Ranking the top 31 Prospects in the 2020 NHL Draft: 17. Noel Gunler

LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 03: #8 Noel Gunler of Lulea HF warms up prior the Champions Hockey League match between Lausanne HC and Lulea HF at Vaudoise Arena on December 3, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images)
LAUSANNE, SWITZERLAND - DECEMBER 03: #8 Noel Gunler of Lulea HF warms up prior the Champions Hockey League match between Lausanne HC and Lulea HF at Vaudoise Arena on December 3, 2019 in Lausanne, Switzerland. (Photo by RvS.Media/Monika Majer/Getty Images) /

One of the better snipers in the draft, Noel Gunler has taken an interesting path in becoming a top prospect

Noel Gunler (RW), Luleå HF (SHL)

H: 6’2″ W: 174 lbs

An electric goal scorer who played the majority of last season with Luleå in the Swedish Hockey League, Gunler didn’t produce a dissimilar season to fellow top-ranked Swedes Lucas Raymond and Alexander Holtz.

Funny enough despite all of his accolades, Gunler hasn’t represented Sweden on the worldwide stage yet, whether in the U18’s or U20’s. The noted “disrespect” that Gunler has struggled through is nothing new and there’s no real answer as to why. The insane skill Gunler brings to the ice should have him going somewhere in the middle of the first round.

2019-2020 Recap

GP: 45 G: 4 A: 9 P: 13 +/-: 12

After dominating the SuperElit the season prior, Gunler was expected to make the jump to the SHL the following season and he did exactly that. While his point totals weren’t exactly gaudy, it’s tough for young players to log consistent minutes with the more experienced players being more heavily relied upon.

Only playing 9:49 per game, Gunler did what he could with his opportunities and his points/60 reflected, as through the end of February he was putting up a respectable mark, just trailing Raymond.

Gunler also played in 4 games in the SuperElit with Luleå’s junior team, where he had 4 goals and 6 points in just 4 games. In champions league play the Swedish prospect played great, producing 4 goals and 6 points in just 12 games in the tournament. It’s a shame Gunler doesn’t get a fair shake with the national team as he would of been a welcomed boost to the Swedish team.



Regardless of his 4 goals in the SHL last season, Gunler has a wicked shot and with more opportunity should see more goals tickle the twine. In 2018-19 Gunler lit up the SuperElit for 27 goals in just 31 games, nearly a goal/game pace and amazingly in his draft-2 year.

The talented winger has insane power in his wrist-shot, he can beat goaltenders clean from the top of the circle and in, one of his better goals from the past season:

A laser-beam, that the goalie appears to duck, making sense of how hard Gunler can rip it.

He uses the flex of his stick to form a whipping like motion that many of the top snipers in the NHL use these days, he has all the tools to be a 30+ goal scorer at the next level.

A threat off the rush, Gunler scored the majority of his goals last season on partial breakaways and rather than deke he would rely on his quick release to fool the goalie, it would usually work.


With a stout offensive arsenal, Gunler combines his ridiculous shot with a great playmaking ability,  forming one of the better offensive skill sets in the draft.

Gunler reads the offensive zone really well and showcases great playmaking on the power-play, he looks off defenders and finds his teammates in good position quite often.

Freezing the goalie in the slot and then dishing off a no-look pass to his teammate for the easy finish, this is one of the joys of watching the Luleå forward play.

Gunler also plays with a very active stick, he can turn the puck over in the offensive zone from his forecheck and create chances off of those sequences, setting up plays for his teammates.

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There have been multiple questions about his work ethic and consistency on the ice, but those in fact have been exaggerated in my opinion. The Hockey Writers have revealed those same worries but don’t believe it to be a huge detriment to his game:

"So why hasn’t Gunler been in that category so far? Well, there have been some questions about his consistency, his effort, and his defensive game. While consistency is an issue for many prospects at this stage, the effort and defensive struggles have been largely blown out of proportion"

While these issues with Gunler’s game just don’t happen to arise out of thin air, there has to be some backstory to these “character” concerns. These could be linked to his dismissal from the Swedish program for the top world events, but it seems as though there won’t be a definitive answer.

At times Gunler can cheat himself a bit by looking to impact the game offensively more than on the defensive side, but this doesn’t differentiate him from many of the top prospects in the draft, as the majority are so highly ranked because of their impact offensively.

A Real Option at 28

One of the more realistic options for the Senators third first-round pick, Gunler has a great chance to be there when Ottawa selects at 28. Pierre Dorion and staff shouldn’t shy away from taking chances on boom/bust prospects because of their surplus of draft picks. While Gunler isn’t the greatest risk, he isn’t a guarantee in any way, but if he reaches his potential he could be a staple in the Senators top-6.

Even if Ottawa decides to go the way of BPA (Best Player Available) Gunler still fits that mold as he would be viewed by many as a steal at that part of the draft. If the Swedish winger lasts until 28, Ottawa should consider acquiring his talents.