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 Joel Blomqvist.
Finland has produced a number of quality goaltenders in recent years. Joel Blomqvist is the latest goalie down the pipeline. He spent most of the year with Karpat’s junior team in the Finnish Under-20 league, putting up a .931 save percentage in 34 games. Blomqvist also played at the Junior Club World Championships. He even got the opportunity to play two games in Finland’s top men’s league, something rare for a teenage goaltender. Blomqvist also played three games for Finland at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup, with a .919 save percentage. Considered too advanced for junior teams, Blomqvist has been sent out on loan to Hermes next season. He will play in the Mestis, Finland’s second division for men’s hockey.
Last season Blomqvist helped the Karpat Under-20 team to the Junior League title. He had a .938 save percentage in 11 regular-season games and a .947 save percentage in three playoff games. He also played for the Under-18 team with a .935 save percentage in 19 regular-season games and a .926 save percentage in six playoff games. Blomqvist represented Finland at the Under-17 World Hockey Challenge, playing five games with an .894 save percentage and helping Finland to a silver medal.
Joel Blomqvist Scouting Report
Goalie — shoots Left — catches Left
Born January 10th, 2002 — Pietarsaari, Finland
Height 6’1″ — Weight 205 lbs [185 cm/93 kg]
Skating and Talent Analysis
At 6-foot-1 Blomqvist has decent size, but is not quite at the level that NHL teams are looking for in their goalie prospects in recent years. He prefers to play deeper in the crease, not really coming out to challenge shooters or cut down angles. However, he follows the puck well and is square to the shot. Blomqvist fights to find the puck through screens. He is also a smart goalie, anticipating where the puck is going and is a step ahead. He also has a good push laterally, allowing him to get across the crease quickly. Blomqvist has outstanding athleticism. Even when seemingly out of the play, he never gives up and this can lead to some outstanding saves as a result.
Blomqvist plays a hybrid style. He prefers to stay on his feet to take away shots at the top of the net. He also has a quick glove hand and a good blocker. Blomqvist has quick as well as strong legs. On low shots he gets down in the butterfly quickly, taking away the bottom of the net. His rebound control is advanced for a young goaltender as he keeps the puck close to him when possible and kicks pucks into the corners when it is not. Even when he gives up a rebound, he recovers quickly and gets his body square to the puck. Blomqvist is a strong skater and it is difficult to beat him coming in on a deke.
Blomqvist has decent puckhandling ability. He gets out of his net quickly and knocks down dump-ins behind the net. He also can make a short pass to a defenceman to start the transition game, moving the puck quickly enough. In our viewings, we did not see Blomqvist do anything out of the ordinary in terms of a long pass to a forward, or handling the puck under pressure.
Blomqvist has been playing ahead of his age group for several years now. This has helped him to develop a maturity to his game. He is calm and composed when facing heavy traffic. He also comes up big in important games. Defencemen can look at Blomqvist for a level of leadership. He understands when to get a whistle to slow down the play if his team needs a change, or to keep the puck moving, getting it to a defenceman if there is a chance for a counter-attack. If he does give up a bad goal, he comes back ready to make the next save, not allowing mistakes to spiral out of control.
Projection and Comparison
His Finnish team has determined that Blomqvist is ready to move from the junior ranks and play against men next season. This is good for his development as he will face harder shots and bigger, stronger opponents. He has the potential to develop into a number one goaltender if given the time and if things go well. Blomqvist will likely spend a year or two in Europe before heading to North America and should compete for the spot on Finland’s World Junior teams over the next two years. Blomqvist’s style is reminiscent of Henrik Lundqvist but this is a stylistic comparison only and not one based on skill and ability.
The following is a compilation of some of the highlight packages and features of Joel Blomqvist that are available on youtube.
Check back tomorrow for the next prospect on our draft board.
Joel Blomqvist Main Photo:
We had the opportunity to interview 2020 NHL Draft eligible goalie Joel Blomqvist. He was named the best goalie in the Finnish U20 league this past season. Here is the interview: https://t.co/IXNFBevORA @karpatu20 @OulunKarpatFi @HermesKokkola #2020NHLDraft
— Finnish Jr Hockey (@FINjrhockey) April 26, 2020