With the 17th pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators selected forward Joakim Kemell from JYP of the Finnish Liiga. Ranked 10th on my final draft board, Kemell is a 5’11” winger who scored 15 goals and 23 points in 39 pro games this year. 11 of those points were primary ones scored at even strength, leading all draft-eligible forwards who played 15 or more games in the Liiga this season.
Kemell also added six goals and eight points in five games for Finland at the 2022 U18 World Junior Championship, leading his team.
The April-born winger, who scored nine goals in his first 11 Liiga games this year, is a pure sniper despite his stature. He doesn’t have elite speed, but he plays with good pace and can pull pucks off the wall and out of scrums, reversing play quickly. There are some refinements to be made to his skating mechanics, but they are solid overall.
Kemell may be the best finisher in this draft class with a deceptive, powerful release that can score from distance. He’s a crisp, accurate passer and doesn’t shy away from engaging physically to win puck battles in the offensive zone. His shot allows him to force defenders into mistakes and create space around the net, but I would like to see him be more patient and use that space to set up his teammates.
Kemell signed a contract extension last fall that lasts through the 2023-24 season.