a defenseman, picked his pocket with a perfectly timed poke-check, and then walked in and sniped the puck past the Assat netminder to make it a 4-1 lead. Check that play out here: https://twitter.com/pereira_report/status/1163811274930573313?s=19 As for his backchecking, he gets the job done. He uses his speedy skating to catch up to the opposing puck carrier and uses an active stick to disrupt his lane to the offensive zone.
Lundell’s Role In Liiga, Defensive Game and Area of Improvement
In Liiga, Lundell only played on the powerplay. In that role, he worked the point areas and the half wall. He seemed to be the quarterback on the powerplay as well, as the puck was constantly moved back to him and he acted as a facilitator. He looked good at that spot, and it could be translated into an NHL game.
Lundell has a few areas to improve on, with one of the more important areas of improvement are his faceoff abilities. Outside of that, however, he’s a pretty complete player. His IQ translates to the defensive end of the ice as well. He supports the defence down low and provides crucial center support. He’s also very good at containing the cycle and holding the opponents in the corners.
Lundell Future Role And Potential
The fact that Lundell managed to get into Liiga, a Finnish men’s league, at the age of 17, it’s no question he could make an NHL roster out of the draft. He just needs to build on his offensive output and work out the little nuances in his game. As for his potential, his lack of involvement in the transition lowers his floor a bit, to me, but he is still a safe pick. At worst, he looks to be a future middle-six center/winger with a ceiling to hit elite level status. It all comes down to his improvement from last year into this year, along with what team drafts him come next June.
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All stats via eliteprospects
Film via ProspectShifts