2021-22 Team: Ilves (Liiga)
Date of Birth: July 30, 2004
Place of Birth: Valkeakoski, Finland
Ht: 6-foot-3 Wt: 207 pounds
Position: Left Wing
NHL Draft Eligibility: 2022 Draft Eligible
Jani Nyman likes to score goals. While this is something you could say about almost every hockey player, that is especially true of this Finnish prospect. With a wicked wrist shot and the ability to put himself in scoring position, he is one of the better shooters available in the 2022 NHL Draft.
Related: 2022 NHL Draft Guide
In six games with Team Finland at the U18 World Junior Tournament, Nyman recorded two goals and four points. While that stat line isn’t going to jump out at you, especially in comparison to some of the other high-flying offensive players available in this year’s draft class, his play on the ice does stand out, especially in the offensive zone. This is where he displays every part of his game that makes him an intriguing prospect.
If Nyman’s team is on the power play, you are more than likely going to spot him on the right side, waiting to fire off a one-timer using his left-handed shot. He sets up in the right circle the same way the Washington Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin does on the left side, and you can almost guarantee that Nyman’s teammates are looking to find him with space to shoot it. When he gets it off, he can pick a corner and snap it past the goaltender all while making it look extremely easy. If he’s on the ice, you’re hoping to see him shoot the puck because that’s what makes him such a dangerous player.
While the quality of his shot is undeniable, he also has a solid frame that allows him to overpower defenders in the defensive zone. Standing at 6-foot-3 and over 200 pounds, he can be like a bull in a china shop in the offensive zone, though he doesn’t do this enough to say that this is a defining trait of his. At the opposite end of the ice, he can use his size to knock opposing forwards off the puck simply by weighing down on them. As he gets older and continues to physically mature, his willingness and ability to use his body to his advantage could be what separates him from other snipers in this draft class. It’s one thing if your teammates can create space for you; it’s another thing if you can create that space for yourself.
Nyman is fun to watch when he’s on the attack because he often finds himself in a position to either shoot, score, or make a play. His offensive IQ is evident, though it will be interesting to see how he fares when facing a higher level of competition. He makes silky-smooth moves with the puck, and his overall stick skills give him another avenue to create time and space for himself.
While Nyman has good mobility through the neutral zone with and without the puck, his speed isn’t top-tier. It’s enough to keep pace, but adding another gear to his stride would make him incredibly difficult to contain. Furthermore, as dynamic as he is in the offensive zone, that same level of play isn’t evident in the defensive zone. As it is right now, he’s that typical offensive player where defense is sort of an afterthought for him. He’s not horrible in the defensive zone, but he’s definitely not the type of player that will be on the ice in the defensive zone when his team is nursing a one-goal lead.
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Jani Nyman – NHL Draft Projection
Based on his standing across most prospect rankings, Nyman seems destined to hear his name called sometime during the second round of the draft. Somewhere in the 40-60 range seems likely, though there’s also a chance that he slips out of the second round entirely, especially if players ranked behind him right now make a final push ahead of him. For a player like him, the team drafting him will have to not only feel good about the tools he does have, but also about their ability to develop his game in the areas where he’s lacking. The further he drops, the more value he has as a potential steal.
“[Nyman] flashed his above-average puck skills at times and his great wrist shot on his goal. Nyman’s very good at stealing the puck and made some very nice lifts on the forecheck a couple of times. He showed good motor, especially on forecheck, but also made a couple of very nice backchecking efforts.” – Eetu Siltanen, Dobber Prospects
“Nyman is a large-framed and powerful winger who uses his size to excel in the offensive zone. At 6-foot-2, the Finnish winger towers over opponents. His powerful stride and decent straight-line speed work in conjunction with his size to make him an effective forward.” – Joshua Frojelin, FC Hockey
“Nyman was a standout for me. Playmaking feel. Good instincts on and off the puck. Moves well. Great hands. Hard shot (especially out of his curl and drag). If he can get a little quicker from a standstill, he’ll have a good chance to put it all together.” – Scott Wheeler, The Athletic (from “Wheeler: U18 World Championship notebook, quotes, and tournament all-star and MVP ballot”, The Athletic, 5/2/22)
- NHL-ready size
- Offensive IQ
- Stick/puck skills
- Two-way game
- High-end speed
- Using size with frequency
Nyman has the potential to become a real goal-scorer in the NHL. His shot and offensive awareness allow him to make plays that other simply can’t, and if he can translate it at a higher level of competition, he’s going to rack up goals and points at the NHL level. He’s not an elite offensive talent, but he has the potential to become a consistent second-line scoring threat at his peak, maxing out in the 30-goal range.
Risk – 3/5, Reward – 4/5
Fantasy Hockey Potential
Offense – 7/10, Defense – 3/10
I am a Western Michigan University alum whose passion for hockey knows no limits. Dr. Pepper enthusiast. Catch me and my fellow Red Wings writers’ YouTube show “The Hockey Writers Grind Line” which drops every Saturday.