Welcome back to Top Shelf Prospects, the daily column that brings you the next crop of professional hockey players. Each day I will bring you a new player profile or topical article in the lead-up to the 2020 NHL Draft. Be sure to bookmark the site, follow me on Twitter, and spread the word for the site that will bring you analytical and critical profiles and scouting reports! Last Word On Hockey Prospects is your new headquarters for everything “NHL Draft”! We have a complete listing of our draft articles here. Today we look at Anton Lundell.
Finnish hockey has exploded in recent years as their program continues to crank out elite prospects. In this draft class, it continues with Anton Lundell, a centre who helped the team to the 2019 World Junior Gold Medal when he put up four points in seven games. Unfortunately, injury kept him from playing in the 2020 Tournament. Lundell also added four points in five games at the 2019 IIHF Under 18 World Championships, where he was named a top-three player on the team. Lundell won a gold medal at the 2018 Under-18s, putting up six points in seven games. He put up two points in four games at the 2018 Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, as well as seven points in five games at the 2017 Under-17 World Hockey Challenge.
He has also played ahead of the rest of his age group in domestic leagues. Lundell put up 10 goals and 28 points in 48 games in the SM-Liiga this season. This follows up on 2018-19 when he scored nine goals and 19 points in 38 games. It is impressive production considering his age and that he is playing in Finland’s top men’s league.
Anton Lundell Scouting Report
Center — shoots Left
Born October 3rd, 2001 — Espoo, Finland
Height 6’1″ — Weight 185 lbs [185 cm / 84 kg]
Lundell has very good speed once he gets moving, however, his overall skating can be improved. His first few steps are a bit clunky and this also affects his acceleration. He can also improve his agility, edgework and changes of direction. On the rush, once he gets moving, his speed is adequate though, and it forces defenders to back off him or get burned wide. That said, the majority of hockey is stops, starts, and changes in direction. Lundell really needs to improve his explosiveness and footwork in these areas. Lundell is strong on his skates and protects the puck well down low. He can fight through checks and take the puck to the dangerous areas of the ice. He also wins his fair share of battles along the boards and in front of the net.
Lundell uses good stickhandling to create space and make plays. He is able to make quick moves to create space and then take advantage of the wider passing lanes and thus is very dangerous in transition. He also uses his strength and balance to extend plays, allowing linemates to get open. He creates scoring chances thanks to his outstanding vision and playmaking skill. Lundell controls the puck on the powerplay and can use his passing ability to create scoring chances for teammates. He is a smart player who always seems to be in the right spot.
While mainly a playmaker, Lundell can also score goals. He could stand to shoot more as this would help him be more unpredictable and make him even more dangerous. His wrist shot and snapshot are both hard and accurate. They also feature a quick release that can beat goaltenders. Lundell is also effective in front of the net, where he can get rebounds and deflections. He is able to extend plays by controlling the puck down low and working in the cycle game.
Lundell also uses his high-end hockey IQ in the defensive end as he’s already a strong two-way player. He does a good job of bringing backpressure and forcing opponents into bad situations when supporting the defence against the rush. He also does a good job of supporting the defence down low and defending against the cycle game. As Lundell matures and gets stronger, he will be even better at this. Lundell also has a quick stick, which helps him to create turnovers which are quickly transitioned into offensive chances. He is also good in the face-off circle.
Projection and Comparison
Lundell is an excellent all-around player. There are some questions about his skating, but this can be improved with a good skating coach. He can do it all in both ends of the ice and should become an important contributor to his future team on both the power play and the penalty kill. However, he needs some time to continue developing and could be a year or two away from being NHL ready. Lundell’s game is reminiscent of Patrice Bergeron, however, this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill or ability. If he cannot improve his skating, he is likely to be transitioned to play left wing at some point.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Anton Lundell that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Anton Lundell Main Photo:
VANCOUVER, BC – JANUARY 5: Anton Lundell #29 of Finland skates against the United States during a gold medal game at the IIHF World Junior Championships at Rogers Arena on January 5, 2019, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Kevin Light/Getty Images)