The IIHF Below-18 World Championship is about to start April 26, in Plano and Frisco, Texas. Usually held earlier in April, organizers have labored tirelessly to place the 10-team occasion collectively. With hockey intermittently performed and a number of other vital tournaments cancelled, this occasion might be checked out because the premier scouting occasion of the season. Will probably be the one time first-year draft eligibles (and youthful) will take part best-on-best inside their peer group.
It’s vital to notice that solely gamers born in 2003 and later are eligible to play on this occasion. A number of gamers who had been born after Sept. 15, 2002 and are first-year draft eligible usually are not permitted to play, and that leaves a number of projected first-round picks on the sidelines. From our April draft rankings, for instance, Owen Energy, Matt Beniers, Kent Johnson and William Eklund are all prime 10 projected, but are too outdated to play on this occasion.
Accidents and COVID-19 protocols have additionally taken their toll (Luke Hughes, Carson Lambos, Cole Sillinger, and many others.) however there are nonetheless loads of gamers to see.
As for Canada’s entrant into this occasion, it needs to be famous that this might be one in every of their strongest groups in a while, regardless of not having QMJHL gamers obtainable. The Q had sufficient of a daily season to go forward with a modified playoff format and crown a league champion. In a typical yr, CHL gamers wouldn’t be made obtainable for this occasion, as a result of they’d all nonetheless be in season.
Right here’s a have a look at various gamers to observe on this occasion, not only for the 2021 NHL draft and never simply on Group Canada, however properly past, too.
The narrative surrounding this draft class is what number of high-end defencemen can be found and whereas there are some lacking from this match, at the very least the primary two on this record will garner first general consideration.
Brandt Clarke, Canada: Set the Barrie Colts document for factors scored by a 16-year-old with 38 within the 2019-20 season. With no video games to play in Ontario this yr, Clarke took his act to Slovakia the place he labored his approach into being one in every of his group’s prime defencemen earlier than returning dwelling to play on this occasion. The massive proper shot defenceman is assertive and he’s a wizard with the puck.
Simon Edvinsson, Sweden: As is all the time the case, Group Sweden can have greater than its fair proportion of projected first-round gamers. At 6-foot-5 and 210 kilos, Edvinsson has performed at three totally different ranges this season and will really feel relaxed in a outstanding function.
Stanislav Svozil, Czech Republic: Made an important first impression in high-level competitors on the world juniors the place he logged just below 17 minutes per sport, whereas placing up one help. He’s the one A-rated participant on the Czech roster.
Corson Ceulemans, Canada: Suits the invoice as a 6-foot-2, 200-pound proper shot defenceman. Earned heavy minutes when he was capable of play within the AJHL. Must be attention-grabbing to see what function he’ll play with Canada and the way he’s capable of handle it.
Younger Weapons, 2022 draft eligible
Shane Wright, Canada: There could also be no participant within the match extra raring and able to play than Wright. After a 39-goal rookie season as an distinctive participant within the OHL, the everyday path would’ve seen Wright excel as a second-year participant in that league. As an alternative, the pandemic left solely the world juniors as an inexpensive purpose for Wright. That have additionally proved futile, as a pre-camp quarantine was adopted by one other two-week shutdown earlier than Wright was lower, with out ever having an actual likelihood to point out his stuff. He appears to be like in prime bodily form and if he can get the rust out in pre-tournament apply/play, there’s no motive why he can’t dominate this match.
Brad Lambert, Finland: Lambert is the nephew of Islanders assistant coach Lane, and the son of former WHLer Ross. Lambert made some noise on the world juniors, the place his utilization elevated because the match wore on and he ended up with 4 factors in seven video games. A phenom in his personal proper, Lambert spent the complete season within the Liiga, the place he put up 15 factors over 46 video games.
Ivan Miroshnichenko, Russia: He’s in, he’s out, he’s in once more. One other participant who launched himself to the hockey world on the Youth Olympics with six objectives and 12 factors for the gold medal-winning Russians. He’s large for his age, he’s a shooter, and he undoubtedly has presence.
Younger Weapons II, 2023 draft eligible
Connor Bedard, Canada: The sensational 15-year-old Regina Pat put up 28 factors in 15 WHL video games earlier than leaving for the match. The primary general decide within the 2020 WHL Bantam draft, Bedard was held off the scoresheet simply as soon as this season, whereas placing up multi-point efforts in two-thirds of his video games. He’s acquired a lot flare that his rookie season ended with an additional time game-winning purpose towards Brandon. With loads of 2003-born gamers obtainable to Group Canada, it’s an actual feather within the cap for him to have been chosen to play as a double under-ager.
Matvey Michkov, Russia: Michkov is to Connor Bedard, what Brad Lambert is to Shane Wright; gamers who will compete with a extra well-known participant to the general public to be the primary general decide within the 2022 and 2023 drafts, respectively. An web sensation, the 5-foot-9, 148-pound proper winger lit up the MHL (Russia’s junior league) with 38 objectives and 56 factors in 56 video games performed. He’s not unfamiliar to the worldwide hockey world, the place he scored 9 occasions in 4 video games throughout the 2020 Youth Olympic Video games en path to a gold medal.
Dylan Guenther, Canada: Was a projected prime 10 decide going into this shortened season, however after placing up six objectives and 10 factors in his first three WHL video games, prime 5 discuss was shortly generated. Little question Guenther might be within the dialog to be the primary ahead chosen within the draft. He’s a superb shooter who’s mild on his skates.
Chaz Lucius, USA: Recovering from damage, Lucius acquired into solely 12 video games with the USNTDP group, however he made his time rely. In his first sport again, he scored twice and wound up with 13 objectives and 18 factors in 12 video games. He might be one of many extra well-rested gamers on a group that ought to do some harm.
Samu Tuomaala, Finland: At the moment projected as the one Finnish-born participant anticipated to go within the first spherical of the 2021 draft. He possesses big-league scoring means and would characterize a successive string of Finnish phenoms that peaked in 2017 when Miro Heiskanen was the primary Finn to go within the draft, getting chosen third general by Dallas.
Mason McTavish, Canada: Sharp shooter who had a profitable rookie marketing campaign in 2019-20 with 29 objectives for the Peterborough Petes. One in all a handful of high-end OHL gamers who was capable of get video games in abroad (Switzerland for McTavish). This match is large for him.
Fabian Lysell, Sweden: A transfer to Lulea didn’t produce anticipated level totals, and that makes enjoying in his peer group a lot extra vital. Whereas there is no such thing as a denying Lysell’s talents and there’s no query his skillset suggests he’ll get picked within the prime half of the primary spherical, it would nonetheless be attention-grabbing to see how he fares in a nationwide group setting.
Sasha Pastujov, USA: Led the USNTDP in factors this season. Barely weighted in the direction of being a playmaker, but not afraid to shoot, Pastujov is an efficient skater with good arms. He bucked the brotherly development to go to Michigan and is as a substitute dedicated to Norte Dame.
Nikita Chibrikov, Russia: Is enjoyable to observe because of elite skating and edge work. The arms work properly with the toes. As Russia’s group captain he might be regarded to steer in additional methods than simply on offence.
Simon Robertsson, Sweden: Performs an influence sport that appears higher the extra you see it. This match ought to be capable to present ample runway to see his total talent set at work.