Grading the Maple Leafs’ 2020 NHL Draft Class: Axel Rindell

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Here’s my analysis and scouting report for Leafs draftee Axel Rindell. If you’re interested, check out the full article here.

Axel Rindell

Drafted: Round 6, 177th overall
Age: Turned 20 on April 23rd
Height: 6’0
Weight: 176 lbs
Position: RD
2019-20 Season: 3g/5a/8p in 13 games with Jukurit U20 (Jr. A SM-Liiga) 
2020-21 Season as of October 7th: 1g/1a/2p in 2 games with Jukurit (SM-Liiga), 0g/1a/1p in 2 games with Jukurit U20 (U20 SM-Sarja)
Projected Draft Position: Sixth Round to Seventh Round

Are the Leafs planning on holding their prospect camp in Helsinki? It might be a good idea because even though he’s their 4th Finnish selection in this draft, Axel Rindell is another solid pick.

Even though he’s an overager, Rindell caught eyes last season in Finland. After solid showings in Junior, the defenseman has been a stud in Finland’s SM-Liiga. His rookie season raised eyebrows, he had the 3rd most points among all U20 SM-Liiga players, first among defensemen.

Rindell is an offensive defenseman. Let’s get into his game.

Rindell knows when to use his shot, and he generally uses it when he has the chance. He was practically built for the power play, he’s able to take one-timers, slapshots, and wrist shots, using his weapons to create a chance for a teammate via a shot.

I also like his playmaking. Rindell has great vision, he’s able to easily seek out a teammate, whether it’s breaking out, or moving the puck around in the offensive zone.

This makes him a great offensive threat, and his ability to apply pressure on offense also makes him a fantastic option to man a powerplay unit.

One problem I have, although it’s not as pronounced as some make it to be: His skating. He just lacks the speed and general skating abilities needed for a defenseman like him to succeed in the NHL. He’ll sometimes get beat too easily by speed, and I’m a bit concerned with his acceleration. The way he plays, I don’t think it’ll be a huge issue in Finland. However, as he progresses to higher levels and has to mould his role, it’s going to become a concern.

His offensive game also means that he’s not always there defensively. However, when the puck is in his own end, he’s able to effectively break the puck out.

Axel Rindell is the type of guy that the Leafs pursue for the Marlies, a high-potential guy who’s a bit older than other prospects and has some fundamentals to work on. I’m thinking of Noel Hoeffenmayer in particular here. Although they aren’t necessarily comparables, they have similar issues to work on, but are both good bets to make the NHL if those issues are fixed.

Grade: B+

I think Rindell is the type of guy you pursue after he goes undrafted, however, there are three issues with that here. 1. He’s signed for this season in Finland and has an option for the season after that, 2. There’s no guarantee that he would’ve gone undrafted, and 3. There’s no guarantee that he’d sign with Toronto immediately.

Although I think there were other high-potential bets on the board, I like this pick. At the end of Rindell’s contract in Finland, whether it’s 2021 or 2022, I think he’ll be ready to jump right in with the Marlies, refine his game and get used to NA ice, and become a promising prospect in no time.

If his game does get to the point where he’ll make the NHL, he’s built to be a #4/#5th defenseman who can make an impact on the second powerplay unit.

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Spencer White is an Editor of Hockey at Overtime Heroics. He writes about hockey, covering the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Marlies, Newfoundland Growlers, and the Toronto Six. You can find him on Twitter at @FreeNylander, @MagicianMarner, and @LeafsMoves.