16. Roby Järventie (Reader Rank: 14, Last Year: N/A)
In many ways, Roby Järventie was an unusual pick for the Ottawa Senators. Taken in the 2nd Round, 33rd overall, Järventie was projected as a high-skill scorer, someone who could put the puck in the net but would need some rounding to his game. Unlike, say, Ridly Greig, who was listed as a responsible two-way player, Järventie was described as a ‘one-dimensional threat’ who ‘doesn’t play a physical brand of hockey’ (Dobber Hockey). Per Colin’s consolidated rankings, he was projected to go around the 41 to 79 range. That being said, the Sens seemed interested in having a balanced draft, taking big players, small players, defencemen, forward, and a goalie, so Järventie fits in with the idea of having all types. And based off his start to the 2020-21 season, it looks like the Sens found a player with strong potential.
Järventie has been part of the Ilves program in Finland since he was 15. Last season, he was loaned to KOOVEE in the Mestis (second-tier men’s league in Finland), and his 1.06 points per game (38 points in 36 games) was 8th in the league among players who played more than 10 games, not bad for a guy who didn’t turn 18 until August. He then blew expectations out of the water this season, and currently sits at 14 points in 19 games for the Ilves senior club. As one of our writers pointed out:
Roby Järventie is having the most dominant season from a Sens prospect in a men's league in his D+1 season since...— Trevor Shackles (@ShackTS) November 14, 2020
Erik Karlsson. And maybe even before that
He's been better than Silfverberg, Rundblad, Dahlen, Zib, Wikstrand, all these guys who were amazing after being drafted
That’s... pretty good. He’s also been playing primarily third-line minutes, averaging 13 minutes per game. So yes he’s playing for a dominant team and sits just sixth on the team in points, but is also not getting top-line minutes or top-line linemates. Not to mention, his shooting skill has been on full display:
Roby Jarventie just RIPPED home his 6th goal of the seasonpic.twitter.com/fRcD8dOSjR— Sens Prospects (@SensProspects) November 14, 2020
That release is beautiful. Quickly on his stick, quickly in the net.
I think it’s fair to say recency bias plays a big role in these rankings. After all, players like Joey Daccord, Greig, and Filip Gustavsson aren’t playing, while the Liiga has been running. It’s hard to stay as excited about prospects you can’t watch play. I think if we’d done these rankings by Halloween, Greig and Lassi Thomson would’ve finished ahead of Järventie. Even now, with North Dakota starting to play (and dominate), I think a guy like Tyler Kleven could’ve crept onto our list, while the Järventie hype train has cooled off a bit. Still, he’s had an impressive start to men’s hockey, and has shown potential that suggests the Sens may have struck second-round gold. He could very well rise up these rankings next year if a hot start turns into a strong rookie season for the young winger.