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10-20-2011, 08:13 AM
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Originally Posted by sinettiseura View Post
Question: Can players who haven't yet been in Pohjola Camp be chosen to play for national team? I mean if you are underager can you play in U16 national team?
Toni Rajala, Teemu Pulkkinen, Jesper Kokkonen, Aleksander Barkov, Jonatan Tanus and Jaakko Hälli have played as underagers with U16 national team in spring tournements that were held after Pohjola camp. Don't know if anyone has played in U16 national team before Pohjola camp, but I doubt there's an actual rule against it, probably more like a tradition. Aleksi Saarela could probably play with the U16 national team already, but I guess it won’t happen before the Pohjola camp.

Originally Posted by Needles View Post
Esa Lindell scored 1+2 today against TPS. He has scored 4+14=18 and has 2 penalty minutes in 13 games with A-juniors. He has good size (188cm/86kg) and it's pretty obvious that he should be playing against men. Could someone describe him as a player and tell something about his strengths & weaknesses? And in which round he could be drafted?
I have only seen one Jr.A game from Jokerit so far this season, but based on that game he still has plenty of work to do at that level as well, especially defensively. Like with many top Finnish 94-born defensemen, his skating needs work; lateral / backwards movement, footwork and overall coordination for example. Looked really tired at the end of some long shifts and had some trouble getting off the ice, I imagine that he’s still adapting to the level of play and the ice time he’s receiving. Unable to keep up with his man on several occasions, he was in trouble with speedy and shifty opponents. He was also levelled by a smaller opponent in front of his own net, that lead to a dangerous situation. In some situations his awareness / reading of the play wasn’t the best possible, which lead to some bad decisions, especially defensively (bad positioning).

On the other hand there were some good plays as well, like taking initiative; jumping on an open lane and rushing the puck through the zones, using his reach to his advantage in a defensive situation, giving some good passes (one of them lead to a goal on power play), intercepting a wide around puck close to the boards while pressured and delivering it quickly to the net after taking a few lateral steps from the point. He also scored a goal on power play with a simple low wrister, it took quite some time for him to get the puck under control and he had to take a look at his feet. For some reason the defending player didn’t close the gap, so Lindell had plenty of time/room to get the shot off, eventually the goalie slipped it in easily.

His stats might be slightly inflated by the fact that he’s playing in one of the highest scoring teams in the league, and his defensive shortcomings might become more visible in a weaker team with not so good supporting players. He has the most minuses in his team (-12), which isn’t bad considering that he gets so much ice time, but it’s not great either when compared to Terävinen’s (-1) in 9 games with almost similar ice time.

I’m hoping to see Jokerit again next month, so hopefully I’ll have a better picture of his game and possible draft chances then. At the moment I'd say that he's a possible late round pick, but I retain the right to change my mind later on, once I see him playing more. Central Scouting’s preliminary rankings should be out in November as well, it'll be interesting to see how they rank him in comparison to other Finns. It seemed that the U18 national team coaches relied more on Pokka, Vainonen, Ristolainen and Lehtonen at the Hlinka Memorial Tournament, so I imagine that they didn’t see Lindell as the most reliable option. It remains to be seen if he manages to rise in that pecking order as the season advances.

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