Nashville Predators Draft Joakim Kemell, Perhaps the Steal of the First Round
Picking all the way back at the 17th overall pick in the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, the Nashville Predators still managed to land an offensive juggernaut.
The Predators continued their recent streak of quality first round draft picks on Thursday night when they selected Finnish right winger Joakim Kemell. A selection that’s being praised by many analysts.
Kemell was regarded as one of the top offensive players in the draft class, and falling all the way back to the Predators surprised many in a draft that was unpredictable right from the start.
No one would’ve blinked an eye if Kemell went in the top-10, and yet he fell to the Predators.
It became abundantly clear that a high-end offensive prospect was going to fall to the Predators, but there was also the possibility that the they would go defenseman in the first round. That hasn’t happened since 2016 when they took Dante Fabrro.
Anytime you take an offensively gifted player like Kemell when he was widely rated as a top-10 level prospect, you have to be elated that he fell as far as he did. With this pick the Predators have added another pure goal scorer into their pipeline.
#Preds select Joakim Kemell 17th overall. I ranked him 4th overall.
Kemell scored at an excellent rate in Liiga – just under double the rate that 1st overall pick Juraj Slafkovsky did in the same league. Nashville snagging him here is the best value pick of the draft so far. pic.twitter.com/Tmjf0bRrGf
— Patrick Bacon (@TopDownHockey) July 8, 2022
Nashville Predators draft a bonafide offensive hustler
We always see the NHL comparables with these drafted players, and Kemell’s NHL comparable is one that will make you all warm and fuzzy inside; Viktor Arvidsson:
The Athletic’s @coreypronman is one of several analysts who compare #Preds first-round pick Joakim Kemell to former Nashville standout Viktor Arvidsson:
“He’s a highly skilled, competitive goal-scorer who played very well versus men this season.”
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) July 8, 2022
With us all still missing Arvidsson, it’s nice to know that Kemell can live up to that same style of play. The relentless hustle and aggressive skating to create offensive rushes is something the Nashville Predators need to keep stockpiling in their prospect pool.
Check out some of Kemell’s highlights via Advancement Hockey Advising on YouTube:
The first highlight shows Kemell (No.37) break into the high danger scoring area with smooth skating and snipe one past the netminder. So many examples when looking at this highlight reel of him finding the prime scoring areas and using that aggressive style of play that you read about in his scouting reports.
Outside of the obvious that Kemell has sniper ability to score the puck, the other thing to love about his game is his tenacity for winning puck battles. This is an awesome trait to see in such a young player, and one that will fit Predators’ style of play beautifully.
Kemell had a very respectable first season in Liiga over in Finland by notching an impressive 15 goals and 23 points in 39 games. This is Finland’s professional league that has a lot of quality competition.
Furthermore, Kemell has a lot of experience with the Finnish national team on the junior level, including 13 goals in 18 games for the Finland national junior teams.
According to Dobber Prospects, Kemell projects as a top-six NHL winger with a very high probability of reaching the NHL.
Kemell is praised as having a high motor, isn’t afraid to use his body to make physical plays, and of course has an outstanding knack to score goals.
As with the majority of draft picks, patience will be key when it comes to awaiting the arrival of Kemell. Only Philip Tomasino has hit the NHL ice over the last four Predators draft classes since 2018. It takes time.
With that said, Kemell’s path to the NHL should be pretty quick thanks to his well-rounded skillset and his raw ability to generate goals. He has a lot of traits that will serve him well in his path to the NHL.
I absolutely love this pick by the Nashville Predators, and almost every draft expert I’ve come across seems to agree. In an offseason with uncertainty clouding the Filip Forsberg ongoing negotiations, it’s nice to at least see the front office make what appears to be a wise draft selection.
Another solid first round pick for this orgnazition after drafting Fedor Svechkov and Zachary L’Heureux last season, the top goalie prospect Yaroslav Askarov the season before, and Tomasino in 2019 who is already playing quality NHL minutes.