Photo Credit: Liiga/Jiri Halttunen
Scouting Report written by Josh Tessler
Joakim Kemell is a top prospect for the 2022 NHL Draft. Kemell plays for JYP Jyväskylä in the Liiga. He is a Finnish citizen and hails from Jyväskylän maalaiskunta, Finland. For those who are unfamiliar with Finnish geography, Jyväskylä is roughly the mid-way point between Tampere, Finland and Kuopio, Finland. Jyväskylän maalaiskunta translates to “The Rural Municipality of Jyväskylä” and is considered a suburb of Jyväskylä.
Kemell played for JYP (U16, U18 and U20) throughout his youth. He made his Liiga debut in 2020-2021 and scored his first Liiga goal in the same game. This season, Kemell has been on scoring tear. As of October 31, 2021, Kemell leads Liiga in goals (12) and total points (18).
D.O.B – April 27, 2004
Nationality – Finland
Draft Eligibility – 2022
Weight –176 lbs
Position – Right Wing
Handedness – Right
Kemell’s Style Of Play
If there are multiple teammates engaged in a puck battle along the opposite boards, he’ll come close and provide an outlet incase his teammates pick up the puck. Or if the opponent picks up the puck, he’s in position to close in on the attacker. When puck battles are on the other side of the ice, Kemell shifts over to centered ice to offer a passing lane and he’s then ready to defend against an opponent rushing towards the slot.
He is an active stick forechecker as he looks to force quick decisions with the puck by extending his stick blade out. Kemell likes to swing his stick at the puck like a golf club if he knows he’s clearly out-beaten when on the forecheck, but still tries to make contact with the puck. While he does like using an active stick on the forecheck, I’d argue that his active stick isn’t effective. He will extend his stick out to the left or right from afar to try to take away passing lanes, yet he’s so far away that it’s not making much of an impact. If Kemell can work on acceleration, he could be a stronger active stick forechecker, but his speed holds him back. You also see similar issues with his physicality on the forecheck. Kemell tries to be physical and assertive on the forecheck but is always seem to be too late to the puck. However, in a contest on October 30th, I did see him deliver an open ice hit in the offensive zone that was successful as it neutralized a breakout attempt by the attack. Hopefully we will see his acceleration continue to develop and see him use the acceleration to bolster his forechecking.
Kemell does have some puck security concerns as sometimes he’ll carry the puck towards the toe of his stick blade. Yet, I would argue that he doesn’t always struggle with puck security. There are sequences in which his puck security is solid, for instance, he will manage to secure the puck when facing close vest to vest pressure in the offensive zone. But, if the attacker is using an active stick and trying to pry the puck away from him with a poke check, he does seem more susceptible to coughing up possession. There are situations in which the puck was stripped away from him right at the offensive zone blue-line by the defender implementing an active stick.
But, in general, Kemell is a quality stick-handler. He has good stick-handling reach to regain pucks if he loses control of them. He is rather efficient at luring the the attacker in and then cradles the puck right around him quickly. Sometimes he’ll extend his legs further out from each other to force the attacker to lower and widen himself which forces the attacker to slow down and lose momentum, then Kemell uses a wind-mill stick-handle to navigate around and cut to the net. Kemell has also proven that he can shift around really well along the boards with the attack putting pressure on him.
On the power play, he’ll shift up and down the half-wall and look to work the cycle and find passing lanes. Kemell will look to complete backhand passes from the half-wall to the point to key up a goals from low danger and that has led to primary assists. Kemell does a quality job of generating scoring chances by passing to to the low slot. Although he does struggle with consistency with dangerous passing. Most of his inconsistency has to do with vision and sometimes misidentifying the trajectory that the attacker will take when looking to put pressure on him teammates in the slot.
Kemell’s shot is his calling card and he seems to find the most success when shooting one-timers. He’s had quite a few highlight reel one-timer goals to start the season. His one-timer can be electric from both distance and from up close. Kemell can generate height on his one-timer from up close and will look to bend his knee and have the other knee lying down on the ice to provide enough power to generate one-timer top shelf goals in medium danger.
Not only does he have the ability to generate quality top shelf one-timer scoring chances, but he will also create open ice and open up a passing lane for one-timers. He will notice that the attack is overcommitting to his teammates passing the puck to each other behind the net, so he finds open ice on the right side on the power play, once he finds open ice, his teammate passes to him and he delivers a one-timer goal blocker side.
While he has found quite a bit of success with his one-timers, he isn’t always consistent on getting one-timers on net. He has a habit of whiffing one-timers and shooting his one-timers wide. Ultimately, he needs to work on his footing and how his footing lines up with the net. Kemell does have solid weight transferring and can generate height on his one-timers, but whiffing the puck and shooting wide can have a lot to do with skate placement and how they line up.
Aside from his one-timers, he also has found quite a bit of success with his wrist shot as well. He has scored multiple wrist shot goals from medium danger and the perimeter. He has managed to get quality height and power with his wrist shot. He doesn’t have a huge wind-up on his wrist shot, but he doesn’t need it clearly as he can generate all the power that he needs with a shortened wind-up and a quick flick of the stick.
Similarly to his forechecking work, he uses an active stick when defending. He will wave his stick towards the puck carrier to force rash decision making. He will occasionally try to swing his stick at a puck carrier’s puck in the slot like a golf club as a last ditch effort when he couldn’t quite catch up to the carrier.
Kemell maintains good presence all over the zone. He’ll man the point and when a defender has possession of the puck at the point, he’ll lower and widen himself to force a shot from low danger. Kemell will drop back behind his net to put pressure on the puck carrier. If his center isn’t covering the forward rushing into the slot, he’ll take over and skate alongside the forward to keep an eye on him and to attempt to close a potential passing lane.
He won’t overwhelm you with pressure but he’s present and will lay down a hit. Normally his hits don’t do much as he is generally late to the puck carrier. Similarly to his physical play in the offensive zone, his acceleration limits his ability to generate checks that lead to a turnover in possession for the attack. By the time that he lays down a hit, the attacker has already moved the puck.
From a puck movement perspective, similar to some of his challenges with puck security in the offensive zone, there are some instances in the defensive zone where he coughs up the puck and carries it by the toe of his blade. In addition, he needs to work on maintaining puck possession in the defensive zone when facing pressure from an attacker’s shoulder.
In addition to some of the stick-handling challenges that he has in both the offensive and defensive zones, he also has some peripheral vision issues that pop up when he attempts to complete a breakout pass. He misidentifies where the attack is and/or where the attack is headed and that leads to inaccurate passes.
While he does struggle at times with breakout passing, he does find ways to get the puck out of the defensive zone in high traffic situations. When he gains possession of the puck off of a pass in the corner and he sees the attack bearing down on him, he’ll throw the puck along the boards to ricochet out to his forward further down in the defensive zone. Kemell has also completed zone exits by throwing the puck to the boards to get around an attacker, and then regaining possession of the puck once he has maneuvered around the attack. He will opt to use similar techniques in the neutral zone.
As I just mentioned, Kemell will utilize the boards in transition to ricochet the puck off the boards to get around attacker similar to Carolina Hurricanes prospect Seth Jarvis. He doesn’t always succeed at bouncing the puck off the boards in transition and regaining. Sometimes he’s just slightly too far from the boards for that to truly work.
He will also utilize the boards for puck security. If a defender is trying to close in on him at the offensive zone blue-line, he’ll cradle the puck to the left towards the boards, to secure the puck by keeping the puck away from the attacker and then complete a swing pass to the F1.
But, at open ice, he will encounter puck security issues. For instance, there are situations where he will capture possession of a zone exit pass in the neutral zone, but Kemell will struggle to hold onto the puck for long when the attack come rushing at him. If the attacker is using an active stick, the attacker has the upper hand and can strip the puck from Kemell with ease.
As I brought up in his offensive zone and defensive zone play, Kemell does struggle with acceleration and it becomes rather evident when defending in the neutral zone. More often than not, Kemell is playing from behind. When playing from behind, he will stick-lift up towards the attacker’s back. He’ll engage in open ice checks in the neutral zone, but he’s too slow and the targeted attacker has already move the puck before contact.
Kemell implements good outside edges to stay aligned with the puck carrier while on the forecheck and when shifting around defenders in the offensive zone. He will also deploy quality crossovers when circling around the zone on the power play. Kemell leans heavily on crossover usage in transition. Kemell will favor crossovers over stride extensions.
Kemell utilizes short skate extensions through the neutral zone when going after a loose puck. He struggles to get to the loose puck, the attack will gets to it first and Kemell’s stride extension length didn’t help him garner the necessary speed to grab a hold of the puck. Kemell will struggle to keep balance on his stride extensions. He has a bit of a knocked knee which slows him down and can harm his balance when completing a skate recovery. His knocked knee can also prevent Kemell from deploying quality ankle flexion. When he’s shifting his leg back in a recovery, his knee needs to be closer to the toe of his skate. With his knocked knee and ankle flexion issues, he can’t generate a true power stride and that prohibits his ability to kick it into high gear. With that said, there are plenty of NHLers who have a knocked knee and garner acceleration with their stride, so I’m not overly concerned.
Second line winger, who can be a threat on a NHL power-play.
November 1, 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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