WJC: 2019 preview

The 2019 IIHF World Junior Championship kicks off Wednesday in Vancouver

Brayton Wilson
December 26, 2018 - 6:19 am

Photo: Mark Blinch - The Canadian Press via AP

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The day after Christmas always kicks off the opening day of the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship, which takes place this year in Vancouver and Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

Last year, Canada re-claimed the title in Buffalo with a 3-1 win over Sweden in the gold medal game. It was the first time since the 2015 tournament in Toronto in which the Canadians took home the gold. Meanwhile, it was Casey Mittelstadt and Team USA taking home the bronze medal after beating the Czech Republic for third place.

This year's tournament is certainly set to be another fast-paced, high-tempt event as it has been for the past few years. 10 countries will square off against one another for the right to call themselves the best hockey nation at the under-20 level. The 10 teams will be split into two groups of five, and will play four preliminary games to determine their spot for the playoff rounds. Only the top-eight teams will make it to the playoff rounds, with the two teams with the worst preliminary record having to play in the relegation round to avoid being demoted back to Division I of the tournament.

The Buffalo Sabres will have four players taking part in this year's tournament. Competing in Group A will be forward Matej Pekar (2018 fourth round pick), who will skate for his home nation of the Czech Republic. In Group B, defenseman Mattias Samuelsson (2018 second round pick) will be dressing for the United States, while it will be defenseman Oskari Laaksonen (2017 third round pick) and goalie Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen (2017 second round pick) taking part with Finland.

Here are both of the groups for this tournament:


GROUP A:

  1. Canada
  2. Czech Republic
  3. Russia
  4. Switzerland
  5. Denmark

GROUP B:

  1. Sweden
  2. United States
  3. Finland
  4. Slovakia
  5. Kazakhstan


Here's how all 10 teams shake out for this year's tournament:

 

  • Canada

The defending gold medalists are poised to make another deep run at the World Junior Championship with a team stacked with plenty of speed and skill.

Leading the way for Canada is Anaheim Ducks prospect Maxime Comtois, who is the only player returning for his second World Junior tournament. Last year, the Ducks' second round pick in 2017 scored three goals and registered six points in seven games played in Buffalo, and played a significant depth role for Canada in their run to the gold. This year, Comtois will likely serve a pivotal role as a top forward for the Canadians, as well as serving as team captain.

Elsewhere up front, Canada features plenty of versatile players, who can change in and out down the middle and on the wings. The team also has a nice blend of playmaking ability with players like Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights), Nick Suzuki (Montreal Canadiens), Barrett Hayton (Arizona Coyotes) and Morgan Frost (Philadelphia Flyers), and goal scoring with players like Owen Tippett (Florida Panthers) and Shane Bowers (Colorado Avalanche).

On the blue line, Canada does not pack a punch with size and physicality, but they certainly can move the puck up ice and skate with players like Ty Smith (New Jersey Devils), Noah Dobson (New York Islanders) and Evan Bouchard (Edmonton Oilers) leading the way.

In net, it will be Michael DiPietro (Vancouver Canucks) and Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) being the backstop for Canada. If there is a point of weakness with this team, it could be in net if Canada starts to get sloppy in the defensive zone. It will likely be DiPietro to get a majority of the game action throughout the tournament.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Michael DiPietro, Ian Scott


Defense:

Evan Bouchard (A), Josh Brook, Jared McIsaac, Ian Mitchell (A), Noah Dobson, Markus Phillips, Ty Smith


Forwards:

Cody Glass, Joe Veleno, Jaret Anderson-Dolan (A), Maxime Comtois (C), Shane Bowers, MacKenzie Entwistle, Nick Suzuki, Brett Leason, Owen Tippett, Alexis Lafrenière, Jack Studnicka, Morgan Frost, Barrett Hayton

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: Alexis Lafrenière (2020 NHL Draft)

While he is the youngest player to be playing in the 2019 World Junior Championship, Lafrenière is expected to be the top pick of the 2020 NHL Draft.

The 17-year-old is already lighting up the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playing with the Rimouski Océanic, scoring 17 goals and 54 points in 31 games played. That currently has him ninth in the league in scoring, but the youngster is already playing as a high-level player at his young age. His scoring pace and style of play has him projected to be the next exceptional talent to come in to the NHL like Connor McDavid was in 2015.

Lafrenière is already 6' 1" and 192-pounds at 17, and still has some room to grow physically. He's also got plenty of room to grow with his game, and he continues to improve with his play every time he steps onto the ice. He's an exceptional playmaker, great in tight spaces, and has a quick release with his shot.

While his role with the Canadians might not be a big one, he can certainly provide some offense in a depth role.

 

  • Sweden

Sweden would certainly like to have the presence of Rasmus Dahlin on the blue line, but the team will certainly find a way to compete this year as another one of the powerhouse teams in the tournament.

As usual, the Swedes are led by an exceptional group of talented defenseman who are very solid in their own end while providing an offensive flair. That group will be led by Erik Brännström (VGK), who returns to the roster from the 2018 tournament as the team's captain. The 19-year-old played alongside Dahlin for most of the 2018 tournament in Buffalo, and got the chance to display his speed and extremely crafty puck handling skills. This season in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves, Brännström has four goals and 20 points in 24 games as he spends his first season learning the the North American game.

Other players like Rasmus Sandin (TOR) and Adam Boqvist (Chicago Blackhawks) can also provide plenty of offense on the back end, while playing some sound hockey in their own end.

The Swedes are also built with speed up front, but their concern might lie with the ability to put the puck in the back of the net. While this team has some good playmakers who can distribute the puck, they don't have a perennial goal scorer on their team like last year with Elias Pettersson or Lias Andersson. However, players like Fabian Zetterlund (NJD) and Isac Lundeström (ANA) return to the roster from the 2018 team and will look to provide some leadership and offensive spark.

Sweden should be fine in goal with Adam Åhman and Samuel Ersson (PHI) splitting time, but if the offense cannot score goals, that may serve as the team's downfall moving forward.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Adam Åhman, Samuel Ersson


Defense:

Adam Boqvist, Adam Ginning, Rasmus Sandin, Nils Lundkvist, Erik Brännström (C), Filip Westerlund, Philip Broberg


Forwards:

Emil Bemström, Samuel Fagemo, Johan Södergran, Oskar Bäck, Filip Sveningsson, Jacob Olofsson, Filip Hållander, Isac Lundeström (A), Lucas Elvenes, Rickard Hugg (A), David Gustafsson, Fabian Zetterlund (A), Pontus Holmberg

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: Samuel Fagemo and Philip Broberg

Fagemo is another product of the Frölunda program in the Swedish Hockey League that can put the puck in the net. He has a very good shot, but can also make some good moves on his feet to crash the net and make things difficult in front of the net. Fagemo is quickly climbing up the ranks, and could be a guy that improves his stock big time with a good tournament. There is a good chance that he can go as high as the second round in the 2019 NHL Draft, but will probably go somewhere between the third and fifth round.

As for Broberg, the 17-year-old is quite the talent from the blue line that could very well be a top-10 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. He skates very well with the puck, and finds many different ways to get the puck to the net. Broberg is also a good transitional player with the ability to move the puck in transition or take the puck himself by using his speed.

He really shined at the Ivan Hlinka tournament this summer with the Swedish team in Edmonton, Alberta, and could certainly be an under-lying weapon for the Swedes in Vancouver.

 

  • United States

Team USA will look to get back to the gold medal game in 2019 after settling for the bronze medal in 2018 in Buffalo.

This year's group has a nice mix of speed and size on the roster, and they will certainly pack a punch in the offensive department.

Returning to this year's group includes defensemen Mikey Anderson (Los Angeles Kings), Quinn Hughes (Vancouver Canucks) and Dylan Samberg (Winnipeg Jets), as well as Josh Norris (Ottawa Senators) and Ryan Poehling (Montreal Canadiens) at forward. If there is one team that will have the strength of experience in this tournament, the U.S. group will certainly be one of them.

Anderson will lead the way for the group as he has been named as team captain by head coach Mike Hastings. Hughes and Norris will also be part of the leadership group as Hastings' alternate captains.

In addition to the experience on the blue line, the 2019 U.S. team brings some size with guys like Samberg, Philip Kemp (EDM), K'Andre Miller (New York Rangers), Samuelsson and Jack St. Ivany (PHI) all measuring in 6' 3" or higher. While the blue line may have many big bodies among the group, they certainly can keep up with the speed of play.

Up front, the Americans bring some very good offensive snipers like Joel Farabee (PHI), Oliver Wahlstrom (New York Islanders), and Jay O'Brien (PHI). However, this squad has plenty of players who can evenly distribute the puck, as well as score and put up points. Maybe their strongest asset up front is the depth at center with young Jack Hughes, Poehling and Norris.

While the United States may lack in experience in goal, they shouldn't have to worry about much with the team's ability to shut things down in their own zone.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Kyle Keyser, Cayden Primeau, Spencer Knight


Defense:

Jack St. Ivany, Dylan Samberg, Quinn Hughes, K'Andre Miller, Mattias Samuelsson, Phil Kemp, Mikey Anderson


Forwards:

Jack Hughes, Alexander Chmelevski, Tyler Madden, Ryan Poehling, Logan Cockerill, Josh Norris, Jason Robertson, Jay O'Brien, Evan Barratt, Oliver Wahlstrom, Jack Drury, Noah Cates, Joel Farabee

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: Mattias Samuelsson

Standing at 6' 4" and 218-pounds, Samuelsson is certainly a massive being on the blue line for the United States. He is certainly a reliable and smart player in his own end, and has shown to be an exceptional leader while playing with the United Stated National Development Program. He captained Team USA to a silver medal at the 2018 IIHF Under-18 World Championship, registering a goal and an assist in seven games played.

However, the 18-year-old can certainly provide an offensive uptick when his team needs it. At Western Michigan this season, Samuelsson has scored three goals and picked up five assists in 16 games played, and is becoming a better two-way defenseman. Despite his big size, he can also find a way to get down the ice whether he's joining the rush or getting back on defense. He has also been able to improve with his puck movement and his transitional game. Nonetheless, he will likely be more looked at as a reliable stay-at-home defenseman for this U.S. squad.
 

Draft Eligible prospects: Jack Hughes

Jack Hughes, younger brother of Quinn, is expected to be the consensus No. 1 overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft,

The 17-year-old center may not be the biggest of forwards on this U.S. squad, but he certainly makes up for that with his blazing speed and incredible offensive creativity. While he's mainly a playmaker with an insane ability to skate all over teams with the puck, he can certainly deposit shots into the back of the net with ease. The 5' 10" and 165-pound forward has been said to possess the same skill set as a Patrick Kane with his quick hands and elusiveness on the ice.

At the Under-18 World Championship, Hughes scored five goals and registered 12 points in seven games as the United States captured a silver medal. It is possible he could put up some similar production for the U.S. as he could be looked to be a top-six forward with this squad.

 

  • Czech Republic

Last season was a magical run for the Czechs as they made it to the semifinal round of the World Juniors for the first time since 2005. Unfortunately, they ran into a buzzsaw with the Canadians in the semifinal, and then the United States in the bronze medal game.

This year could be another year where the Czechs find themselves playing for a medal as a number of their top offensive weapons are returning to this year's team. Their top line of Filip Zadina (Detroit Red Wings)-Martin Necas (Carolina Hurricanes)-Martin Kaut (COL) will be reunited after combining to put up 26 points in seven games in last year's tournament. In addition, Jakub Lauko (Boston Bruins) returns to the roster this year and will likely play a bigger role with the Czechs this time around.

However, the Czechs will be without a couple of offensive contributors from last year as Filip Chytil (NYR) and Ostap Safin (EDM) were both left off of this year's roster.

The Czechs will also have Jakub Skarek (NYI) back in goal as he was pretty solid for the team in last year's tournament. However, the question will, once again, lie on the blue line and whether they can keep up with the speed of teams like Canada, Russia and even Switzerland. Filip Král (TOR) and Jakub Galvas (CHI) will return on the blue line and be relied upon to play bigger roles this time around, but it is kind of unknown what to expect with the rest of the defense.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Jakub Skarek, Lukas Dostal, Jiri Patera


Defense:

David Kvasnicka, Michael Gaspar, Jakub Galvas, Filip Král, Dalimil Mikyska, Daniel Bukac


Forwards:

Matej Pekar, Jan Kern, Jan Hladonik, Jakub Lauko, Martin Kaut, Ondrej Machala, Martin Necas (C), Filip Zadina, Jakub Pour, Krystof Hrabik, Karel Plasek, Jáchym Kondelík

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: Matej Pekar

Many fans loved Pekar while watching him at development camp because of his wiry temperament on the ice. He stated that he wants to emulate his play after Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand, which gets many fans in Buffalo excited for his potential.

On this Czech team, Pekar will likely be more of a depth player on a third line role, but that doesn't mean he can't put up some offensive production. In his first season with the Barrie Colts in the Ontario Hockey League, Pekar has scored 12 goals and registered 33 points in 30 games played. Last year, he scored 14 goals and picked up 54 points on his way to the USHL Rookie of the Year honors with the Muskegon Lumberjacks.

He may not be an intimidating figure on the ice with his 6' 0" and 170-pound frame, but he will certainly get under the skin of any player he faces. Should be entertaining to watch how he progresses with his play in Vancouver.

 

Draft Eligible prospects: NONE

 

  • Russia

As the Russians have done for several years at this tournament, they will bring a bevy of offensively skilled players at forward, while also bringing some bruising blue liners that continually make things difficult for opposing offenses.

Leading the group will be Klim Kostin (St. Louis Blues), who is the only player returning for his second tournament with the Russians. He will also be the leader of the group as he has been named as captain of his home nation. Joining Kostin up front to provide a punch offensively is Grigori Denisenko (Florida Panthers) and Vitali Kravtsov (NYR), who are also former first round picks in the NHL Draft.

Alexander Alexeyev (Washington Capitals) is among the most notable players on the blue line, while the goaltending situation seems to be just fine with Daniil Tarasov (Columbus Blue Jackets) likely leading the way in net.

Russia certainly is not the strongest of teams in this year's tournament, but they are hoping that they can get back to the medal rounds after missing in last year's tournament for the first time since 2010.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Amir Miftakhov, Daniil Tarasov, Pyotr Kochetkov


Defense:

Danil Zhuralyov, Alexander Alexeyev, Dmitri Samorukov (A), Ilya Morozov, Alexander Romanov, Mark Rubinchik


Forwards:

Artyom Galimov, Stepan Starkov, Vasili Podkolzin, Kirill Marchenko, Vitali Kravtsov (A), Nikolai Kovalenko, Pavel Shen, Ivan D. Morozov, Ivan Muranov, Klim Kostin (C), Grigori Denisenko, Kirill Slepets

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: NONE

 

  • Finland

This could be a bounce back year for Finland after a couple of down years following the country's gold medal win at the 2016 World Junior Championship on home soil. Last year, the Finns came locked and loaded with plenty of offensive firepower and strong defensive pieces, but ended up getting snake-bitten with a lack of goals and some discouraging defensive play all around. However, that was a drastic improvement after nearly being relegated in the 2017 tournament in Montreal.

This Finnish team has plenty of offensive weapons to inflict fear in the eyes of their opponents with players like Eeli Tolvanen (Nashville Predators), Rasmus Kupari (LAK) and Aleksi Heponiemi (FLA) returning to make another run for the gold medal. In addition, the team is bringing in some very young offensive talents in Kaapo Kakko (2019) and Anton Lundell (2020) that could go very high in the next two NHL Drafts.

The blue line may be the team's weakest link as outside of the team's returning defensemen in Henri Jokiharju (CHI) and Urho Vaakanainen (BOS), Finland has a relatively young and inexperienced group.

However, Luukkonen is returning to the net for the Finns and looks more comfortable than he did last year in Buffalo. He is expected to get a majority of the work load, like last year, and could help Finland get over the hump again and back into the medal rounds.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen, Filip Lindberg, Lassi Lehtinen


Defense:

Oskari Laaksonen, Henri Jokiharju (A), Toni Utunen, Urho Vaakanainen (A), Otto Latvala, Ville Heinola


Forwards:

Aleksi Heponiemi, Samuli Vainionpää, Teemu Engberg, Rasmus Kupari, Eeli Tolvanen, Santeri Virtanen, Linus Nyman, Kaapo Kakko, Aarne Talvitie (C), Jesse Ylönen, Sami Moilanen, Anton Lundell

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: Oskari Laaksonen and Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen

When the Sabres selected Laaksonen in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft, just about no one knew who the 17-year-old kid was out of Tampere, Finland. He was originally listed as a very small defenseman, weighing in at around 140-pounds.

However, the 19-year-old now has grown and blossomed into a potential steal for the Sabres. Now standing at 6' 2" and 165-pounds, Laaksonen is a blue liner that is developing as a modern day defenseman in the National Hockey League. The right-hander is becoming a mobile, puck moving defenseman with a knack for the offensive side of the game. So far in his first season playing in the Finnish Liiga (Finland's top professional division), Laaksonen has scored three goals and added 10 assists in 26 games with Ilves.

Laaksonen really started to show some promise with his play at the 2018 World Junior Summer Showcase in Kamloops, British Columbia. In the warm up for the World Juniors, Laaksonen was seeing plenty of time on Finland's top defensive unit, as well as getting a long look on the top power play unit. He skated very well on his feet, made some nice plays in his transitional game with some good passes and getting into the offensive attack.

He is certainly a guy that will be watched heavily with his development continuing to take a turn in the right direction.

As for Luukkonen, he is having a stellar first season in North America playing with the Sudbury Wolves in the OHL. In 26 games played this season, the 19-year-old netminder has posted a record of 19-5-1 with a 2.49 goals-against average and a .923 save percentage. In addition to his stellar play in the OHL, he is showing Jason Botterill that his development as a goalie continue to get better and better. He may already be a big goaltender at 6' 5" and 209-pounds, but his mechanics and his movement in net has improved even since his draft year.

If Luukkonen is on top of his game in Vancouver, he may be the key to getting the Finns back on top.

 

Draft Eligible prospects: Kaapo Kakko and Anton Lundell (2020 NHL Draft)

Kakko has burst on to the scene in the Finnish Liiga, and is projected, by many, to go as a top-three pick in the NHL Draft.

In his first full professional season with TPS, the 17-year-old has scored nine goals and registered 20 points in 27 games, which puts him third in the league for players under the age of 20. Kakko is an extremely smart player on the wing and, often times, lets the game come to him. He's very smooth on his feet with the puck, and can make those quick decisions to put him in excellent position to make plays night-in and night-out. In addition, he has a nice quick release and plays the puck like he's playing hockey with an egg.

Kakko is well on his way to playing himself into a position where he can be the second overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft right behind Jack Hughes.

As for Lundell, the 17-year-old is off to a good start in his first season playing in the Finnish Liiga with HIFK. The young forward has scored four goals and picked up six assists in 20 games, but is coming along nicely as a young kid who will be eligible for the draft in 2020. Lundell could, potentially, be a kid who could contend to go No. 2 overall behind Lafrenière in 2020 with his great release and his potential to become a franchise centerman with a good two-way game. However, there is still plenty to time to see how Lundell develops in Finland.

 

  • Slovakia

Last year was a decent run for the Slovaks in Buffalo, finishing the tournament with two wins, including a big upset victory over the United States in preliminary play.

Slovakia has a couple of key players from their run last year returning, including Martin Fehérváry, Adam Liska, Milos Roman and Adam Ruzicka, but the rest of the team is relatively new.

You never know how this tournament can play out for a team like Slovakia. Just look back to 2015 when the Slovaks came out of Toronto with a bronze medal behind some stellar goaltending. If that can happen again, anything is possible. However, it seems like the Slovaks will finish in the middle of the pack, as per usual.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Jakub Kostelny, Samuel Hlavaj, Juraj Sklenar


Defense:

Martin Fehérváry (C), Marek Korencik, Marcel Dlugos, Andrej Golian, Daniel Demo, Adam Ziak, Michal Ivan


Forwards:

Filip Krivosik, Pavol Regenda, Milos Kelemen, Patrik Hrehorcak, Milos Fafrak, Adam Ruzicka, Adam Liska, Jozef Balaz, Martin Pospisil, Milos Roman, Andrej Kollár, Andrej Kukuca

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: NONE

 

  • Switzerland

Like the Slovaks, you can never fully anticipate what the Swiss will do at the World Juniors year-in and year-out. However, if they get hot, they could certainly set themselves up for a good run.

Last year, Switzerland averaged the youngest team in the entire tournament, but still managed to come out of Buffalo with an eighth place finish. This year, 11 players from the 2018 squad are returning to play with the Swiss National Team again in Vancouver. That experience could be extremely helpful for this group, and could potentially get them a solid run in 2019.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Gianluca Zaetta, Akira Schmid, Luca Hollenstein


Defense:

Simon Le Coultre, Janis Jérôme Moser, Nico Gross (A), Davyd Barandun, Tim Berni, David Aebischer, Tobias Geisser


Forwards:

Marco Lehmann, Nicolas Müller, Yannick Brüschweiler, Sven Leuenberger, Jeremi Gerber, Justin Sigrist, Sandro Schmid, Matthew Verboon, Valentin Nussbaumer, Ramon Tanner, Nando Eggenberger (C), Philipp Kurashev (A)

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: Valentin Nussbaumer

Nussbaumer was the youngest player at the 2018 tournament, scoring a goal in five games played.

The 18-year-old has been adjusting to life in North America this season, spending his first season with the Shawinigan Cataractes in the QMJHL. In 30 games played to this point, Nussbaumer has scored seven goals and picked up 18 points.

While is draft stock is not so high right now, maybe a good tournament in Vancouver can jump start and turnaround in where he stands heading into his draft year.

 

  • Denmark

Last year was a disappointing year for the Danes in Buffalo, nearly getting relegated after a tough preliminary round playing in a group with the United States, Canada, Finland and Slovakia.

However, things don't get any easier for Denmark as they get set to play in Group A with Canada, the Czech Republic, Russia and Switzerland. It could be a real possibility that Denmark will find themselves back in the relegation round in 2019.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

William Rørth, Mads Søgaard, Albert Adamsen


Defense:

Magnus Koch, Malte Setkov, Lasse Holm Mortensen, Victor Andersen, Jeppe Urup Mogensen, Daniel Baastrup Andersen, Oscar Schulze


Forwards:

Jonathan Brinkman, Oliver Kjær, Jonas Røndbjerg, Lucas Andersen, Jakob Wittendorf, Christoffer Gath, Lukas Bach Nielsen, Gustav Green, Andreas Grundtvig, David Madsen, Emil Marcussen, Phillip Schultz, Victor Cubars

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: NONE

 

  • Kazakhstan

Last year, Kazakhstan earned themselves a berth in the Top Division of the IIHF Under-20 World Junior Championship after winning the Division IA title over Latvia and Germany right behind them.

Unfortunately for Kazakhstan, the team finds themselves as a team that probably will not have a chance against many of the teams they will face in its group. They will have to play Sweden, the United States, Finland and Slovakia, and have to earn a win in order to solidify themselves a spot in the 2020 World Junior Championship in the Czech Republic.

That seems like an extremely tough task, especially with a roster that consists of just one player playing professional hockey in Russia.

Good luck, Kazakhstan.

Here's a look at the full roster:

 

Goalies:

Vladislav Nurek, Denis Karatayev, Demid Yeremeyev


Defense:

Ernar Musabayev, Samat Daniyar, Valeri Orekhov, Yaroslav Khripkov, Artyom Korolyov, David Muratov, Yevgeni Shinkaretsky


Forwards:

Oleg Boiko, Andrei Buyalsky, Aidos Zhorabek, Dias Guseinov, Davyd Makutsky, Artur Gatiyatov, Sayan Daniyar, Batyrlan Muratov, Dmitri Mitenkov, Ruslan Dyomin, Danil Tretyakovsky, Ivan Vereshchagin, Maxim Musorov

 

Players to Watch:

Sabres prospects: NONE

Draft Eligible prospects: NONE

 

PREDICTIONS

Group A:

Canada: 4-0-0-0 (16 points)

Czech Republic: 2-1-1-0 (8 points)

Russia: 2-1-0-1 (7 points)

Switzerland: 1-0-0-3 (3 points)

Denmark: 0-0-0-4 (0 points)*


Group B:

United States: 3-0-1-0 (11 points)

Finland: 2-1-1-0 (8 points)

Sweden: 2-1-0-1 (7 points)

Slovakia: 1-0-0-3 (3 points)

Kazakhstan: 0-0-0-4 (0 points)

* - To play in relegation round

 

PLAYOFF ROUND:

Quarterfinals:

1A - Canada vs. 4B - Slovakia

2B - Finland vs. 3A - Russia


1B - United States vs. 4A - Switzerland

2A - Czech Republic vs. 3B - Sweden

 

Semifinals:

1A - Canada vs. 2B - Finland

1B - United States vs. 3B - Sweden

 

Bronze Medal Game:

Canada over Sweden

 

Gold Medal Game:

United States over Finland

 

Relegation Round:

Kazakhstan gets relegated to Division IA**

** - Germany is being promoted to the Top Division in 2020

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