Photo Credit: Saana Hakala
D.O.B – January 11, 2002
Nationality – Finland
Draft Eligibility – 2020
Height – 5’9
Weight – 172 lbs
Position – Left Wing/Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Simontaival’s Style Of Play
Simontaival is a real joker in the pack for this draft. There is no doubt that in terms of “natural” talent he is a first round level player. Just a couple of years ago he was already being talked about as a likely top ten pick for this draft. However, injuries have plagued him over the last two years. There are also legitimate concerns that he has not actually developed very much since he turned 16.
His skating is neither explosive or overly agile for his size, however, Simontaival really knows how to skate with a puck. He instinctively understands where to position himself and the puck in order to maintain possession even though he is undersized. This can lead to him being a puck-hog at times, and making poor decisions trying to find a perfect seam instead of a higher percentage play, but it is impressive to watch. His hands are where he really wins. The Tampere native makes you think he can probably do anything he wants with the puck on his stick. This ability transfers itself well when it comes to his passing game. He also has all the shots. Slap, snap, wrist and backhand are all pluses for his age. Simontaival is also not afraid to battle in the offensive zone, but he is not very good once he gets physically engaged. In the defensive zone he can look un-engaged and unaware at times, losing his man and getting drawn to the puck without understanding the coverage he should be in. Overall he is the kind of player that in five years it would be no surprise to see as a 60-point NHLer… and also no surprise to see as a second line Liiga winger. Boom or bust is often bandied about, but with Simontaival it is apt.
Jonathan Marchessault, Forward (has lined up at Center, Left Wing and Right Wing), Vegas Golden Knights
Both the Finn and his Canadian counterpart share several tendencies and skills in regards to their offensive game. Like the Vegas winger, Simontaival has a wicked shot that he can get off from anywhere. Additionally, both have sets of mitts that can baffle opponents, and the hand-eye coordination to tip pucks home from danger areas. Despite their size they do not mind battling on the boards and at the net-front either. They both also possess high-end passing ability, and an instinctive understanding of how to get free in the slot and near the net. In terms of weaknesses, neither are the fastest for their size, and both are sub-par in their own zone.
Prospect report written by Alexander Appleyard. If you would like to follow Alexander on Twitter, his handle is @Avappleyard.
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