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2021 World Junior Hockey Championships

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  • 2021 World Junior Hockey Championships

    Me, my brother, and my best friend all put in for the ticket draw. My brother got picked. Looks like he can get up to 4 seats, so we can all still go. The package he got comes with 8 games total - 5 preliminary round, including Canada's Boxing Day and New Years Eve games, and then one quarters game, one semi, and the bronze medal. The quarter and semi will be Canada's assuming they make it.

    Pretty stoked, but realistically we probably won't be able to stay in Edmonton the full ten days, so we're gonna have to make some decisions and try to sell some tickets, but New Years Eve game is an absolute must.

  • #2
    Holy! That is going to be such an amazing experience. And you're going to go into beast mode on your prospect analysis 6 months from now as it starts getting closer! :D


    • #3

      Well fuck. Good news is it looks like the tournament will still take place.


      • #4
        Oh shit, that SUCKS. Will your brother get priority access to purchase tickets for 2022?


        • #5
          I hadn't thought of that. I would imagine so. He hasn't mentioned that he got any news from them. I'll ask him tomorrow. 2022 might be even better to go to. The 2020 class will be 19. That ridiculous top 8 or so for 2022 should all be there, including Wright and Miroshnichenko. Michkov and Bedard should be there double under-age.


          • #6
            Aight well it's not gonna be the most in-depth I've ever done, but I figure I'll do a bit of preview.


            On paper, this looks like a powerhouse team. Some of the most offensive star power Canada has had in years. Losing Dach will be a huge blow, but there's still Perfetti, Quinn, Byfield, Cozens, Mercer, Newhook, McMichael, Holloway. Loaded with offensive firepower. The defense is stacked too, particularly the top two in Byram and Drysdale. Goaltending could be a weakness.

            The problem is, despite how good the team looks on paper, the European leagues have been playing since September - NCAA since November - while OHL and WHL haven't played since March. I can't imagine how this team can get up to speed in time, especially after the camp was cut short by quarantine. The Q has actually played some games, so this is why it makes sense for Jordan Spence and Jakob Pelletier to make the team over Seth Jarvis and some others.

            Offense : A
            Defense : A
            Goaltending : B-

            Award candidates: Byfield, Cozens, Drysdale, Byram


            This would probably be the safe pick to win the gold this year. Eight returning players. Loaded with 19 year old superstars. Cole Caufield and Trevor Zegras in particular looked unstoppable in their pre-tournament game. The forward group is at least as stacked as Canada's. USA has more top players from 2019 draft, while Canada has more top players from 2020 draft, which would seem to suggest that more of USA's top players are 19, until you consider how many of those top 2020 Canadians are late birthdays - Zary, Holloway, Quinn, Mercer. USA's defense corps isn't on the same level as Canada's on paper, but Jake Sanderson is arguably the best defenseman between the two teams, and Cam York is another quite elite player. Also Ryan Johnson was a first rounder, and Brock Faber is an extremely underrated two-way D. In goal, it doesn't get much better than a 19 year old Spencer Knight. And Dustin Wolf is an excellent secondary option.

            Offense : A
            Defense : B
            Goaltending : A+

            Award candidates: Knight, Caufield, Zegras, Sanderson
            Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-25-2020, 08:01 PM.


            • #7

              Following the same pattern from the past few years: An absolute embarrassment of riches on the back end, elite goaltending, and a good, but not great forward group. The defense isn't quite as stacked as last year's, but this time they have more star power at forward than they have in recent years, led by Holtz, Raymond and Niederbach, and also featuring Olausson, Nybeck, Gunler, Holmstrom. I'll be shocked if Raymond and Holtz don't stay together, as they have in every international tournament for years now, and considering Raymond and Niederbach have some familiarity with Frolunda, if that's a line, it could easily be the best line in the tournament. The defense is led by 19 year olds Soderstrom, Bjornfot and Broberg, forming the best big three in the tournament. After that, Andrae and Johansson might not be drafted as high as some of Canada's depth defense, but these guys have significant experience in the SHL, which is a difference-maker. After that, their depth falls off a ways though. In net, Jesper Wallstedt looks like the next in line of superstar goalie prospects after Knight and Askarov, but he's a bit younger and less experienced.

              Forwards : B+
              Defense : A-
              Goaltending : A-

              Award candidates: Holtz, Raymond, Soderstrom, Broberg


              This is one of the younger teams Russia has sent in years, but the talent-level is off the charts: Amirov, Chinakov, Khustnutdinov, Podkholzin, Ponamarov, Afanaseyev. Plus they have some big bodies up front in Groshev and Spiridonov. The defense is deep, but lacks the star power of Canada's or Sweden's. It is also very young by soviet standards. And then there's Askarov in the nets.

              Forwards : A
              Defense : B
              Goaltending : A

              Award candidates: Askarov, Amirov, Chinakhov, Podkolzin
              Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-25-2020, 08:03 PM.


              • #8
                I've been greatly enjoying watching Raymond and Holtz for Sweden. They were just good, not great, in the first two games against weaker competition, but they came alive tonight against Russia.

                I'm just so impressed with Holtz' development over the past year and a half. He was a fairly one dimensional player when he hit the SHL, but he learned and adapted to the pro game quickly. He spent last season just learning the pro game, and was able to fit into the top nine and contribute offensively due to his goal-scoring instincts. But this year he's been learning to be a goal-scorer at the pro level. This is easily the most confident and dynamic I've ever seen him with the puck.

                I've been a little less impressed with Raymond. At U18s and HGC a couple years ago he was just so dominant as an under-age. Now he's not technically underage here (although still has another year eligible) and he's been really good, but not dominant. He's shown some flashes of brilliance, but not enough for what I'm expecting from him (mind you, I have very high hopes). Unlike Holtz, who has been put in positions to succeed and grow with his SHL team, Raymond continues to see limited or inconsistent offensive opportunity in Frölunda. True, it is gradually improving, but he's still far from a go-to offensive weapon on his team. Of course, size, weight and strength remains a factor at that level. But it seems that his offensive development has somewhat stagnated. Not a major concern to me, this is basically expected as he physically matures - at least he is still learning the pro game continuing to develop his details and intangibles. The one other thing is, he is still trying to find his balance between when to use his skills, and when to play the system. At this level it seems he could be trying to do a little more to make things happen offensively. But at least he's not making the mistake of trying to do too much - the crucial thing will be to see how he picks his spots as the games get more important.

                All in all, both are basically in line with where I would expect them to be. Holtz maybe slightly ahead of schedule, and Raymond maybe slightly behind. I believe Holtz would be best suited to stay in SHL one more year (if he doesn't make NHL) where he could realistically challenge for a scoring title next year. Raymond would be best suited to make the move over to the AHL and learn the North American game, which better suits his style anyway. It's not like he's going to suddenly be a first liner either way. Despite how high I've been on him, I've said all along it would be a fairly long development curve, as he's going to need to be 180-185 lbs of lean muscle to play his game optimally at the pro level.


                • #9
                  Another thing worth noting: Raymond is now being listed at 161 lbs, after he was listed at 168 last year (and there was no NHL combine). Most likely he didn't lose weight, but rather it was exaggerated last year. This would further solidify the point I made continuously last year, that he was too small and weak to be playing in the SHL, but was there anyway because he's just such a smart, responsible, coachable (and talented, obviously) player.
                  Last edited by matchesmalone; 12-31-2020, 11:27 AM.


                  • #10
                    Holy shit, what the fuck happened with Matthew Beniers? Two years ago I thought he might be a first overall candidate, but that was based mostly on stats and some very limited viewings at the U18s where he was late-birthday-underage. Saw flashes of brilliance and I got excited. But last year that continued to be all it was: mostly just good to very good, but nothing exciting, except for the occasional flash of something next level. Still looked like a top ten talent, but there was a bunch of players I liked more.

                    I've now watched two USA games, and this kid has come alive. He's making things happen every shift, showing tremendous confidence and poise with the puck, and dynamic offensive maneuvers. Considering nobody else has really stepped up (or had the opportunity to) and cement that first overall position, I'd say Beniers has to be considered right in the thick of the race.


                    • #11
                      I did not like Holtz' game at all today. Yikes. Looked like junior Holtz from a couple years ago, trying to force things, throwing pucks away all over the ice. Raymond was much better comparatively, again not trying to force things or do too much, which on the one hand didn't lead to turnovers and odd-man rushes like Holtz did, but he didn't score either.

                      Absolutely love Soderstrom's offensive game. The way those three work the puck around the umbrella on the PP: Holtz-Soderstrom-Raymond. Lots of fun to watch. If it hadn't been for Askarov, they should have scored a bundle against Russia.

                      Honestly I've been consistently a little disappointed with Broberg - makes some weird decisions sometimes.

                      Zegras was phenomenal again. Sanderson had another very solid, but unspectacular game; he was a force defensively, but I'd like to see him skate the puck more.


                      • #12
                        It's a bit of a strange tournament this year. Traditionally, we've always had the Big Four. In the early 2000s, the Czechs were pushing to make it a big five, but they've fallen off somewhat. In the past decade, the Finns have been making a strong push and there were years where nobody would hesitate to call it a Big Five, but this year while the Finns are still clearly the fifth best team, they look like a bit of a step down.

                        For the past decade or so it seemed that the Swiss and Slovaks had established themselves as part of the middle tier with the Czechs and sometimes Finns, ahead of the relegation teams. But this year it feels more like a Big Four, then a middle tier consisting of only Czechs and Finns (Germany is close) and then Austria, Switzerland, Slovakia are the punching bags.

                        Within the big four, on paper at least, the USA and Canada look a little bit ahead of Russia and Sweden. We all know the basic logic that the top drafted players from 2019 will tend to be the best players, and the first round of 2019 was a distinctly North American affair. Russia had a phenomenonal 2020 class, so most of their top players are only 18. Sweden had very good, but not exceptionally deep classes in both 2019 and 2020, so they're a bit more of a mix.

                        I'm still kind of expecting that the semi-final between Canada and USA will be ultimately the championship-deciding game, but of course anything can happen in single-game elimination, and that's part of what we love about this tournament.


                        • #13
                          Thank you for all of these. I hadn't been able to follow much so far this year, so this was awesome.

                          Haha, Finland just beat Sweden in regulation 😆Heinola had a really slick play to get the puck to Lundell for the tying goal. Hirvonen sealed it with 25 seconds left on a desperation wraparound.

                          Gotta think some teams are working on offers to Florian Elias. I had him going in the 4th round but he went undrafted. Nice to see him have a strong tournament.


                          • #14
                            In this CAN - CZE game, Ryan Suzuki has looked out of place every time I've noticed him..


                            • #15
                              I like what I'm seeing from Jack Quinn.