These are strange times. Due to the World Juniors being cancelled due to COVID-19 positive tests and the Omicron variant outbreak last December, the tournament restarted in August. Three Vancouver Canucks prospects are in this year’s tournament. They are 2022 first-round pick Jonathan Lekkerimäki with Sweden, 2020 fifth-round pick Jacob Truscott, and with Finland, 2020 third-round pick Joni Jurmo.
A couple of days ago, contributor Elvijs Norenbergs wrote about Lekkerimäki so today, let’s focus on Jurmo.
The Canucks prospect was coming off a two-goal and eight-assist season with Jukurit of the Finnish Liga. Let’s take a look at how Jurmo has done in the World Juniors so far.
In Finland’s first game against Latvia, he played on the second pairing. Jurmo looked jittery at the start. He made some turnovers and looked poor on the breakout. As a result, he was benched for quite some time in the first period.
Fortunately, he started to settle down once the second period began.
The Canucks 2020 third-rounder displayed his speed by drawing a penalty. Finland would score on the ensuing power play thanks to Brad Lambert.
Jurmo displayed great skating and managed a few shots on goal.
Finland ended up beating Slovakia 5-4 and after a shaky start, Jurmo improved. He had three shots on net in 10:30 total ice time.
“Had pretty bad first shifts because I wanted to show I can play so I kinda tried ‘too hard’ but I felt good after that,” said Jurmo to Sportstalkline’s Joshua Griffith.
Finland’s next game was against Czechia (Czech Republic) and they beat them 4-3 via a shootout. It was much better for Jurmo this time around.
He continued to display his acceleration but was also good at winning the battles along the boards. The Canucks prospect was much better defensively.
Below, Jurmo was quick to break up a Czechia 2-1. That would have been a disaster for Finland if it weren’t for him.
Oh yeah, in this game, Jurmo got his first (and so far only) point of the tournament. He got the secondary assist on Roby Jarventie’s second period tying goal.
Jurmo’s next game was a big win by Finland as they defeated Slovakia 9-3. Unfortunately, the Canucks prospect did not get on the scoresheet
However, Jurmo continued to impress. His passes were solid and his defensive game continued to be strong.
Here, he messed up at the blue line but shows great hustle and stops the 2-on-1.
Jurmo also really knows how to get away from the aggressive forwards thanks to his skating. You might be worried that he will cough up the puck but he uses his stride to get away.
Exhibit B from Monday’s game against Canada:
It looks like one of Jurmo’s flaws is giving players too much room on the rush. Below, he lets Connor Bedard get by him easily. But to be fair, it is tough stopping Connor Bedard. The North Vancouver native will definitely go number one overall in next year’s draft.
Overall thoughts on Jurmo’s tournament so far.
Jurmo hasn’t had a flashy tournament by any means but he hasn’t been bad either. Well, except for that first period against Latvia.
Cutting down the turnovers and improve his decision-making seem to be things that Jurmo needs to work on. Some of his passes seem to be quite careless.
The good things from the Canucks prospect’s tournament so far are his skating and ability to win puck battles. He has also been good on the offensive rush and defending the rush.
I decided to reach out to Chris Faber of Canucks Army as he has bigger knowledge on Jurmo and all the Canucks prospects. Here is what he had to say about Jurmo so far on episode 287 of the Canucks Conversation Podcast. (Jurmo talk is at 55:05)
"“He had a tough start to the World Juniors. His first three shifts were horrible, he got benched after that one shift in the remainder of the first period. Since then, he has bounced back. I thought he made a nice defensive play the other day after his defence partner got flipped into the bench. He did a good job of not laying down and turning his brain off like Tyler Myers does when he does the slide. Jurmo actually kept an active stick and active arms and was able to break up a pass. Offensively, the speed definitely shows and I think the thing Jurmo has had success with defensively as well is, like he’s bigger and stronger than a lot of guys. Jurmo’s 6’4″, 200 plus pounds, he’s a big body and he’s pushing on the boards like he should be. When your that big, in this tournament, you should be using your size.”"
Thanks to Faber for the assist.
Jurmo and Finland finished second in their group. Up next is the quarterfinals. At the time of this writing, the schedule has not been out yet.