2020-21 Team: Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
Date of Birth: Jan. 29, 2003
Place of Birth: Oula, FIN
Ht: 6-feet Wt: 179 pounds
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2021 first-year eligible
- NHL Central Scouting: 65th (North American skaters)
- Peter Baracchini’s Final Rankings: 105th
- Andrew Forbes’ May Rankings: Not ranked
- Matthew Zator’s April Rankings: Not ranked
- Smaht Scouting: 103rd
- FC Hockey: 73rd
Marjala made the trip across the pond for his first taste of North American hockey this past season. After 61 goals and 150 points in 125 games over three seasons for Karpat in the Finnish junior leagues, he headed to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) for the 2020-21 season. The Quebec Remparts selected the two-way winger with the 14th overall pick of the 2021 Canadian Hockey League (CHL) Import Draft.
Related: THW 2021 NHL Draft Guide
His final stop in Finland was with the Karpat U20 team, where he had three goals and eight points in 20 games. Those numbers don’t jump off the page, but that team was loaded with elite NHL prospects like Aatu Raty, Samu Tuomaala, and Ville Koivunen. The talented roster forced Marjala to play a more defensive-minded role for the team, which he excelled at.
The young Finnish forward has developed a solid two-way game while becoming a force on the power play. After moving to the QMJHL, Marjala focused more on setting up his teammates than scoring goals. He had 22 assists to go with his five goals in his 30 games for the Remparts. He led all QMJHL rookies in power-play plays, was second in assists, and third in overall scoring.
While Marjala is a strong skater, he does not have game-changing speed by any means. Even though he didn’t shoot as much with Quebec as he previously had, he still has a heavy and accurate shot. He prefers to shoot from in close than taking low-percentage shots. His playmaking is what turns heads. He uses his vision and enhanced instincts to create scoring chances for his teammates.
Marjala plays a smart and responsible defensive game. He understands his role and positions himself well on the ice. He plays much better than his listed 178 pounds. He battles hard for pucks and uses his body well to establish positioning on defense and protecting the puck when it’s in his possession.
Other THW Draft Profiles:
Viljami Marjala – NHL Draft Projection
Marjala is one of those players who could hear his name get called at any time on the second day of the draft. Some boards have him going as early as the late second round while others have him falling down to the fifth round. Look for him to go at some point in the third round or early fourth.
“Marjala is a very skilled offensive forward who can play at center or wing. His strengths are in the offensive zone where he can make great plays but he also knows how to finish them. He is a very good skater and capable of making plays at high speed.” Jokke Nevalainen, Dobber Prospects
“Overall, Marjala plays the kind of winning hockey that coaches desire from their player regardless of role or skill set. The sum of his skills adds up to a smart, unselfish, team-first player, who seamlessly fits in any scheme. His stealth-like presence pounces on unaware opponents leading to offensive opportunities.” Danny McGillicuddy, The Draft Analyst
“He is a skilled playmaker who can see the ice at a high level off the flank and hit seams consistently. Marjala can make plays through defenders but lacks the quickness to execute those kinds of plays on the move. He controls pucks quite well, though, and makes tough plays in small areas. While he works hard enough he’s not an overly physical player and can drift to the perimeter. You would have liked to have seen him score a few more goals (five in 30 games in 2020-21), as his game can lack finish. In a sentence, Marjala’s skill and vision give him a chance but his game may have too many holes to play in the NHL.” From “Top 151 Prospects for 2021 NHL Draft” by Corey Pronman, The Athletic, 6/15/21
- Hockey IQ
Under Construction (Improvements to Make)
- Compete Level
With the proper development, Marjala could be a middle-six winger in the NHL who is an option on the power play. He still needs to work on his speed and finishing plays before he can even consider turning pro. He will be a long-term project before he can even threaten for an NHL roster spot.
Risk – 4/5 | Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 6/10 | Defense – 5/10
Marjala won a U16 SM-sarja silver medal with Karpat in 2018 before winning a league championship the following season. He was named the QMJHL Rookie of the Month for January 2021 thanks to finishing the month with three straight multi-point games.
Viljami Marjala Statistics
Greg Boysen has been writing about the Chicago Blackhawks since 2010 and has been a site manager for both FanSided and SB Nation. He has been published in The Hockey News and was fully credentialed for the 2013 Stanley Cup Final. Among his various roles with The Hockey Writers are covering the Blackhawks, the AHL, writing the daily “Today in Hockey History” column, serving as a copy editor, and appearing and hosting multiple YouTube shows, including Blackhawks Banter. He is credentialed with the Chicago Wolves, Rockford IceHogs, and Milwaukee Admirals, while also being a regional scout for the NAHL. And, just because his plate isn’t full enough, Greg hosts trivia in the Chicago area two nights a week. For interview requests or to provide topic suggestions, follow Greg on Twitter and reach out.