Czech Republic World Junior Team: The Forwards

The Czech Republic U20 World Junior team are coming into the tournament lacking experienced players who have played at this level before, but they certainly are not lacking in offensive fire power. Lead by Filip Zadina, a projected top 5 pick in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, plus Martin Necas and Filip Chytil, two players who have played in the NHL early this season, they should be able to score enough against the weaker teams to prevent upsets, and stay in games against teams like Russia and Sweden, who they will be competing with in Pool B.

This team is stronger than the club that lost 5-3 to Canada in the 2017 Quarter-finals, and it shouldn’t surprise anybody if they go farther than that in 2018.

Continue reading “Czech Republic World Junior Team: The Forwards”

Czech Republic World Junior Team: Goaltenders and Defensemen

The Czech Republic U-20 World Junior team are considered big underdogs behind the big favourites in Pool B, Russia and Sweden. Barring any meltdowns (think Finland in 2017), they should finish ahead of Switzerland and Belarus for 3rd place. Even then, they’ll be playing either Canada or the United States in the Quarter-finals.

The road to the medal round will be tough for the Czech team, led by the 2018 draft eligible goaltender Jakub Skarek, who at age 17 was in goal for their quarter-final loss to Canada that ended their medal hopes.

They don’t have many returning players on the backend, but the team will be led by a trio of defenders who call the Western Hockey League home, perhaps giving them a slight edge on the North American ice surface.

Let’s take a look at the goaltenders and defensemen who will be on the Czech Republic U-20 World Junior team.

Continue reading “Czech Republic World Junior Team: Goaltenders and Defensemen”

Finland’s World Junior Team: The Forwards

Finland is looking to return to their previous glory of 2016 with the announcement of the players who are invited to their selection camp ahead of the 2018 IIHF World Juniors. There are few returnees, but the players selected have deep resumes on the international stage. Forwards who the Finnish brass hope can help the team return to the medal round include Aleksi Heponiemi (69 points in 28 games with Swift Current), Janne Kuokkanen (who’s played in the NHL this season with Carolina) and Eeli Tolvanen (lighting up the KHL as an 18-year-old). Finland has a strong defense this year, but the forward group looks very scary this year.

Continue reading “Finland’s World Junior Team: The Forwards”

Finland’s World Junior Team – Goalies and Defense

We are all excited about the annual holiday premier hockey tournament, so much so that the announcement for the list of players invited to the selection camp to decide who will play in the 2018 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship that will take place in Buffalo, New York starting on December 26th. Finland is a team who won gold at the 2016 tournament but fell all the way to the Relegation round a year later thanks to a disastrous round robin.

Today, we look at the goaltenders and defensemen who were named to the selection camp. It’s a very strong group on the backend, with all 9 defensemen picked in the first 4 rounds of the NHL draft while also having large resumes of international play with Finland’s youth teams. This Finland team will be closer to the 2016 Gold winning club than the team that almost lost to Latvia in the Relegation round.

Continue reading “Finland’s World Junior Team – Goalies and Defense”