Alexis Lafreniere have to be superhuman. Not simply on the ice, however off it, too.
Throughout Canada’s embarrassing 6-Zero loss to Russia through the World Junior Championship, the projected No. 1 prospect for the 2020 draft went down with a leg damage that left him screaming in ache and unable to place any weight on his left aspect. Lafreniere missed the following two spherical robin video games, and the query was whether or not he ought to trouble risking additional harm. He missed the choice camp with an ankle damage, in any case.
However Lafreniere returned to battle Slovakia in Canada’s quarterfinal contest Thursday, recording a purpose and an help in a 6-1 victory and offering an plain spark. That’s precisely what he’s executed all event. If it wasn’t for Lafreniere’s four-point night time on Boxing Day, Canada wouldn’t have come from behind to defeat the USA. He was additionally Canada’s greatest participant towards Russia earlier than he suffered the damage. And along with his six factors in three video games, Lafreniere sits third in scoring, due partially to the chemistry he’s discovered with Arizona Coyotes ahead Barrett Hayton.
Lafreniere’s play has solely strengthened his case to be the highest choice in 2020, a draft that options one of many deepest participant bases we’ve seen since 2003. However how are different high prospects faring? Let’s check out the opposite younger stars which have made some noise on the World Junior Championship:
Quinton Byfield, LW (Canada)He stole the highlight at choice camp, however Byfield hasn’t discovered the scoresheet in 5 video games. Granted, he’s been a depth ahead and averaged 11 minutes per sport, however Byfield is one in all simply three Canadian forwards with out a level. Byfield hasn’t been dangerous and he’s nonetheless going to be a game-changer within the NHL, however it’s been a quiet exhibiting for the ahead projected to go No. 2 within the draft.
Alexander Holtz, LW (Sweden)Sweden doesn’t thoughts counting on youth to guide the offense and Holtz’s manufacturing is proof of that. With 5 factors in as many video games, Holtz is fourth in scoring for Sweden and has rekindled the hearth with longtime linemates Lucas Raymond and Karl Henriksson. A top-five draft prospect, Holtz’s sport is all about ability. The winger typically showcases his fast arms and deadly wrist shot across the internet. Holtz was named participant of the sport towards Slovakia earlier within the event with a two-goal efficiency, which included the game-winner.
Lucas Raymond, RW (Sweden)The opposite half of the ‘Terror Twins’ alongside Holtz, Raymond isn’t been far behind his linemate, notching 4 factors in 5 outings. Seen as extra of a playmaker and all-around participant, Raymond hasn’t had a difficulty hanging with the competitors. The world juniors have been a pleasant change of tempo for Raymond, who, earlier than leaving for camp, was taking part in restricted minutes within the Swedish League. He’s been given an opportunity to indicate his value on Sweden’s second power-play unit and is exhibiting why he initiatives to be a participant who will make his linemates higher within the NHL.
Yaroslav Askarov, G (Russia)It’s been an fascinating event for Askarov, who began as Russia’s high goaltender towards the Czech Republic however misplaced management of the crease and didn’t get it again till the tip of the spherical robin. Askarov seemed comfy after making his second consecutive begin, a 14-save effort towards Switzerland Thursday, and it appears to be like like he’ll be tasked with taking Russia all the way in which. Dubbed the ‘Dream Killer’ for his potential to steal video games in worldwide play, that is one other alternative for Askarov to show he deserves to go within the high 10 of the draft. He’s probably the most hyped goaltender since Carey Worth.
John-Jason Peterka, RW (Germany)Germany is taking part in for survival within the relegation spherical, however think about how the Germans would have fared with out Peterka. By 5 video games, Peterka has scored 4 of the workforce’s 13 targets, with Dominik Bokk (CAR) scoring one other 4 himself. Peterka has been maybe probably the most spectacular draft prospect within the event, if solely as a result of he’s needed to lead one of many weaker groups via the what may be the hardest group in World Junior Championship historical past. With Germany one win away from remaining within the high flight for 2021, we’ll probably see Peterka – slated to be a 2020 first-rounder – on the event subsequent 12 months.
Tim Stutzle, C (Germany)At any time when Peterka does one thing spectacular, it’s sometimes as a result of Stutzle did one thing particular moments earlier. An unstoppable scoring drive with Adler Mannheim within the German League, Stutzle hasn’t had any challenge maintaining with the tempo set by the event’s greatest gamers with 5 factors in his first 5 video games. Stutzle’s greatest attribute is his knack for establishing the expertise round him, which is able to make him a helpful playmaker within the NHL sometime. That day won’t be distant for the projected top-10 choose.
Lukas Reichel, LW (Germany)The third piece of the German scoring trio, Reichel has impressed with 4 factors in 5 video games. Don’t get it twisted: Reichel isn’t a 3rd wheel trailing behind and choosing up scraps. He’s really creating a number of his personal scoring possibilities. He has been one-third of probably the most thrilling ahead traces within the event alongside Stutzle and Peterka, and Reichel’s distinctive model of high-end pace and puck smarts has pushed him nearer to second-round draft standing.
Jamie Drysdale, D (Canada)Canada’s blueline has been its weak point at factors, however after overcoming just a few tough patches early on, it’s clear Drysdale isn’t the issue. Drysdale has two assists via 5 video games, and whereas he has principally wearing a seventh-man function, Drysdale performed 15:21 towards the Czech Republic and was one in all Canada’s greatest gamers within the 7-2 victory. The expectations weren’t excessive for Drysdale as a 17-year-old within the event, however the projected top-10 choose will make an NHL workforce very pleased.
Dawson Mercer, RW (Canada)Mercer wasn’t introduced in to play an offensive function for Canada and, because the workforce’s 13th ahead, he hasn’t been used a complete lot usually. He’s the one Canadian participant with a mean ice time beneath 10 minutes. A projected first-round choose, Mercer has spent the event in a defensive function however has, of late, been given alternatives to fill in up the lineup to provide others a break. With Canada again at full power, although, don’t count on Mercer to play a lot going ahead.
Simon Knak, RW (Switzerland)Switzerland had a stable spherical robin, with scoring considerations seemingly disappearing as they netted 12 targets of their last two spherical robin video games earlier than falling to Russia within the quarterfinal. Regardless of posting simply two targets, Knak was one in all Switzerland’s sneaky-good gamers. Projected to go within the third spherical of the draft, Knak has wheels and a set of arms that make him troublesome to strip of the puck.
Jan Mysak, LW (Czech Republic)Even with accidents to key forwards, Mysak not often discovered himself taking part in necessary moments. The projected first-round choose averaged simply 14 minutes per sport and was utilized in inconsequential conditions more often than not regardless of his excessive offensive upside. And we’re not simply speaking about potential, both: Mysak is the most effective U-20 participant in the primary Czech League with 9 factors in 26 video games and proved he might deal with himself towards high competitors. The Czechs might have deployed him extra successfully, however he was as an alternative restricted to only two factors in 5 video games.
Samuel Knazko, D (Slovakia)Slovakia severely underperformed, successful its lone sport Kazakhstan to kick off the event. Knazko had only one help, however he ran the workforce’s high energy play at instances and skated towards different workforce’s high traces. Slated for the third spherical, Knazko is a powerful skater who, given the chance, will be capable of produce stable numbers on the professional stage. In different exhibition occasions, Knazko displayed his offensive prowess. Count on extra of that sooner or later.
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Tags: prospects, world junior championship, nhl draftConnect: In regards to the AuthorSteven EllisSteven Ellis is a Digital Content material Producer for The Hockey Information. He spends his free time listening to music you would not like and watches obnoxiously-long motor races.