Just want the data? Fine. Click here. Or scroll down once the tournament begins and rosters are finalized.
It's the most wonderful time of the year once again as the IIHF World Junior Championships approach. Hosted in Ostrava, Czechia, the 2020 installation looks to be one of the more exciting tournaments I can remember in the last few iterations. The otherworldly 2019 USA National Program is ready to be unleashed on the planet, a historic 2020 crop from Canada is ready to hit the big time, the Swedish defense looks like the deepest of any team in years, and both Finland, Czechia and even Germany are bringing their fair share of 2020 eligible players that will be worth the watch. Names like Alexis Lafrenière, Quinton Byfield, Lucas Raymond, Alexander Holtz, Yaroslav Askarov, Anton Lundell and Tim Stützle headline a long list of undrafted players who could be huge players in this tournament, let alone the countless drafted and unmentioned 2020 eligibles that could be household names after this tournament.
It's honestly very hard for me to cut through the data to properly assess how these teams sit. A lot will come down to goaltending for many teams as it does many years, but questions as simple as "how far will the German top unit take them" are perfectly legitimate with many possible answers. It's a tremendously exciting year for many reasons and I hope that the on-ice product surpasses what's expected.
I also would like to note that rosters are still not finalized at time of publication for Patrons (December 24th). Once they're finalized, NHLeS and roster images with data will be added below.
Before we get into the analysis, I'd just like to mention that this is a tournament with the best junior talent each country thinks they have to offer. Not every player from Canada to Kazakhstan will touch NHL ice, drafted or undrafted, and that's okay. Fans are looking to watch their team's prospects, and the hype that comes from it can be near suffocating, and I feel that the idea of players not living up to the hype from this tournament been slightly devaluing it with regard to the interest hockey fans have. This tournament is about teenagers representing their country for what could very well be the last time on a major stage as best they can. The pressure on teams can be overwhelming, and fans can sometimes lose sight of what this tournament is all about (myself included frankly). I know that I'm going to be making a conscious effort to appreciate the tournament for the drama and the quality of these young players isolating players for whatever performances they may have for whatever decisions they may make. Putting Max Comtois on the ice for an OT penalty shot to get to the semifinal with an injured shoulder may be a decision that harmed Canada's chance at the tournament, but it doesn't change the fact that that quarterfinal game against Finland was a remarkable hockey game. We in the prospect world (again, myself included) should remember just how incredible the hockey can be a little more and appreciate the national pride that stems from this tournament.
#10 - Kazakhstan - 4.63NHLeS