Joakim Kemell was one of the brightest stars for Team Finland in their silver medal effort at the 2022 World Junior Championship. After the Nashville Predators drafted him 17th overall in 2022 and signed him to his entry-level contract earlier this summer, though, he’ll be headed back to JYP in the Finnish Liiga for another season next year, per the team.
As Kemell wasn’t drafted out of the Canadian Hockey League, he could, in theory, have suited up for the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals next season if Nashville and Kemell believed that was the best solution for him. However, it appears all parties involved believe another season in his home country against some more seasoned players is the better option for Kemell.
An unexpected faller in the 2022 draft, Kemell showed why the teams that passed on him were wrong with 12 points in seven games at the World Juniors earlier this month. He had 23 points in 39 Liiga games last season with JYP as well, and he’ll be expected to play an increased top-six role next season.