One Player to Watch For Each Team at the World Juniors

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For the average human being, the last two weeks of December are always exciting because of the holidays.

For hockey fans, that period of time is exciting for two reasons. The holidays, as well as the World Juniors. The time of year where we get to watch the future of hockey represent their countries and face off in one of the most highly touted tournaments of the year. For this year’s festivities, I am going to be joining forces with my fellow prospects colleague, Tyler Kuehl, and publishing our picks for one player to watch from each country. Without further ado, let’s dive in.

GROUP A

CANADA

Tyler Kuehl – Alexis Lafreniere (LW)

Very good hands, good hard shot, and very agile. Dominated in the Hlinka Gretzky Cup.

Alex Hobson – Alexis Lafreniere (LW)

Projected to be the first overall pick in the 2020 NHL Draft. Putting up incredible totals in the QMJHL, will likely be relied on for lots of Team Canada’s offense with the absence of Alex Formenton and Owen Tippett.

RUSSIA

Tyler Kuehl – Petr Kochetkov (G)

Goaltender that is bigger and can move around well for his size. Can steal a game, was huge for Russia in CHL/Russia series early this year

Alex Hobson – Vasili Podkolzin (RW)

Projected top ten pick in the 2019 NHL Draft. Known as a complete winger who doesn’t lack a single aspect in his game. Put up 15 points in eight U18 international contests this year.

CZECH REPUBLIC

Tyler Kuehl – Petr Cajka (C)

Plays big for 6′, can get up and down the ice quickly, solid at burying scoring chances.

Alex Hobson – Filip Zadina (LW)

Sixth overall pick at the 2018 NHL Draft. Has speed to burn and elite playmaking skills. Will be a huge part of the Czech offense.

SWITZERLAND

Tyler Kuehl – Kyen Sopa (D)

Seems to always find himself in the right place at the right time. A very hard-working winger, he is excellent play on the defensive side of the puck. Has 11 goals in 29 games playing for the Niagara Ice Dogs.

Alex Hobson – Philipp Kurashev (C)

Blackhawks fourth round pick in 2018. Mobile centre who isn’t a stranger to North American hockey. Will be relied on for lots of the Swiss’ offense.

DENMARK

Tyler Kuehl – Daniel Andersen (D)

Not a huge d-man, but is very mobile, and is a solid rushing defenceman in the SHL. Doesn’t put a whole lot of points up in Europe, however it is tough to score over there from the blue line.

Alex Hobson – Mads Sogaard (G)

Top ranked goalie for the 2019 NHL Draft. Absolute monster on skates at 6’7 and 196 lbs, having a very successful WHL season with a record of 10-4-2 with a GAA of 2.39 and a save percentage of .931. Could go as early as the first round.

GROUP B

UNITED STATES

Tyler Kuehl – Jack Hughes (C)

Very quick on his skates and is garnering lots of attention for the upcoming draft. Will be a big part of the States’ offense.

Alex Hobson – Jack Hughes (C)

Projected first overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. Will play alongside of his brother, Canucks prospect Quinn Hughes and act as a pivotal part of the youth representing the States.

SWEDEN

Tyler Kuehl – Hugo Leufvenius (LW)

Came to the Sarnia Sting after leaving Linkoping HC following the 2016-2017 season. His size makes him an imposing presence in the slot, and has a good firm shot to bury the puck from further out.

Alex Hobson – Phillip Broberg (D)

Playing for AIK of the Allsvenskan overseas this season. Has a hard shot and has exceptional skating ability which makes for an excellent combination with his size at 6’3 and 200 lbs.

FINLAND

Tyler Kuehl – Linus Nyman (LW)

Good two-way forward. Can play centre or wing. Is very responsible in his own end, and can produce in the offencive end.

Alex Hobson – Anton Lundell (C)

Top prospect for the 2020 NHL Draft and already putting up totals at a fast pace in Finland despite his young age. Good size and doesn’t really lack any aspect to his game.

SLOVAKIA

Tyler Kuehl – Michal Ivan (D)

A very offensive defenseman. Sort of like a Jake Gardiner, will make remarkable plays to set up scoring chances, his play in his own zone is iffy at times.

Alex Hobson – Milos Roman (C)

Initially projected very high for the 2018 NHL Draft, ended up slipping to the fourth round where the Calgary Flames selected him. Roman has turned it around this year and will be leaned on for lots of offense for the Slovaks.

KAZAKHSTAN

Tyler Kuehl – Sayan Daniyar (C)

Sayan Daniya is leading the MHL (Russian junior league) in points, and is going to be a playmaker on the power play for the Kazakhs.

Alex Hobson – Sayan Daniyar (C)

Putting up lots of points in the MHL usually gets you drafted, and while that hasn’t been the case for Daniyar yet, he could earn himself a shot at the big leagues if he has an impressive world junior performance. Agile centre with great hands and elite passing ability.

stats from eliteprospects.com

featured image photo credit – Pixabay.com

Author: Alex Hobson