Those who wanted to get a closer look at one of the top European prospects available in the 2020 draft will be disappointed with the news that Anton Lundell will not play for Team Finland at the upcoming World Junior Championship. There was some hope that Lundell would be able to heal fast enough from his recent injury to join the team, but today saw the end of any chance he would be back to defend his gold medal.
Lundell, 18, actually assisted on the golden goal last year that Kaapo Kakko scored to secure the tournament win for Finland and was expected to be one of the best forwards on the ice this time around. The 6’1″ forward has 12 points in 20 games playing for HIFK at the highest level in Finland this season and is in consideration as a top-five selection in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft.
Like many Finnish stars of recent years, Lundell has excellent puck protection skills and can shoot the puck from several different positions. Mike Morreale of NHL.com included the talented forward as his eighth-best prospect in a ranking from early October, and a strong performance at the World Juniors could have helped that stock even more. Unfortunately that won’t happen, though obviously a return to health is more important for his long-term future.
Finland lost 4-2 to Team Canada in the final pre-tournament game earlier today, and will kick things off against rival Sweden on December 26th.