2019-20 Team: KooKoo / Liiga
Date of Birth: Feb 17, 2000
Place of Birth: Benton City, Washington
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 183 lbs
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 Draft eligible
Before the 2020 World Junior Championships (WJC), Finnish winger Joonas Oden was considered a fringe NHL prospect by many outlets. He was undrafted in the 2019 NHL Draft, and his spot in Finland’s lineup wasn’t assured in the weeks before the WJC kicked off.
Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide
Oden, however, made the most of his WJC ice time. Alongside Patrik Puistola and Kristian Tanus, he formed Finland’s top line of the tournament, scoring six points, ranked third on the team.
His strong tournament along with his playing time with KooKoo in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league, has helped Oden’s draft stock. He has shown that he can keep up with men in KooKoo and has the talent to score when the pressure is on.
Joonas Oden – NHL Draft Projection
Despite being passed over at the 2019 Draft, Oden will likely breakthrough in 2020. While he is far from a complete package right now, he has those intangibles that should make him well worth a later-round selection for the right franchise.
Even if he slips down the board, it’s hard to imagine he will fall much farther than the mid-sixth round. As an over-ager who has professional experience in Finland, there will be a franchise who needs his talent and will be willing to take a swing on him just so he can start the 2020-21 season with their AHL franchise.
Given all of this, Oden will likely be a mid to late fifth- or sixth-round selection. He could go sooner, of course, but that would require a team to take a bit of a chance on him.
Oden was able to use his speed well when he carried the puck and he was able to create some offense with his skating abilities.Asko Huuki – Finnprospects.com
Joonas Oden… has a lot of speed and a good nose for the net.Jokke Nevalainen – Dobber Prospects
Additional snarl, intensity and urgency would enable him to win more puck battles and make him tougher to play against. However, I still like his skating, shot and offensive instincts…marcobombino – finnishjuniorhockey.com
- Fast and knows how to use his speed.
- Shows potential for a strong two-way game.
- Good poise with the puck.
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Needs to find consistent shift-to-shift success.
- Lacking physicality in his game.
- Limited offensive skillset
Related THW Draft Profiles
Under any circumstance, the odds are long for Oden to make his NHL dream a reality. It’s difficult for any player to break into the league, especially someone who is selected in the back-half of the draft.
With the NHL expanding to Seattle for the 2021-22 season, however, a door could open up for him. If Oden is drafted in 2020 and begins playing in the AHL immediately, he would have a full season with a franchise to show exactly where he is in his development.
If he looks ready to take on fourth-line ice time, he could get that chance sooner than expected as his team may need a new face or two after the expansion draft. This avenue to the league is unlikely, but it opens up more chances for a player in his position, assuming he has a full season in North America.
2/5 Risk, 3/5 Reward
As a later-round draft pick, the risk is low for someone like Oden. Is it likely that he breaks into the NHL? No, but if he did, it would be a very successful pick.
However, even if he does make it to the NHL, it’s hard to imagine he will earn more playing time than a bottom-six winger. While he could carve a niche out in that role, his top-end potential is limited.
Eugene Helfrick is a Tampa Bay Lightning writer who is actually from Tampa Bay. He has written about the Lightning for six years, covering everything from their run to the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, to their crushing first-round exit in 2019, to their redemption in the bubble in 2020. While he is happy to talk about just about anything from cows to cars to video games, hockey will always remain one of his favorite pastimes.