Photo Credit: Liiga/Jiri Halttunen
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Brad Lambert is a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft. Lambert plays for JYP Jyväskylä in the Liiga. He is dual citizen as he holds both Canadian and Finnish citizenship.
Lambert hails from Lahti, Finland. For those unfamiliar with Finland geography, Lahti is approximately an hour and a half drive north from Helsinki. Lahti is also home to the Lahti Pelicans (the Liiga club). Prior to joining JYP, he played a few seasons for the Pelicans at the U16, U18 and U20 levels. Brad isn’t the only Lambert with a connection to the Pelicans. Lambert’s father, Ross was a skills coach for the Pelicans at the Liiga level. Ross played collegiate hockey for Princeton University (NCAA), junior hockey for the Saskatoon Blades (WHL), a couple of seasons in the American Hockey League before heading over to England to play in the BHL and the BISL.
Lambert’s father isn’t the only Lambert family member with a connection to hockey. Brad’s uncle, Lane Lambert is the New York Islanders’ Associate Coach and previously was an Assistant Coach for the Washington Capitals. Brad’s other uncle, Dale Lambert played the BHL and the BISL for 14 seasons. His cousin, Jimmy Lambert plays for the University of Michigan alongside Matthew Beniers, Owen Power and Kent Johnson.
As mentioned prior, Lambert played U16-U20 hockey for the Pelicans from 2017-2019. After the 2018-2019 season, he joined HIFK for the 2019-2020 and spent most of the season playing in the SM-Liiga. But, he was also featured in four Liiga contests for HIFK. Following the 2019-2020 campaign, he joined JYP.
D.O.B – December 19, 2003
Nationality – Finland
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –179 lbs
Position – Center/Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Lambert’s Style Of Play
If Lambert’s teammate is running the cycle behind the net, he’ll set up in the low slot to provide a passing lane. If his wingers shift the puck to the left side boards from the red line, he will double back, situate himself diagonal to his teammate to open up a lane. He is constantly looking to provide passing lanes for teammates engaged in puck battles along the boards. Lambert maintains good presence all over the offensive zone, tries to open up passing lanes for forwards stuck in puck battles along the boards and is quick to loose pucks. He consistently does a good job of finding open ice down low, but struggles with puck capturing in situations where a one-timer would pay off. You’ll see him capture the puck too close to his stick shaft and he’ll struggle to get a quality shot off since the puck is too close to the shaft.
He will use his upper body strength to overwhelm attackers in open ice loose puck battles. In those situations where he is looking to disrupt puck possession, but doesn’t want to over-commit to the puck carrier along the red line with his back turned as another forward has shifted over to his spot at centered ice, he’ll shift over to the wing and cover the wing and look to trap the puck carrier along the boards. While he does look to use his upper body strength for physical play, he needs to work on his reaction timing when going in for bodychecks in the corner as there are quite a few situations where he will miss the puck carrier completely. Lambert struggles to lay down hits at open ice. Goes in for checks, but doesn’t really make much contact nor does he cause the puck carrier to lose control of the puck.
Lambert implements quality pivoting to shake off the back-check along the boards. Sometimes he will struggle and lose his balance when attempting to pivot out from a back check attempt along the half-wall.
At open ice, Lambert will utilize a well-timed spin move to dodge pressure in the offensive zone when he completes a controlled zone entry but faces tight pressure from an opponent.
If he chooses not to pivot out in situations in which the pressure is closing in on him, he will look to extend the puck out past the attacker and still make a pass to a teammate even when at the boards.
Lambert has solid stick-handling reach. Not only does he possess solid reach and enough upper body strength to play the puck out wide, he also has quality puck security even when being knocked down to the ice. The only area that needs further improvement is when he’s looking to grab possession of a loose puck at open ice, but that has more to do with him over-skating the puck then his reachability.
When you look at Lambert’s shot under a microscope, you will notice that it is the weaker part of his game. He will have difficulty elevating his shots. It’s an issue that is constant no matter where he is in the offensive zone. When down low, he will struggle with manipulating the opposing goaltender as he looks to key up a quality shot opportunity. If he manages to lure the goaltender into a vulnerable position, he will have issues generating the necessary height in his shot to beat the goaltender clean. When taking a snap shot from range and implements a weight transfer, his plant leg ends up facing away from the net and that hurts his shot accuracy. It’s not just his footing. He also needs to work on the weight transfer itself as he doesn’t exert his body forward enough to garner enough power behind his shot.
While he does struggle generating height and hasn’t mustered the production that you would generally associate with a top NHL Draft prospect, he did have a bit of success last season with his shot. He was able to use his wind-mill stick-handling to help muster up the wind-up necessary to score with his wrist shot. In addition, he did notch an excellent backhand top shelf goal from inside the face-off circle (medium danger) against Ilves on November 20, 2020. But, top shelf backhand goals do seem to be more rare for Lambert.
When it comes to puck movement, Lambert thinks two moves ahead. He will complete behind the back passes as he cuts to centered ice and a teammate comes rushing up the left half-wall. If he collects the puck off of a pass when he’s near the corner facing the blue line, he’ll skate towards the blue line, button hook, and throw a pass back to the corner. That brings the defender with him and opens up ice down low in the corner. Lambert is aware that with his excellent puck skills that he can lure defenders to him and open up lanes for his teammates.
While he does have quite a bit of success with his puck movement, he does face challenges when separating himself from the last defender. He will struggle at turning towards the net and completely beating the last defender when he’s one on one with the defender and getting close to the red line.
In terms of setting up goals, Lambert has more success with secondary assists than he does with primary assists, but we still situations in which he finds a tight lane to exploit with a cross ice pass.
Also, he isn’t afraid of back-tracking, carrying the puck towards the boards behind the opposing net and completing a pass to an open teammate in the slot.
Defensively, Lambert looks to play man-on-man prevent defense in the slot. Along the boards, he will keep a short leash on puck carriers. If an attacker grabs possession of a loose puck and no teammate of Lambert’s is there to defend him, Lambert will put pressure on the attacker and force him to get out of medium/high danger to low danger to attempt to neutralize the threat. Not only does Lambert assume responsibility and plays the puck carrier, but he also does a good job of quickly shifting over to the puck carrier and putting pressure on him against the boards. When approaching puck carriers behind the red line, he will drop back, close in on the attack and look to grab possession of the puck.
At the point, he will occasionally look to bend down and lower himself to block shots. Not only will he look to block shots at the point, but when putting pressure on defenders with the puck at the point he’ll look to extend his stick out towards the boards and force the defender to make a rash decision with the puck.
Similar to his physical challenges in the offensive zone, when going in for checks in the corner on the puck carrier, he doesn’t have the necessary strength to disrupt the puck carrier. It’s a gentle hit. Not much force.
When looking to key up a zone exit/rush, he displays excellent stick-handling reach when looking to navigate out of the defensive zone. Lambert will double back if facing oncoming pressure when in control of the puck.
Lambert thrives at problem solving. When facing pressure, he doesn’t dump the puck in, instead he drops back and finds a teammate with an open lane. That isn’t his only move to get up the ice while encountering the attack. With traffic bearing down on him while on the rush, he plays the puck through the attackers legs, collects the puck, zone entry, goes to the net, snap shot shot goal, pulls the goaltender to the right and shoots left.
Constantly, Lambert drives up the neutral zone evading traffic. He will navigate around traffic in the neutral zone with ease even when there are multiple attackers closing in on him. Lambert has good puck security. He will position the puck facing the boards instead of positioning the puck towards the attack and will keep the puck moving with light taps towards the center of his stick blade.
When entering into the offensive zone and facing tight pressure, he displays quality stick-handling to get past the blue-line. If he faces pressure, he’ll buttonhook and use crossovers to fuel the tight turn and accelerate up the ice with the puck to dodge pressure and find an open lane to use for the rush.
In those situations in which he doesn’t complete controlled zone entries, he will look to make the optimal pass. Lambert will complete backhand zone entry passes at centered ice and pass to a teammate at the the blue-line. He likes to utilize light tap passes to his wingers in the neutral zone while in stride. When in possession of the puck and skating right to left and pulls pressure to him, he’ll look to swerve the puck to the right, find enough space to pass the puck to a forward heading into the offensive zone without pressure on him. Even if Lambert knows that he can’t get off a clean pass, he still moves the puck towards his teammate with open ice if he is in a real tight jam. But, most of the time, he can use his puck manipulation right before he attempts a zone entry pass. He’ll play with the puck closer to the right of his body, drag the attacker to the right, swing the puck to the left and throw a backhand pass to a teammate driving to the offensive zone blue line.
When defending the rush, he won’t go too far out of his way to shut down the rush, but if the rush comes to him in the neutral zone, he’ll extend his stick out towards the rush and look to trap the rush along the boards. For the majority of opponent rush attempts, Lambert does a good job of facing the rush in most situations in the neutral zone.
When playing loose pucks, he has a tendency to over-skate the puck. Yet, he does implement excellent speed to catch up to loose pucks.
In transition, Lambert has excellent usage of crossovers mid-rush for momentum when driving down the ice with possession of the puck. He will interchanges skate extensions and crossovers very fluidly. There aren’t many rush attempts in which he doesn’t implement crossovers for accelerating when driving up the ice with possession of the puck. In general, his crossovers are tight and well-sequenced. Not only will he use quality crossovers in transition, but he will also use them to fuel his puck movement from the left half-wall to the right half-wall in the offensive zone. Prior to implementing his crossovers, he will implement a quality hop to start the rush. Off the hop, he uses two lengthier skate extensions and then goes into crossovers.
Lambert has a good hockey stop. He can stop on a dime. In rare situations, there are mobility issues when stopping as his skates will be further apart than where you would want them to be, but his stopping ability allows him to catch defenders off guard and make changes with puck movement very quickly.
Sometimes when he isn’t aggressively hunting on the forecheck but still heads toward the puck carrier, his legs are far apart which causes him to slow down/pizza. That hurts his mobility and cuts down on acceleration. Needs to work on acceleration when going after puck retrievals behind the offensive zone red line.
When he’s looking to keep his feet moving, but not looking to move at full speed, he’ll use multiple short extensions with his right skate to put himself in gear.
First line forward if his shot develops nicely. If he struggles to develop his shot, then you are probably looking at a top nine forward projection.
October 19, 2021
stats from InStat and EliteProspects
Prospect report written by Josh Tessler. If you would like to follow Josh on Twitter, his handle is @JoshTessler_.
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