A top defenseman for the 2020 NHL Entry draft is injured to start the season. Anton Lundell shows off his offensive upside and a recent loanee from the Montreal Canadiens shines in the Finnish Liiga preseason.
Barron Out For QMJHL Opener
With the start of the 2020-21 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) closing in on Oct. 2, the Halifax Mooseheads will be forced to start the season without one of their key contributors. The team announced that defenseman Justin Barron will be out indefinitely following a medical procedure in Ontario. An announcement on the exact details is expected in a few days. Barron struggled with complications due to a blood clot during the 2019-20 season.
Barron was considered a first-round talent for the upcoming 2020 NHL Entry Draft. While he will likely still hear his name called, it’s unclear how this injury will affect his draft stock come Oct. 6. He played in 34 games for the Mooseheads last season amassing four goals and 19 points.
Lundell Excelling in Liiga Preseason
Known more for his two-way style of play, Anton Lundell is trying to prove doubters wrong during the 2020-21 Finnish Liiga preseason. One of the main reasons that Lundell hasn’t been able to lock down a spot in the Top 10 has been the concerns around his potential offensive upside. Well, with seven goals and 13 points in 11 games this preseason, Lundell is making a bid to climb up the rankings before the 2020 NHL Entry Draft on Oct. 6. His most recent performance was a two-goal and one assist effort in a 6-5 win over the Lahti Pelicans on Friday.
Lundell played the entire 2019-20 season in the Finnish Liiga with HIFK. In 44 games played he had 10 goals and 18 assists for 28 points. He finished seventh in scoring among HIFK players. The Liiga regular season is slated to begin on Oct. 1, with the last round of preseason games taking place this weekend. He currently sits third in league scoring during the preseason.
Ylönen Starts Hot For Pelicans
Last week the Canadiens loaned Finnish prospect, Jesse Ylönen, to the Lahti Pelicans. He’s played in two games since the loan move and it’s paid instant dividends for both the player and the team. He has scored four goals since his arrival in the Finnish Liiga. He’ll be looking to improve on his 2019-20 season with the Pelicans in which he posted 12 goals and 22 points in 53 games played.
A former second-round pick, Ylonen is expected to return to the Canadiens when Montreal & Laval Rocket training camps open in December. He’s yet to make his debut in North America, so this could be the season where we see the young winger get a chance with either the NHL club or with the Rocket in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Prospect of the Day – Veeti Miettinen
For today’s prospect, we stick in Finland with Kiekko-Espoo U20 right winger Veeti Miettinen. NHL Central Scouting has Miettinen ranked 72nd among European skaters. In his final rankings, THW’s Larry Fisher ranked him 55th among all players.
Related: Our Free NHL Draft Guide
Miettinen spent the entire 2019-20 season playing in the Jr. A SM-liiga for Kiekko-Espoo U20. He amassed 42 goals and 31 assists for 73 points in 52 games played. Miettinen led the entire league in scoring, standing 12 points higher than the second place contributor. He is committed to St. Cloud State University in the NCAA for the 2020-21 season.
THW’s own Mathieu Sheridan had this to say about Miettinen’s scoring ability.
What really sets Miettinen apart from others though is his scoring ability. He has the unique ability to find open space and he makes the opponents pay. He is not afraid to go to the net to find the loose puck and is rewarded for his efforts more often than not. He also has a lethal shot. When given time and space, Miettinen is able to get his shot off in a hurry and makes his opponents pay more often than not.
Miettinen’s size at only 5’9″ and the fact he played in the Jr. A SM-liiga will likely cause him to fall outside the first two rounds come Oct. 6. He’s a very skillful player and there will be teams that will bypass the aforementioned knocks, but I’d expect him to get selected somewhere in the third round. He has a chance to become a top-six contributor at the NHL level.