It's the greatest season of all! Happy Holidays everyone and I hope you're all well. If you've read these in prior years and just want access to the data sheet, say no more and click here!
The 2022 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship is upon us, and I think we're looking at one of the closer and more exciting tournament in the last couple years. While I believe there are medal favorites, some teams are bringing strong goaltending , some are loaded with young firepower, some are relying on strong defense, but many teams bring individuals who can help you win a tournament where a single line can land you in the medal rounds. COVID-19 prevented the promotion and relegation from last year, which unfortunately kept a relatively talented Belarusian group out of this tournament, and left in some teams that are likely to be back in Division 1A next year in Germany and Austria, but in any case, this tournament could turn out to be one of the closer installments we've seen recently.
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".
In any case, onto the team previews, starting with the team I believe is likeliest to be demoted to Division 1A, ending with my gold medal pick.
Stay safe, enjoy the holidays, get vaccinated, and thank you so much for reading!
10. Austria - 6.00 AvgNHLeS