Height / Weight: 5-10 / 159
REPORT: JOKERIT @ KÄRPÄT U18, APRIL 7, 2019
Niemelä joined Kärpät U18 from the U20 team for the decisive game three against Jokerit. He had a good game where he took responsibility and tried to create offense from the backend. The right-shot defenseman moved well in all directions, his edge work was excellent and his first few strides were quick. He had plenty of shot attempts from the blueline, but he needs to work on accuracy, as too many shots did not get through traffic on net. But he did get an assist on the tying 2-2 goal in the third period where he managed to get a shot on net for a deflection. He made a couple of strong plays at the point to keep the puck in the offensive zone. He has very good puck skills and can start the breakout from his own end. Niemelä is an interesting prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft, with the skating and offensive abilities to be an early pick.