The 2021 IIHF U-18 Tournament Recap
A big reason why I'm such a fan of this tournament is because it can be messy, fun hockey that showcases just how bright the future of this game is. This season was not only no different, but felt like that was ratcheted up to 11 out of 10. Maybe it's the two year period it's been without this tournament, maybe it's the raw talent of the names coming to the NHL in the future, maybe it's that a number of high end players were able to play when they normally wouldn't, maybe it's all of the above, but this tournament was a heck of a show and I wish I could've been there.
I won't waste a ton of time before breaking each team's effort down individually, but I also just want to mention that the U18 to me is just a nice tournament to casually evaluate specific cases, rather than making large judgements regarding a players game. It's short, many players have had tumultuous seasons, and lots of bounces going one way or the other can make a player seem much better or worse, so it's important to be careful when making observations. The way I see it, this tournament was a great experience to see cases who have caught my eye like Dmitri Kuzmin, Aleksi Heimosalmi, Ville Koivunen, and see what happens when their level of play is elevated to high end global talent, and what happens when they're on small ice. In some cases, my thoughts were confirmed. In others, it makes me want to go back and take another look. Which ones were which? Find out below!
10. Germany (0-4-0-0)