Welcome to the 2022 Edition of the Vancouver Canucks Top 25 Under 25 Rankings. The list includes all players in the Canucks system who were born after April 15th, 1998.
Beware of the danger associated with small sample sizes.
If you casually tuned into the World Juniors in August and saw Vancouver Canucks prospect Joni Jurmo playing for Team Finland, chances are, you were impressed.
The hulking defensive prospect has two big things working in his favour: size and skating ability.
Although we’re seeing more big guys who can actually skate in today’s NHL, it’s still rare to see some of the lankier players skate with the type of fluidity that Jurmo has flashed.
This is what you like to see from Joni Jurmo.— Faber (@ChrisFaber39) August 15, 2022
The kid can absolutely skate out of danger.
: TSN pic.twitter.com/HZiNqO3IfW
Despite Jurmo turning in a good effort during Finland’s run to the gold medal game, his performance overshadowed what was a tumultuous draft-plus-two campaign.
Let’s start with the good.
Jurmo definitely showed improvements over his draft-plus-one season, where he was overly matched in SM-Liiga action, and ended up playing in Finland’s second-tier league instead.
Last season though, Jurmo stuck around in the SM-Liiga for the entire 2021-22 season. He registered two goals and 10 points in 50 games, but saw his ice time dip below an average of 10-minutes per game during the latter half of the season.
Just keep that in mind when you’re evaluating Jurmo’s solid World Juniors performance.
Although the young defenceman was playing on Finland’s third pairing, he was often able to flash his dynamic breakout ability when he was on the ice.
The analytics backed this up as well.
I was tweeting about Joni Jurmo's rather strong tournament (at least compared to expectations) and his breakout ability. Here's some numbers to back that up after the group stage. Had a difficult game against Canada, though. We'll see how he bounces back. #Canucks pic.twitter.com/9rEs8WpxSp— Lassi Alanen (@lassialanen) August 17, 2022
Although Jurmo performed better than expected, it wasn’t a perfect performance for the youngster.
There’s intrigue with Jurmo as a prospect, but it should be clear that he still has a long road ahead before he could even be considered for an AHL roster spot.
What’s next for Jurmo?
Back in 2021, Jurmo signed a two-year deal with Jukurit of the Liiga. He’ll enter the second and final year of that deal this season.
The goal for Jurmo should be to lock down a top-four role in Jukurit — a relatively big ask considering he was playing less than 10 minutes per game towards the end of last season.
If he’s able to clean up his mistakes and limit chances against while flashing his enticing package of size and speed, he could be eligible for an AHL contract next summer.
If he doesn’t, he might end up like former Canucks’ draft pick (and current Jukurit captain) Petrus Palmu, and remain nothing but a professional hockey player on the other side of the world.
Nothing wrong with that, although it wouldn’t do much to alleviate the Canucks’ future blueline concerns.