Film Room: Making sense of Brad Lambert's challenging projection
It wasn't that long ago that many in the industry considered Brad Lambert to be Finland's best shot at producing a first overall pick at the NHL Draft in the country's history.
Lambert made his U20 league debut with Pelicans when he was just 14-years-old, already playing in big roles with both the U16 and U17 national teams. For the 2019–2020 campaign, he left for HIFK and put up a dominant season in the U20 league as a top-line centre. Lambert also ended up debuting with HIFK’s men’s team as the third-youngest player in Liiga history.
The then-phenom made yet another club change for the following season, this time opting to play for JYP. During his first full Liiga season, Lambert amassed seven goals and 15 points in 46 games. Only Anton Lundell and Aleksander Barkov have been more productive during their draft-minus-one season in the league’s modern history.
Lambert also made a very positive mark in the U20 Worlds, logging four points in seven games as Finland’s youngest player. At this point, he was still very much one of the frontrunners for the top pick in 2022.
Since that tournament, though, Lambert’s stock has been in freefall.
He started his draft-eligible season with JYP, adding just two goals and six points in 24 appearances. Meanwhile his teammate and fellow draft-eligible Joakim Kemell came out guns blazing and even led the league in scoring at one point, creating a stark relief between the two.
Lambert played really well for two games in the U20s before their cancellation but still failed to make an impact in Liiga after returning, choosing to terminate his contract with JYP and sign with his youth team the Pelicans. Combining both splits, Lambert totalled four goals and 10 points in 49 games for the entire Liiga season.
At the start of the season, Lambert was still widely considered as a top-five, even a top-three pick. The slide started quickly, though, and mid-way through the season he had dropped out of the top-10 on many lists. Central Scouting ranked him just the 10th best European skater when they revealed their final lists.
While Lambert is still likely to go in the first round, he’ll probably go in the latter half of it, and even dropping to Day 2 is not out of question.
Lambert is still a high-end talent in many regards, having some elite skills in his toolbox. The number of red flags and the severity of some of them do make him a very risky gamble, though.
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