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2014 World Junior U20 Championship

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  • 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

    Some Sens players have opportunities to make splashes this year. Curtis Lazar will presumably play a big role on a checking line and penalty-kill, as well as hopefully score a few goals. My best guess at his linemates would be Scott Laughton and Fredrik Gauthier.

    Quentin Shore has a good shot at making USA, and as an older player, you never know where he might end up in the lineup. I recall the year the tournament was in Saskatoon, Leafs prospect Jerry D'Amigo, who was only a 7th round pick, ended up on USA's top line.

    Marcus Hogberg is the only under-20 goalie to have played even a minute in a Swedish pro league this year, and he's played ten games in Allsvenskan. His numbers there aren't great, but his numbers from the few games he's played in junior are more than enough to prove he's the best eligible goalie currently playing in Sweden, but his competition for the starting job will be stiff, coming from the older and higher-drafted Oscar Dansk.

    Will be fun to see if 2015 eligible phenoms Connor McDavid and Jack Eichel make team Canada and USA, respectively, plus a kid named Jonas Siegenthaler for the Swiss and a Mikko Rantanen for the Finns, and what they will do with the opportunity if they do make it. There's also gonna be a handful of good prospects for this years draft including (if they all make it, which is far from assured) Sam Reinhart and Aaron Ekblad for Canada, Anthony DeAngelo for USA, Anton Karlsson for Sweden, Jakub Vrana for the Czechs, Leon Draisaitl for Germany, Ivan Barbashev for Russia, Kevin Fiala for Switzerland and Kasperi Kapanen for Finland.

    It looks as if this is going to be one of those really well-balanced years, where all four of the usual contenders will have very strong teams, but no one looks to be really dominant. It was looking last year like Finland was starting to creep into that big four group and turn it into a big five, but with Barkov and Maatta staying with their NHL clubs, they'll have a tough time competing for a medal, although Teuvo Terravainen could end up being the best player in the tournament, and I believe Buffalo will make Ristolainen available, but I'm not certain. So they'll likely still be the 5th best team, even if they're just outside the pack of true contenders.

    A lot of Canada's hopes will rest on the condition of Jonathan Drouin. I haven't heard anything lately, but if he's playing, then he's the heavy favorite to win MVP and we'd have to be the favorite to win gold. If he's unable to go, it will have to be more of a group effort offensively, as although we have a lot of good forwards, it's one of those years where most of our dangerous forwards are just 18 year-olds. We'll have all kinds of skill, but a lack of experience and size up front could hurt. Our defense and goaltending are sure to be solid.

    Russia, it seems, will have Zadorov and Grigorenko made available, which will come as a huge relief to them, cus short of those guys their team, while deep as ever, would have been lacking in elite level talent. That is, of course, outside of Andrej Vasilievsky, who, if made available by his KHL club, should end up being the best goalie in the tournament.

    Sweden could be the most dangerous team offensively, led by Burakowski, Collberg, Wennberg, Nick Sorensen and Gustav Possler, and their D will be solid, headlined by Ludwig Bystrom and Robert Hagg and their goaltending could be sensational. They may not have the best single goalie in the tournament (probably Gillies or Vasilievsky), but it would be hard to argue that any other team can boast a tandem quite as good as Hogberg-Dansk.

    USA will be loaded with depth, but lacking true superstars at any position. Jon Gillies would be the best bet to have any kind of spectacular performance. Nick Kerdiles was my best guess coming into this season to be their star forward, but he's had a mediocre showing in college this season, so Riley Barber will likely be looked at to lead the charge. But really it's going to have to be a group effort, and the defense has even less star-power. But with the amount of size, grit and depths at all positions, the USA just can't be counted out.

  • #2
    Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

    lol Adam Erne is retarded. Hopefully Drouin plays.

    Gonna keep an eye on the tournament to see how Fucale looks.

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    • #3
      Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

      Woah, I didn't realize when I posted that how long it was. Haha, whoops, oh well, skim over it and then post your own opinions or predictions if you want.

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      • #4
        Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

        Great post Matches! I love reading your posts, especially when they concern junior players. Your knowledge is much appreciated :)

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        • #5
          Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

          So Canada has chosen Scott Laughton to captain the team. Good choice if you want a leader who leads by example - I can't imagine a harder-working player on the team - but a little bit interesting considering there are a couple of returning players...

          Carolina has released Elias Lindholm to play for Sweden. Two things to say about this: first, Sweden's already powerhouse offense just got that much more potent; and this isn't just like they're adding a top six forward - Lindholm will now be the best offensive weapon on a team full of offensive weapons - enormous boost for the home team. Second, Drouin, Grigorenko and Teuvo Terravainen will now have competition for the most dynamic offensive player in the tournament - he's that good.

          Sweden's one partial weak point might be on the blueline. Not to say it's a weak group, but compared to Canada's, it leaves a little to be desired... but then again, every team's might compared to Canada's this year - this might be the best defense Canada has put together in years.

          A friend pointed out to me earlier, that Sweden's goaltending tandem of Dansk and Hogberg are the same two that got lit up by USA in the gold medal game at the U18s two years ago, which some of you will remember I was posting about on the old forum. My friend hadn't watched the game, and thought this might indicate weak goaltending on the Swedish side, but nothing could be further from the truth. Recall USA was an absolute powerhouse team that year, led by the defense-tandem of Seth Jones and Jake Trouba, and the only team who even managed to score a goal against them all tournament was Canada, who mustered 4 while giving up 7 in two losses.

          Sweden was a very young team and just couldn't handle the American size, speed, structure or skill. USA mostly dominated the first period despite a couple penalties, but Oscar Dansk held Sweden in it, giving up just one goal. A bad giveaway in the second made it 2-0 on a breakaway, and then, if I remember correctly, it was a Seth Jones slapshot off the backboards that bounced right on to J.T. Compher's stick for the dagger (although I might be confusing that one with the winner against Canada). Dansk was yanked to try to spark Sweden but by then the young team was in full-panic mode, turnover after turnover led to odd-man rush after breakaway after odd-man rush - and the worse they went down on the scoreboard, the worse the effort kept getting, while USA kept their cool and buried more than enough of the chances they were handed on platter.

          Funny thing is, I remember thinking that if it wasn't for some remarkable stops by the Swedish goaltender, the game could have ended up 10-0 or worse; the rest of the team might as well have not showed up for the third period. But it wasn't until my friend mentioned it this morning that I realized that goalie was now-Sens prospect Marcus Hogberg. :o

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          • #6
            Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

            Filip Forsberg may be loaned by the Predators, too.

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            • #7
              Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

              Wow, Sweden's offense could be devastating.

              First pre-tournament game for Canada this morning against Finland. Very exciting news for Sens fans. Lazar and Drouin are healthy scratches. That's how much of a lock Lazar is to make the team. He's only 18! He's not a returnee and he'll even be eligible again next year! And he's already a pre-tourney healthy scratch. :o :shock:

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              • #8
                Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                Well I guess there goes my prediction of Lazar being part of the checking line. Bob McKenzie said Lazar is expected to line up on the top line on the right side of Drouin and Nic Petan.

                Canada down 2-1 at the end of the first. Finland's first goal was an iffy one for Fucale, the second was shorthanded and was just lackadaisical by Canada's PP. The three under-agers for Canada have been three of Canada's best few players. I knew they'd be important contributors, particularly Ekblad and Reinhart, but they've all been excellent, especially McDavid. The shift Canada scored on was almost all him, as a Finnish defenseman was recovering a loose puck in his zone, McDavid exploded in and, despite the Finnish player seemingly having perfect position on him, McDavid came with a reaching sticklift from behind, stripped the puck, went around the net and created a chance, a few seconds later, McDavid got the puck back and was almost levelled with a big hit but at the last second spun off the defender, got the pass off and Horvat sniped it for Canada's first goal. Reinhart had the other assist on that goal.

                Ekblad has played first unit PP and PK, and aside from Dumba, I believe has played the most minutes by a Canadian D-man. And he's been solid at both ends.

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                • #9
                  Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                  So Ekblad ended up with a goal and I think it would be safe to say he was Canada's best all-round defenseman. Not to be outdone by his fellow 2014-eligible star, Sam Reinhart was one of Canada's best four or five forwards. The most impressive thing for Reinhart was that when Canada had to kill a 5 on 3 for over a minute, Reinhart was the forward Sutter chose to put out for the whole thing, and they killed it. Aside from that he had a couple points and the Horvat-Reinhart-McDavid line spent most of every shift they played in the offensive line.

                  If Bob McKenzie is correct that the top line is expected to be Drouin-Petan-Lazar, then the Reinhart line will likely be the second line. Oh, and McDavid was just named player of the game - he was simply phenomenal. Every time he touched the puck you couldn't help but be on the edge of your seat. He and Reinhart have great chemistry together, spending so much time cycling the puck low, Horvat rounds out the line perfectly, hanging back in the high slot ready ready to jump on scoring chances or to backcheck in case the puck goes the other way. And there's no other player in this entire tournament you'd rather have backchecking than Horvat. Kid is Datsyuk/Toews-like with the way he forces turnovers.

                  Canada is going to have some really tough decisions to make regarding cuts. Some of the players I expected to be locks, had pretty weak games and have themselves on the bubble, particularly Hunter Shinkaruk. And a couple players I expected to be most on the bubble had very strong games, especially Josh Anderson, but Taylor Leier was also pretty good. The two who would seem most likely to be cut at this point are defenseman Chris Bigras and forward Felix Girard, which would still leave one more forward to cut. The most likely options right now would seem to be Leier, Shinkaruk, Gauthier or Hudon.

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                  • #10
                    Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                    Maybe Edmonton finally gets their defenseman (Ekblad)

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                    • #11
                      Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                      Haha good point. That seems to be the way things are playing out, with Buffalo getting Reinhart and Edmonton getting Ekblad. I watched some of the Sweden-USA game but kept getting pulled away for various things. Couldn`t even say much about many individual players as I never got enough of a chance to learn many players`numbers. Sweden`s offense is looking every bit as good as expected so far. Collberg and Wennberg both looked especially good. They gave up a number of odd-man rushes, but Dansk was lights out. Kid looks gigantic in the net.

                      The other 2015-eligible, Jack Eichel for USA, had a very good game too. Not nearly as sensational as McDavid, but he`s a quite different type of player. Only just turned 17, he`s already 6`1 or 6`2, and an imposing physical force. Looked strong on the forecheck and battling in front of the net, was good on the boards, and made a number of smart plays in the offensive zone from what I saw. He might not move as quick as McDavid, but he thinks the game well and makes very good split-second decisions.

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                      • #12
                        Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                        I wish I were 6'2" when I was 17.

                        Those hockey water bottles have special HGH.

                        jk jk

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                        • #13
                          Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                          Wow, awesome, thanks for the write up :)

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                          • #14
                            Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                            Wow, Sweden is dominating Canada at the end of the first. Canada didn't have a shot for the first 13 minutes and couldn't generate any kind of cycle or offensive zone time whatsoever. Once they finally got a shot, they started coming together a little, and looked good on the powerplay for the first minute before it was ended by Pouliot taking a penalty against Anton Karlsson.

                            Surprising that 17 year-old Karlsson was on the PK for Sweden, but he looked good, getting in hard and fast on the forecheck and forcing Pouliot to make a mistake and take a penalty to make up for it.

                            Lazar has been one of Canada's better players; he was in the middle of Canada's first good cycle along with Drouin, and Lazar drew the Swedish penalty. He also had two blocked shots, including one on the PK.

                            Hogberg is in net for Sweden but hasn't really been tested yet at all. A few of the Swedish players have looked really good, particularly De la Rose, Wennberg and Burakowski, but really everyone has been good so it's hard to single out any one or two.

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                            • #15
                              Re: 2014 World Junior U20 Championship

                              Sweden ended up winning 3-0. They were just simply the much better team. Dumba took a five minute major kneeing penalty in the 2nd, and will be facing potential supplemental discipline. Canada almost killed off the whole thing, giving up very few shots and hardly allowing Sweden to get set up in the zone. One or the other of Lazar or Horvat was on the ice for just about every second of that kill. When Sweden scored with one second left on the PP, I think it was the first shift of the whole five minutes that neither was on the ice.

                              Brent Sutter juggled his lines a lot after the first period. The one really interesting line combination tried that did have some success was Drouin-Petan-McDavid.

                              The best players in the game were Andre Burakowski and Jakob De la Rose. But so many Swedish players had good games, a few that need mentioning are Sebastien Collberg, Alex Wennberg, Christian Djoos, number 5, whose name is escaping me, Jonsson maybe, and Anton Karlsson. Karlsson is a feisty son of a gun. Quite the agitator, he drew penalties on both Pouliot and Sam Reinhart. Good size at about 6'1 and he gets in hard on the forecheck, ever (or especially) on the PK. Marcus Hogberg looked really solid on the few good chances Canada did have. Dansk was incredible against USA, so there's no reason to think he won't be the opening night starter, but Hogberg was good enough that if Dansk slips up at all, I don't think Sweden will hesitate to make the change.

                              I'm having a lot of trouble understanding how Canada kept Bigras over Damon Severson. I could see how it made some sense after the Finland game, as Bigras was one of Canada's regular penalty-killers, but today he made mistake after mistake, and was easily the worst player on the ice.

                              Lazar had a pretty solid all-round game. He was moved off the top line after the first period, I think partly to try to generate more offense on the top line, and partly to spread Lazar's two-way game throughout the lineup. He was still on the top PP unit throughout, so he'll get his offensive chances regardless where he ends up in the lineup. He had one really good chance on the PP, as usual just from being in the right place at the right time.

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