2016 World Juniors Report (Day 6)

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For many the World Juniors is considered a 19-year-old tournament where the teams with the best 19-year-old players are in a good spot to win.

Those players are not easy to come by with more players playing the NHL at a young age than ever before.

The few players that are sent to the World Juniors are usually, at least for some of the big programs, are usually on the edge of making the NHL and could be there as soon as this year.

Some have already made their NHL debut and will be headed back to the main team when the tournament is over.

They are the players who often have the experience to keep things calm under the pressure of the tournament.

They are also the most developed players in the tournament and are quite often the biggest and strongest giving them an advantage.

There is another distinct group in the tournament that play this tournament with a different attitude than anyone else.

The draft eligible players, players usually 17-years of age, can use this tournament as one of the few major showcases they get.

The Juniors are the only major tournament where the young players in the game are featured by themselves and more often than not scouts are out in full force to take a look at young players.

The draft eligible players have everything to gain in this tournament with these scouts keeping a close eye on those that might be a part of their team in the near future.

There have been any number of great young players who took part in the tournament with their future on the line.

For a select few this tournament is a chance to prove that they are truly first round players and are worth a first overall pick in the upcoming draft.

That was the case last year when Connor McDavid joined Team Canada in a year that he was the consensus #1 pick in the draft. Still there were some doubters as other players were considered to be potential top picks, say Jack Eichel.

McDavid used the World Juniors as another chance to show his talent, which is exactly what he did putting up three goals and eight assists with eleven points, tying the top scorers in the tournament.

He was taken first overall in the draft a few months later as the Juniors were just another highlight of a great last year.hockey-sidebar

Although there have always been some great under-age players there are rare years where more than few take over the tournament.

The 2016 version of the tournament is one of those years though as this tournament has featured some of the best under-age talent in recent memory.

Coming into the tournament all eyes were on the young American, Auston Matthews, who is the consensus #1 pick in the 2016 draft.

To start the tournament he wasn’t as explosive as many thought he was going to be but then the U.S. played Switzerland and Matthews put up four points in the game.

In the final day of the round robin Matthews added a goal and an assist that has given him eight points for the round robin.

He has been good but he is only one of a number of great under-age players that are making their names known through the international exposure of this tournament.

Matthews’ teammate, Matthew Tkachuk, is right behind the top pick with seven total points so far.

Tkachuk is also considered a great draft prospect for the 2016 draft but this performance in the Juniors is sure to raise his status for the draft next year.

The biggest surprise might be from Finland though where a number of draft eligible players have been leading the team.

Chief among them is Jesse Puljujarvi who is currently leading the entire tournament in points.

He has a total of 12 points so far this year and has led his team to second place in Group B.

With the performance put on this year there is no doubt that scouts are taking a much closer look at Puljajarvi before the draft.

It is a perfect example of what the tournament is all about as the round robin ends and playoffs are set to begin with more young players set to take on a big role as the games get tougher and far more important.

day-6.fw

Day 4:
Russia 2 – 1 Slovakia
– The Russians were headed to first place regardless of the result which may have resulted in some of the poor performance but the Slovaks gave the Russians all they could handle in a 2-1 win for the undefeated Russians

USA 4 – 1 Denmark
– The Americans finished off their tournament with one of their easier games but they weren’t overly impressive winning comfortably but by less than most expected to complete their round robin and secure second place in Group A

Finland 5 – 4 Czech Republic
– The Finns and the Czechs went to battle in what turned out to be the best game of the day as both teams fought for second place in Group B and went back and forth in the game with the home team coming out on top

Sweden 5 – 2 Canada
– The Canadians struggled from the start having to come back once again after two power play goals from Sweden and they never led despite getting close as the Swedes took the win and continued a 35-game round robin winning streak

quarter-finals.fw

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