2019-20 Team: Jokerit U20
Date of Birth: Apr. 19, 2002
Place of Birth: Espoo, Finland
Ht: 6-foot-4 Wt: 198 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 20th (among EU Skaters)
- Future Considerations: 81st
- The Draft Analyst: 35th
- The Hockey Writers (Bell): 89th
- The Hockey Writers (Forbes): 68th
- The Hockey Writers (Fisher): 26th
Dynamic Finnish defenceman Joni Jurmo has been an intriguing player to follow over the last few months as two draft experts, THW’s own Larry Fisher and The Draft Analyst’s Steve Kournianos say that he will be an early second-round pick or even have his name called on opening day. This was after NHL Central Scouting and several other outlets including THW’s Bell and Forbes had him ranked in the third round or lower. Though, when you read more about him, you can understand why Fisher and Kournianos are so high on him. In fact, you can now include me on that list as well.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Jurmo’s rookie season with Jokerit of the Junior SM-liiga was a rousing success as he put up 5 goals and 23 assists in 43 games. He played in all situations and was the high-minute man on most nights. Unlike most potential high draft picks, he did not get a whole lot of international experience this season, as he was passed over for the Hlinka-Gretzky tournament and was used sparingly in the Sweden tournament. He did, however, have a strong showing at the U20 tournament in Germany where he had three goals and six points in four games.
Next season Jurmo will get the chance to play for JYP in the SM-Liiga as he recently chose to sign there. If he does ultimately make the team after training camp, it will be interesting to watch how he adjusts to the higher level of competition. If he can rise to the challenge, we will truly get to see how good he actually is.
The way Jurmo moves the puck and attacks the offensive zone is pretty amazing. He is still a raw talent in his own end, but his exceptional speed, vision, and offensive instincts should make that a moot point soon enough. In addition to that, he has the size that every team still covets, even though small, finesse defencemen like Cale Makar and Quinn Hughes dominated the NHL this past season. Size is still an important factor, especially if you have the mobility to go along with it, and Jurmo has that in spades.
Jurmo will be one to watch when the first round gets underway. If he can clean up his game in the defensive zone and improve on his decision making when moving up the ice, he has the potential to become a top-pairing blueliner in his prime. In fact, he could actually be one of the best European defencemen to come out of this draft. That’s some high praise for a prospect that could still end up being selected in the third round or later. Having said that, don’t expect him to still be there when the proceedings enter the second day.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Joni Jurmo – NHL Draft Projection
Jurmo has been ranked all over the place from deep in the third round to even squeaking into the coveted first round. If a team values the package he possesses and needs some mobility on their backend, don’t be surprised to see him selected near the end of the opening round.
“Jurmo has everything you would want in a potential top-pairing defenseman. He is an effortless skater with a long, clean stride , and he doesn’t buckle under the first sign of pressure. When it comes to the breakout, Jurmo utilizes quick thinking and a series of deceptive moves to either peel away from a forechecker or trap him with a bank pass. At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Jurmo can be an intimidating presence as he powers through the zone at top speed. His decision making with the puck is more clean than it is creative, but he has excellent vision and will delay in the offensive zone to open up a line for either a hard shot or an on-the-tape seam pass. And good luck trying to dance around him in a one-on-one scenario — Jurmo closes on rushing forwards in a hurry and will neutralize an entry attempt with either a strong body check or well-timed stick-on-puck.” – Steve Kournianos, The Draft Analyst
“Jurmo loves to take the puck from his own end and carry it all the way to the other end. And because of his puck-handling skills and skating ability, he can often be successful at that. But sometimes, he loves carrying the puck way too much and doesn’t even consider other options. He tries to force himself through traffic and if that fails, that usually means a breakaway or an odd-man rush against. He is capable of making good breakout passes, so it’s just a matter of making better decisions with the puck.” – Jokke Nevalainen, Dobber Prospects
“Jurmo is now my top European defenceman and the more I watch him, the more I’m convinced he is a first-round talent. I believe he has top-pairing potential based on his skating ability and his offensive instincts. There is refining and developing to be done, but the raw upside warrants this ranking. Jurmo reminds me a lot of fellow Finn Rasmus Ristolainen, who went eighth overall in 2013, but Jurmo hasn’t gotten as much exposure to date. He is still very underrated and could be labelled a sleeper based on other rankings and mock drafts. Jurmo is often labelled a project — thus the conservative rankings — but I’m ready to call him the real deal.” – Larry Fisher, The Hockey Writers
- Puck control
Under Construction – Improvements to Make
- Defensive awareness
If Jurmo can improve on his overall defensive game and make better decisions with the puck, he has the potential to become a top-four defenceman in the NHL. His overall package of size, skill, and mobility should make him a very interesting prospect to follow in the coming seasons.
Risk – 2/5, Reward – 4.5/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offence – 8.5/10, Defence – 6/10
In 2018-19, Jurmo won the Pekka Marjamäki Award for best defenceman in the Junior-B SM-sarja league and won a championship with Jokerit in that same league as well.
Matthew Zator is the assistant managing editor at THW and a writer who lives and breathes Vancouver Canucks hockey, the NHL Draft, and prospects in general. He loves talking about young players and their potential. Matthew is a must-read for Canucks fans and fans of the NHL Draft and its prospects. For interview requests or content information, you can follow Matthew through his social media accounts which are listed under his photo at the conclusion of articles like this one about Tyler Motte.