The 2023 version of our Pensburgh Top 25 Under 25 list gets into a potential late-round steal for the Penguins from the most recent draft.
#18 Emil Jarventie, winger
2022 Ranking: n/a
Age: 18 (Apr 4, 2005)
Acquired Via: 2023 NHL Draft (Round 7 - No. 213 overall)
Height/Weight: 5’10”, 168 pounds
The Penguins will look to develop a diamond in the rough with recent 2023 draft pick Emil Jarventie. Somewhat surprisingly, the Finnish forward lasted all the way into the seventh round. Many draft rankings and sources around the internet had him listed considerably higher, which might be a coup for the Pens.
Scott Wheeler was one such observer who particularly liked Jarventie, ranking him 79th in the 2023 draft class and offered this profile of his game:
Known for his speed, Jarventie was able to play a good chunk of this season in Liiga and the second-tier Mestis because of his skating. He can win races and drive down ice. He has learned to keep his feet moving inside the offensive zone instead of just in transition. He’s effective on the wall and making plays off of it. When he uses his skating to play to the middle, he can create advantageous situations on the ice for himself and beat defenders with quick bursts through sticks and holes. He’s got good hands on drags through his feet and stops and starts to change directions and squirm away from his man on the boards. There are times when he needs to make his decisions earlier and he can be too cute with it, though, and there are concerns about his processing and problem solving.
From the Elite Prospects Draft guide:
Emil Jarventie’s is a winger who is relatively quick, anticipates openings off the rush and has a mix of handling, shooting, and even some playmaking skills. His offence revolves around the rush, particularly in odd-man situations.
Penguins director of amateur scouting Nick Pryor talked about Jarventie at the draft:
“He’s an undersized winger,” Pryor said. “Offensive-minded. He can really shoot the puck and is really good in the offensive zone. For him, it’s going to be about rounding out the other parts of his game, but we felt that the point where we got him that it was good to take a chance on a guy that had offensive instincts and an offensive part of his game that we were really attracted to.”
This mindset fits what GM Kyle Dubas has communicated, that he wants to “take swings” as Pryor said. He wants the Penguins to prioritize players “with a high-offensive ceiling”.
Jarventie has some interesting bloodlines. His father, Martti, was a Montreal draft pick who played a long career in Finland. His older brother Roby (who is 6’2”) was the 33rd overall pick by Ottawa in 2020 and has spent the last two seasons playing in the AHL.
Next up is Emil. As a 17-year old he spent almost half the year in Finland’s top professional hockey league (Liiga) on loan with SaiPa. He’s also played extensively over the years with the Finnish U-18 and U-20 national teams - which raised his profile and helped contribute to put him on the radar for so many NHL scouts and prospect watchers.
Due to size or likelihood of hitting his ceiling and time involved with that, the younger Jarventie fell deep into the draft. As one of the younger players eligible for the 2023 draft, Jarventie will be a long-term prospect to monitor over the years. The Pens retain his NHL rights through June 2027, and Jarventie will likely need several more years in Finland to develop and gain experience as he goes.
Time is on the side of the player to keep moving up the ranks, establish himself more in Finland and then see what the future could hold about jumping into an NHL organization. The Pens haven’t had many high-end picks in recent years and could badly use a “lottery ticket” come good from a late drafted player. Jarventie has the upside and potential in the best case scenario to provide some value on that, and is a prospect worth keeping tabs on from afar.