Noel Gunler, RW, Lulea (SHL)
Of Swedish stock, Noel Gunler seems like a very typical Bob Murray selection. We’ve written about Gunler before, his draft profile being among one of the first featured here at Pucks of a Feather for the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Projected to be drafted between 10th and 19th overall, there are some scouts who believe he could still be available by the time Anaheim makes their second first-round selection.
One of Gunler’s biggest downfalls, and a reason he could possibly fall in the draft, are his attitude problems. After being left off of the Swedish U18 roster, Gunler went off on officials. It was for similar reasons he was also withheld from the U20 World Junior Summer Showcase. Once again, Gunler’s attitude issues were displayed for all to see when he pushed over a linesman during his time in the SuperElite Leauge. Bob Murray isn’t one to bring in players who cause issues on the ice or in the locker room, and for that reason, Gunler already has two strikes against him.
However, Gunler is young and impressionable, and Anaheim could be a good environment for him to clean up his attitude and take big steps in maturity. With the current crop of forwards in the Anaheim Ducks system, this could also give Gunler adequate time to improve his attitude as well as deficiencies in his game.
Noel’s offensive creativity is his most impressive feature, however, and the Anaheim Ducks are desperate for some creativity. While some would beg to differ, the young forward is a relatively strong skater, which makes him a threat on the ice. He makes clean zone entries, has great puck control, and his greatest strengths lie in his incredible decision-making skills.
He is a great passer, but he also has the potential to be a great goal scorer. His shot, with a dangerously quick release, is a sight to behold. Noel is very calculated and has taken great strides since entering the SHL to improve areas of his game he had trouble being consistent in early in his hockey career.
One of the biggest criticisms of his game, however, is his unwillingness to get physical since his transition to the SHL. The NHL tends to be a little more physical than the SHL, and Noel’s inconsistency when it comes to aiding his teammates when they need that extra physical support will not translate well in North American hockey. Nevertheless, these areas of his game can be worked on, and it is not the end all be all of his hockey career. He will make some team very happy, whoever ends up drafting him.