The Hockey Writers 2020 NHL Entry Draft Guide

Joonas Oden

2019-20 Team: KooKoo / Liiga
Date of Birth: Feb 17, 2000
Place of Birth: Benton City, Washington
Ht: 6’0” Wt: 183 lbs
Shoots: Right
Position: Winger
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2020 Draft eligible

Rankings

Before the 2020 World Junior Championships (WJC), Finnish winger Joonas Oden was considered a fringe NHL prospect by many outlets. He was undrafted in the 2019 NHL Draft, and his spot in Finland’s lineup wasn’t assured in the weeks before the WJC kicked off.

Related: THW’s 2020 Draft Guide

Oden, however, made the most of his WJC ice time. Alongside Patrik Puistola and Kristian Tanus, he formed Finland’s top line of the tournament, scoring six points, ranked third on the team.

Joonas Oden Team Finland
Joonas Oden scored the game-winning goal for Team Finland in their quarterfinal match-up against the United States. (Pasi Mennander / Finnish Ice Hockey Association)

His strong tournament along with his playing time with KooKoo in Liiga, Finland’s top pro league, has helped Oden’s draft stock. He has shown that he can keep up with men in KooKoo and has the talent to score when the pressure is on.

Joonas Oden – NHL Draft Projection

Despite being passed over at the 2019 Draft, Oden will likely breakthrough in 2020. While he is far from a complete package right now, he has those intangibles that should make him well worth a later-round selection for the right franchise.

Even if he slips down the board, it’s hard to imagine he will fall much farther than the mid-sixth round. As an over-ager who has professional experience in Finland, there will be a franchise who needs his talent and will be willing to take a swing on him just so he can start the 2020-21 season with their AHL franchise.

Related: 7 Takeaways From the NHL Central Scouting Final Rankings

Given all of this, Oden will likely be a mid to late fifth- or sixth-round selection. He could go sooner, of course, but that would require a team to take a bit of a chance on him.

Quotables

Oden was able to use his speed well when he carried the puck and he was able to create some offense with his skating abilities.

Asko Huuki – Finnprospects.com

Joonas Oden… has a lot of speed and a good nose for the net.

Jokke Nevalainen – Dobber Prospects

Additional snarl, intensity and urgency would enable him to win more puck battles and make him tougher to play against. However, I still like his skating, shot and offensive instincts…

marcobombino – finnishjuniorhockey.com

Strengths

  • Fast and knows how to use his speed.
  • Shows potential for a strong two-way game.
  • Good poise with the puck.

Under Construction (Improvements to Make)

  • Needs to find consistent shift-to-shift success.
  • Lacking physicality in his game.
  • Limited offensive skillset

Related THW Draft Profiles

NHL Potential

Under any circumstance, the odds are long for Oden to make his NHL dream a reality. It’s difficult for any player to break into the league, especially someone who is selected in the back-half of the draft.

With the NHL expanding to Seattle for the 2021-22 season, however, a door could open up for him. If Oden is drafted in 2020 and begins playing in the AHL immediately, he would have a full season with a franchise to show exactly where he is in his development.

If he looks ready to take on fourth-line ice time, he could get that chance sooner than expected as his team may need a new face or two after the expansion draft. This avenue to the league is unlikely, but it opens up more chances for a player in his position, assuming he has a full season in North America.

Risk/Reward Analysis

2/5 Risk, 3/5 Reward

As a later-round draft pick, the risk is low for someone like Oden. Is it likely that he breaks into the NHL? No, but if he did, it would be a very successful pick.

However, even if he does make it to the NHL, it’s hard to imagine he will earn more playing time than a bottom-six winger. While he could carve a niche out in that role, his top-end potential is limited.

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