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The World Junior Championship is all the time seen as the final word take a look at for one of the best prospects on the earth, each drafted and undrafted. And whereas the 2020 version can have its justifiable share of prime drafted NHL prospects, reminiscent of Barrett Hayton (ARI), Cole Caufield (MTL), Ville Heinola (WPG) and Rasmus Sandin (TOR), there can be loads of consideration paid to the 2020 draft prospects, which is taken into account by some specialists to be one of the best draft since 2003.
As many as six gamers who will seem on the world juniors will land within the prime 10 of the 2020 draft: Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, Alex Holtz, Lucas Raymond, Yaroslav Askarov and Tim Stutzle. (It will have been seven had an damage not taken Anton Lundell out of the match.) By comparability, simply 4 of the highest 10 alternatives from the 2019 draft performed within the match earlier that 12 months. Moreover, 29 first-year draft eligible gamers are slated to skate on the world juniors, one shy of tying the earlier document set in 2008.
Think about Canada. With a deep expertise pool, it’s uncommon the Canadians carry draft-eligible prospects to the match. However this 12 months, coach Dale Hunter’s workers invited 9 undrafted gamers to coaching camp, led by projected first- and second-overall picks Lafreniere and Byfield, each of whom made the minimize. Ahead Dawson Mercer, defenseman Jamie Drysdale and goalie Nico Daws, Canada’s solely over-aged draft-eligible prospect, made the group, as nicely. That’s 5 draft-eligible gamers. Given Canada’s huge participant base, that’s a excessive quantity. Final 12 months, the 2 undrafted forwards – Lafreniere and Brett Leason (WSH) – each made the group and performed pivotal roles out of choice camp. Previous to that, the final time a draft prospect made Canada was 2014. That was Connor McDavid.
Skipping to Russia, projected to be a prime group on the match, the nation has goaltending phenom Yaroslav Askarov for the primary of three potential World Junior tournaments. The beginning function isn’t his but, but when 19-year-old Amir Miftakhov can’t maintain the fort, Askarov can be able to swoop in. Coach Valeri Bragin is infamous for not giving underaged gamers a lot taking part in time, however Askarov has been dynamite in any respect different tournaments for Russia prior to now. He might very nicely be the precise possibility for the Russians. After all, we will’t neglect about winger Maxim Groshev, a projected top-100 decide in June. He has 24 video games KHL expertise and a purpose to his credit score towards Slovakia in Russia’s ultimate exhibition recreation on Monday.
Sweden has what Ryan Kennedy dubbed the ‘Terror Twins’, the deadly mixture of Holtz and Raymond. When paired collectively, Holtz and Raymond have discovered a technique to crush opponents internationally, normally with Karl Henriksson (NYR) centering the duo. Each Holtz and Raymond have challenged for match scoring titles and have frolicked within the prime Swedish League, bouncing round from function to function whereas getting used to older, extra skilled competitors. They’ll have Henriksson as soon as once more for the World Junior Championship, and whereas the elder statesman can produce fairly nicely himself, it’ll be his wingers doing probably the most harm.
Then there’s Germany, who might have as many as three first-round picks for the primary time ever. Certain, Moritz Seider (DET) and Dominik Bokk (CAR) can be counted on to push the group into the quarterfinals, however Stutzle is the nation’s prime ahead prospect since Leon Draisaitl. Few U-20 gamers play distinguished roles within the German DEL, however he has been a top-line ahead for Adler Mannheim and his 23 factors in 25 video games places him behind Marcel Goc (51) and Marco Sturm (47) for the single-season lead in scoring by a U-18 participant within the German League – and there’s nonetheless just a few months left to play. John-Jason Peterka and Lukas Reichel deserve important reward themselves and can be key top-six forwards for Germany because the group appears to be like to do one thing few groups can efficiently obtain: remaining within the prime world junior match after being lately promoted.
The Czech Republic has seven prospects price following, beginning with ahead Jaromir Pytlik. Slotted because the group’s first-line left winger, Pytlik has been one of many Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds’ greatest gamers and seemed energized throughout the Czech Republic’s exhibition recreation towards Slovakia. On protection, Simon Kubicek and Radek Kucerik, the group’s second-pairing, can be utilized in varied roles. Nick Malik is likely one of the prime goaltenders for the 2020 draft, however with Lukas Dostal and Lukas Parik in tow, Malik might not see a lot motion. You could be certain scouts can be watching if he does get a chance on residence ice, nevertheless. Forwards Adam Raska and Jan Mysak and defensemen Karel Klikorka received’t be brief on ice time, both.
With the aforementioned damage taking Lundell out of the match, the main target for Finland turns to Aatu Raty, one of many prime 2021 draft prospects. Finland’s prime middle on the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup throughout the summer season, Raty is a brilliant defensive participant and relentless forechecker with wheels. Raty’s stat line within the Finnish U-20 league appears to be like humorous – one purpose and 14 assists in 16 video games (he had 17 objectives and 31 factors en path to serving to Karpat win the U-20 title in 2018-19) – however he has skated in 12 video games in the primary Finnish League, as nicely. Raty will play an integral function in Finland’s title protection. Though he’s a 2021 draft prospect, his late 2002 birthday makes him the identical age as the highest 2020 names.
Regardless of making Martin Chromiak a ultimate minimize on Monday, the Slovaks nonetheless have two strong prospects in defensemen Samuel Knazko and Marko Stacha. In Knazko’s case, he’s having a implausible 12 months with TPS’ U-20 group in Finland and has already appeared in two U-18 World Championship tournaments at 15 and 16. Stacha is a late-bloomer as compared, however he has proven nice progress within the Slovakian league and will progress up the lineup because the match goes on.
The Individuals received’t have any first-year eligible prospects, however it’s unlikely Parker Ford will go unselected for a 3rd time after a great freshman effort with Windfall School. Switzerland’s Simon Knak has an opportunity to land within the second spherical, and together with his nation bringing a lackluster offensive group, Knak can be counted on to place factors on the board. Kazakhstan doesn’t have a single drafted prospect, and it’s unlikely that any of the 5 first-years will go in June, both. However there’s no scarcity of draft prospects on this match, and the expertise pool is particular. Get pleasure from it, as a result of lots of the greatest gamers this 12 months will make speedy jumps to the NHL in 2020-21.
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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.