Want to skip all the reading and just access the Google Sheet of rosters and data? Say no more. With that out of the way, I hope you enjoy this overview of what looks to be another great installment of this tournament!
Once again, it is the most wonderful time of the year, as we all binge eat tasty treats and delicious food items, loosen our belts, sit on the couch and yell while literal teenagers play hockey for their respective home nations for millions of absurdly intense fans around the world. Yes my friends, the 2023 IIHF World Junior Hockey tournament his season's tournament is lining up to be a heck of an instalment. Not only is this the first regular tournament with (hopefully) no interruptions and fans in the building since the 2020 tournament, but this year's group of players is not only remarkably top heavy with very bright youth for the future of the game, but beyond the top three teams, it could be a remarkably tight and even tournament full of upsets and surprises, even moreseo than usual. Yes, Canada is bringing the likely first two names called in the 2023 Draft this year, but I honestly cannot tell which team is going to push hardest for the last spot in the semifinals, only because Finland, Slovakia, and Czechia are bringing highly competitive teams, and who knows, with some luck in the round robin and quarterfinals, may put favoured teams like the US, Canada and Sweden on their heels a bit.
It's also time to congratulate the talented U20 group from Norway on their victory in the Division 1A tournament, earning a spot in the 2024 tournament in Sweden. They ran away with the tournament with a +11 goal differential in 5 games, and were the 2nd youngest team there, with 16 of 22 players eligible to return for next year headlined by talented names such as Petter Vesterheim, Mats Bakke Olsen, Michael Brandsegg-Nygård, and smol goalie king Markus Røhnebæk Stensrud. While I'm at it, shouts out to the Japanese U20 team continuing their strong progression internationally, earning their spot in the 1A tournament next year for the first time ever. As a last point, I'm incredibly proud to see the Ukrainian junior team come ever so close to landing themselves a spot in that tournament for the first time themselves before losing 7-4 to the Japanese. They've been locked at the 1B level since 2012, and coming paralyzingly close considering all the strife at home may sting, but I was proud of the effort put forth and hope they can build on it next year with 10 eligible returnees scattered throughout the world.
Before getting into the team-by-team previews, I'd like to just clarify what the metrics you're looking at are and what their caveats are. INV% is simply the average percentage of goals the team scores where the player has a point. Typically 20-25% is a great measure for defenders, and over 30% is quite notable for forwards. NHLeS is a metric I developed to age, league and position adjust a player's production and INV% to illustrate their general value. 20+ is historically 1st round production, but this metric can be a bit misleading in men's league hockey in Europe, as ice time can affect the likelihood of production, and many skilled players are held back from scoring situations more than higher end players in those leagues. It's a nice catch-all, but it does not illustrate "who is better than whom".
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10. Austria - 4.32 AvgNHLeS