Amongst different issues, the World Junior A Problem is the right option to kick off an thrilling month of hockey in December.
Created in 2006 and hosted every year by Hockey Canada, the event has performed host to names comparable to Andrei Vasilevskiy, Vladimir Tarasenko, Tyson Jost, David Pastrnak, Dante Fabbro, Cale Makar, Andrei Svechnikov, Cayden Primeau and Vasili Podkolzin, amongst many others. It’s quite common to see gamers go from the WJAC one 12 months to the world juniors the following and grow to be stars.
In principle, the event is used as a option to showcase the perfect tier-two gamers from world wide – most notably, the perfect gamers from the Canadian Jr. A League and its leagues such because the OJHL, BCHL, AJHL and CCHL, in addition to the USHL in america, usually seen because the main springboard in direction of the NCAA. However not each nation follows that hockey mannequin, which means Russia and the Czech Republic must get extra inventive. Russia sometimes makes use of this as preparation for the U-18 World Hockey Championship in April, whereas the Czechs this 12 months are a bit extra depleted than standard with the World Junior Championship going down later this month again dwelling.
The favorites sometimes are Canada West, made up of primarily AJHL and BCHL gamers, america and Russia. That gained’t change this 12 months, with every group carrying high-profile draft expertise. Canada East has just a few stable gamers however are sometimes a lot weaker than its western counterparts – with no star prospect to observe on the group this 12 months, Canada East will have to be inventive to attain objectives. The US maintain a 34-5-1 file all-time with eight gold medals, with Canada West (5 golds) the one different group to take the highest prize. Russia and Canada East have mixed for eight silver medals between them.
With the event set to run in Dawson Creek, B.C. from Dec. 7-15, listed here are 10 gamers – with an enormous concentrate on the 2020 NHL draft – that it is advisable know:
Michael Benning, D (Canada West)It appears just like the AJHL has one other star defenseman on their palms. As profiled by Ryan Kennedy final month, Benning – sure, from the identical household tree that produced Matt and Jim, amongst others – is strictly what you need from a defenseman in the present day: he’s a fluid skater, an incredible passer and might play any position requested of him. He’s a pacesetter on a robust Sherwood Park Crusaders group that sits third within the CJHL rankings, the identical group that options Carter Savoie and Carter Gylander. Benning holds a five-point benefit of Jaxsen Wyatt for the league lead in defensemen scoring with 40 and his 1.48 points-per-game common by 27 video games is the 11th-best all-time amongst single-season defensemen, three spots behind his uncle Jim.
Carter Savoie, LW (Canada West)Savoie’s youthful brother, Matt, might have all of the hype given his standing as an elite prospect for the 2022 NHL draft, however the older brother can’t merely be ignored. Whereas he does play tier-two hockey, solely Alexis Lafreniere (60) has extra factors than Savoie (51) amongst prime 2020 draft prospects, and he’s the one participant who has already scored 30 objectives this season. The most effective pure goal-scorers in Jr. A, Savoie is a significant motive why the Crusaders have been a top-five group within the CJHL, scoring almost twice as many objectives of anybody else on the group. Savoie is a small ahead at 5-foot-9, however he could make performs at a excessive velocity and his toes are all the time transferring. He’ll be a steal for any group that takes him within the third or fourth spherical.
Ryan Alexander, C (Canada East)The St. Michael’s Buzzers are a mid-pack membership within the OJHL, however the high quality of expertise on the roster is matched by only a few groups within the league. A small however puck-dominant ahead, Alexander sits third in U-18 scoring within the OJHL with 37 factors in 29 video games (Cole O’Hara and Ayrton Martino, who’ve 41 and 40 factors, respectively, are additionally on Canada East) whereas enjoying a outstanding top-line position with the Buzzers. Alexander is harmful in open ice, utilizing his high-end velocity and harmful snapshot to create alternatives for himself, and his play away from the puck – both defensively or alongside the boards to regain possession – is way forward of the capabilities of most OJHLers. He’ll be one in every of Canada East’s most vital gamers on a group that might want to search deep for objectives.
Cole O’Hara, RW (Canada East)The North York Rangers are in a rebuilding 12 months, however O’Hara has given the group one thing to cheer about on a nightly foundation. At the moment sitting fourth in OJHL scoring with 41 factors in 29 video games, O’Hara is the top-scoring U-18 participant within the league and will probably be an enormous supply of offense for Canada East. O’Hara is commonly the one creating performs for the Rangers due to his glorious imaginative and prescient and he hardly ever loses the puck throughout on-ice rushes as a consequence of his fast palms. O’Hara is a affected person ahead, utilizing time and house to make performs occur and he gained’t let others intimidate him. He isn’t an enormous child at 5-foot-11, however his pure puck expertise make up for it. This might be the occasion that basically places O’Hara on extra draft boards across the NHL.
Sean Farrell, LW (USA)The Chicago Metal is the group to observe within the USHL should you’re a fan of prospects, and Farrell leads the way in which with 30 factors in 20 video games. A projected second-round choose in 2020, Farrell is hard to knock off the puck and performs at a excessive tempo, forcing these round him to get higher to maintain up. A graduate of the U.S. NTDP, Farrell didn’t have a whole lot of hype as a bottom-six ahead, however his time with this system has actually helped him succeed as a full-time USHLer. He isn’t huge at 5-foot-9 however he performs a bodily recreation and doesn’t shrink back from difficult larger opponents, usually utilizing his velocity to finish a play. He’ll be deadly in Dawson Creek.
Ryder Rolston, C (USA)If his identify sounds acquainted, it’s as a result of Ryder is the son of Stanley Cup champion Brian Rolston. The youthful Rolston graduated from the united statesNTDP however was usually ignored on a group stuffed with stars. As a late 2001-born ahead, Rolston was allowed to return to the USHL, going No. 2 to Waterloo within the entry draft final spring. Since then, Rolston has been the Black Hawks’ greatest ahead, main the group with 10 objectives and 19 factors in 20 video games – no shock given his expertise with the national-team program. Rolston is a hardworking participant who may deliver worth to an NHL group as a utility ahead able to killing penalties and bringing power. He didn’t play on the U-17 World Hockey Problem or U-18 World Championship over the previous two years regardless of being a member of the event program, so that is his first huge alternative to characterize his nation.
Sam Colangelo, RW (USA)Colangelo was a late addition to the group, however he’s one of many largest risers within the USHL this season. A member of the Chicago Metal, Colangelo enters the event after scoring 24 factors in 20 video games as a USHL rookie whereas enjoying alongside Farrell and Brendan Brisson, amongst others. Colangelo, a Northeastern College commit, beforehand represented the U.S. on the Hlinka Gretzky Cup in 2018, scoring twice in 5 video games. Since then, Colangelo has additional improved his defensive play and one way or the other added extra top-end velocity to an already fast set of legs. He doesn’t have the hype of a number of the extra high-profile names on the roster, however Colangelo can dangle with the perfect of them.
Daniil Gushchin, RW (Russia)With over 50 video games performed with the Russian junior program over the previous three seasons, it’s clear Gushchin likes to characterize his nation. Gushchin has carried out at a point-per-game tempo with 17 factors to make him one of many higher imports within the USHL, and Muskegon will miss his providers as they toil close to the underside of the Western Convention. Gushchin, a small speedster at 5-foot-Eight, has fast palms and is all the time trying to find a possibility to make a move – and never simply simple, apparent ones, both. Rated as a ‘B’ prospect by the NHL Central Scouting Service, Gushchin has the potential to take his draft inventory to an entire new degree with a robust exhibiting in Dawson Creek.
Vasili Ponomaryov, C (Russia)One factor you’ll discover in regards to the World Junior A Problem is good slice of the event is stuffed with gamers who aren’t really in Jr. A. Working example: Ponomaryov is a point-per-game participant within the QMJHL with Shawinigan. Ponomaryov has been Russia’s greatest participant at each event he has performed in, highlighted by a formidable six-point run in 5 Hlinka Gretzky Cup video games final 12 months and 20 factors in 23 U-17 video games final season. A very good skater who likes to spend vital time across the web, Ponomaryov has a fast launch on his shot and sometimes places factors up in bunches as soon as he finds his groove. His expertise towards higher competitors will permit him to deal with his opponents with out many points.
Zack Malik, D (Czech Republic)Malik joined the USHL’s Muskegon Lumberjacks this season after two seasons within the OHL, usually enjoying a lesser position for Sudbury and North Bay. However by 9 video games this 12 months, Malik has been a stable offensive contributor with 5 assists. Malik has performed over 60 video games with the Czech junior group with restricted offensive manufacturing, however what he misses in two-way play he makes up with physicality and shutdown tendencies. He comes from good hockey pedigree, too: his dad, Marek Malik, will ceaselessly be referred to as the shootout famous person for the New York Rangers in 2005 and his brother, Nick Malik, is vying for a spot in web for the Czechs on the World Junior Championship again dwelling.
Different notables: Ayrton Martino, LW (Canada East), Brendan Brisson, LW (USA), Matthew Davis, G (Canada West), Daniil Chayka, D (Russia), Alexander Pashin, RW (Russia).
Tags: prospects, world junior a challengeConnect: 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.