2002 born defenseman Joni Jurmo had an excellent season with Jokerit U20. The mobile and highly skilled blueliner played in a major role for one of the top teams in the Finnish U20 league. He finished second on the team in defenseman scoring with five goals and 28 points in 43 games. That point total ranked seventh among U18 players in the league. Jurmo got a good amount of ice-time at even strength and he was a strong power play contributor as well.
“I think my season was a very successful one. Since the start of the season I got exactly the kind of a role I wanted, I managed well in the role and had success. I started the season aiming for a big role on Jokerit U20 and for an NHL Draft selection. As the season went on and I played well, it felt that I got step by step closer to my goals and it felt easy to play on that team throughout the season,” Jurmo said.
Jurmo knows his strengths and he is also aware of which areas he needs to work on in order to become a more complete player.
“I would describe myself as a big, offensive defenseman who moves well and has good offensive skills. I can make a good first pass and carry the puck up the ice or dangle opponents when needed.”
“I need to improve my defensive game the most, such as boxing out opponents in front of the net, as well as my aggressiveness. I also need to work on my decision making to some extent, for example sometimes I force a pass or force myself to carry the puck up the ice.”
In the 2018-19 season, Jurmo was a standout on a very strong Jokerit U18 team. In the finals, they played against Kärpät and took a 3-2 overtime win in the decisive third game. The U18 championship is one of his favourite memories thus far. The entire past season in the U20 league was also memorable for him, as he got to play in such a good team.
Jurmo’s parents and Juha Ylönen, a former NHLer who currently works as a player agent, have had the biggest impact on his career.
“My parents have supported me both at the good and at the bad times and paid the costs for my entire junior hockey career. And Juha has helped me a lot in game related things, contract negotiations, training and has supported me a lot.”
In March, Jurmo signed a three-year contract with JYP in the Liiga, the Finnish top league. In the last decade, some notable young defensemen have played in JYP’s system, such as Sami Vatanen, Olli Määttä, Sami Niku and Julius Honka.
Jurmo has set clear goals for the near future: to have a spot on JYP’s Liiga team next season and to play in the NHL in 2-5 years. Given his high-end skating and offensive skills, as well as how rapidly he has developed in a short period of time, he has all the potential to be an impact player at the highest levels.
Big thanks to Joni for the interview and best of luck going forward!
Cover photo: Leijonat.fi
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