With their first and second-round picks for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft dealt away in the deals for JT Miller and Tyler Toffoli respectively, the Canucks knew that they would have to make some shrewd selections in later rounds to continue to add depth to their prospect pool.
Their first selection was at #82, and with it they took smooth-skating defensemen Joni Jurmo, a selection that was widely praised at the time.
Joni Jurmo was #57 on my board. A nice pick by VAN at this spot.— /Cam Robinson/ (@Hockey_Robinson) October 7, 2020
6'4 LHD. Really nice skater but the decision-making has plagued him. Likely a 5v5 transitional guy. He's seeing limited minutes in the Liiga early on this year
Jurmo made the jump to the top Finnish league this season, Liiga, where he has been held scoreless in the limited minutes he has seen over 16 games. Still just 18 years old, this experience playing against men at such a young age should only help round-out Jurmo’s game.
He was nice enough to take some time out of his busy schedule and answer some questions we had for him.
Noah Strang (Nucks Misconduct): What was your reaction when you got the news that you had been drafted by Vancouver? Did you have much contact with the Canucks prior to the draft?
Joni Jurmo: Yeah there was actually a commercial break on the Finnish TV and I got a lot of messages and they called me from Vancouver almost immediately and I felt warmly welcomed and honoured.
NS: What do you know, or have you heard about the city and the team?
JJ: That the climate reminds a lot of the climate and weather in Finland and that it’s a big hockey city and the team is a young star-filled team.
NS: What do you feel are some of your biggest strengths that you bring to the table? Who is one player that you try to model your game afterwards?
JJ: My biggest strengths are skating and making plays with the puck and I try to model my game after young NHL defensemen like Heiskanen, Hughes, Chabot and Makar.
NS: How did the Coronavirus affect your training this year and did it make it difficult to get the practice time that you wanted? What did you do to pass the time when you couldn’t train?
JJ: It didn’t affect that much because the gyms were still open and I got to go on the ice in small groups but still didn’t get to practice in big groups so no team workouts in the summer and when I didn’t train I was with my friends or did something outside.
NS: You’ve been playing in Liiga, the top Finnish league this season. How has the adjustment to playing against men at a higher level been?
JJ: Yeah, first of all, it’s much more tactical and even the smallest mistakes show up on the scoreboard. It’s more physical, but game after game I think I've adjusted better.
NS: How has it been playing with Brad Lambert and can you talk a bit about his game?
JJ: I’ve been a longtime friend with Brad and he’s a great guy we usually train a lot of extra after the team practice and he’s really skilled and has a bright future ahead of him.
NS: Finally, if you could pick one NHL goalie to score on who would it be?
JJ: Pekka Rinne because he's Finnish and I could be chirping him in Finnish maybe.
A big thank you to Joni for taking the time to answer these questions and we all hope to see him play in a Canucks jersey soon.