2022-23 Team: KooKoo U20 (Finland)
Date of Birth: March 7, 2005
Place of Birth: Valkeala, Finland
Height: 5-foot-11, Weight: 165 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: first-year draft eligible
- NHL Central Scouting (EU Skaters): 28th
- FC Hockey: 85th
- Recruit Scouting: 23rd
- Draft Prospects Hockey: 94th
- The Hockey News: 42nd
- The Hockey Writers (Horn): 76th
- The Hockey Writers (Baracchini): 74th
Jesse Nurmi is a Finnish forward who played primarily for KooKoo’s U20 team in the Finnish junior league, totaling 21 goals and 50 points in 41 games. He managed to appear in nine contests for KooKoo’s senior team in the Finnish Liiga, where he collected one assist. He had a strong showing for Team Finland at the U18 World Junior Championship, with five points in five games.
Related: 2023 NHL Draft Guide
I wouldn’t call Nurmi a dynamic forward, but his offensive arsenal is the strength of his game. He’s a high-end playmaker, as he can get the puck into tight spaces with his passing ability. His vision is quite good, which helps him make smart decisions with the puck on his stick in the offensive zone.
While Nurmi’s playmaking is his strength, he’s a capable shooter. For a smaller player, he’s also not afraid to get into high-danger areas and get scoring chances. Here’s an example against Team USA in U18 action back in February, where he redirected a shot for a goal from the slot:
Nurmi’s skating is quite good, which is a plus for a player who’s only 5-foot-11, 165 pounds. He excels on the rush and has the offensive upside to fit in on a modern NHL team. He needs to become a bit more consistent, as sometimes it seems like his compete level is a bit all over the place. But when he’s on, it’s easy to see his potential.
Plus, Nurmi is a solid two-way forward, which isn’t always part of the package with wingers. He needs to get stronger to keep developing his two-way presence as he works his way up the pro ranks, but it’s there. If he weren’t undersized, there’d likely be some more hype about him heading into the draft.
Other THW Draft Profiles
Jesse Nurmi — NHL Draft Projection
There aren’t a ton of rankings for Nurmi, which I find a bit surprising, given his production in the Finnish U20 league. And for what’s available, he’s ranked as high as 23rd and as low as 94th. Perhaps there’ll be a bit more of a consensus as the draft approaches. But I would be surprised if he were still available past the third round. There’s a projectable player with two-way upside who has plenty of room to develop at 5-foot-11, 165 pounds.
“Nurmi is a versatile offensive forward who can beat opponents with his shot or pass the puck to his linemates for a tap-in goal. Playing against a considerably weaker Norwegian team, he showcased some of his offensive skills in this game. He looked like he was flying on the ice, and you could tell his confidence was high.” – Rasmus Tornqvist, FC Hockey.
Latest News & Highlights
“[Nurmi’s] an outstanding passer, and sees the ice very well; he scans a lot which I particularly like. As well, he’s a pretty strong defensive player, especially for a winger; he positions himself well, drops down low to support his defencemen, and is quick on loose pucks; he reads play extremely well and uses his speed to rush in and block a pass before it happens. He’s a good option on the penalty kill with his strong defensive play and speed, allowing him to mount a counterattack should the opportunity arise…” – Gray Matter, Smaht Hockey.
“Currently the top scorer in Finland’s U20 league, I was very intrigued by Nurmi coming into the tournament. He had some especially noticeable moments, playing with good pace and showing some skill here and there, but I don’t think it was consistent enough. He’s not a big player and probably not quick enough to make as big an impact as he otherwise could. He’s been so good with his club this year, but getting a chance to compare and contrast him to top players on other teams, he didn’t necessarily stack up. That’s not to take away anything from what he’s done this season because you can see the skill and the way he thinks the game” – Chris Peters, FloHockey (Nov. 13, 2022).
- Rush game
- Two-way upside
Under Construction — Improvements to Make
- Consistency, especially in the offensive zone
- Compete level
If Nurmi reaches his potential, he could become a middle-six winger who gets power-play time and chips in offensively at five-on-five. He might have some defensive value at that game state too.
Risk: 3.5/5, Reward: 3.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense: 7/10, Defense: 6.5/10
Nurmi won the bronze medal with Team Finland at the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in Aug. 2022 and was a U20 SM-sarja First Team All-Star in 2022-23.