Before we get started, I hope you and your respective families and friends are well. Life is tough for far too many in far too many ways these days. Better days are ahead, but until then, we're all in this together and I hope you're all safe and well.
If you'd like to skip this entire writeup and just look at the data sheet I put together, check it out at this link!
We're here! The IIHF U18 tournament, one of the most underrated that they put on, has finally returned after the 2020 tournament was unfortunately canceled. This year's tournament is an interesting mix of players flying under the radar and high profile names that haven't had much public visibility and I hope you're all as excited as I am to see what happens. There are many strong rosters, and almost across the board, goaltending may be a bit of a weak point for multiple teams, so I'm looking forward to a bit of firewagon hockey, especially considering the volume of players who have extremely small sample sizes.
Before breaking down the teams specifically, I'd also like to note that while the data available paints what I'd consider a relatively solid gauge of the talent on display on a team-by-team basis, a number of teams have players with an extremely limited to nonexistent sample. Teams like Sweden also have a number of players with extremely limited minutes in professional league just to keep them playing through the junior league shutdown, for example. In this piece, the order of the team's is a rough idea of where I think they could finish this season.
NHLeS represents an age, position and league adjusted evaluation of the value of their production, with 20+ being typical first round pick-level production. Inv% is simply the player's points per game divided by team goals per game to get a rough idea of how vital the player's output is relative to their team.
10. Germany - 7.14 AvgNHLeS