2018 World Juniors: Playoff Outlook

United States v Canada - Gold Medal Game - 2017 IIHF World Junior ChampionshipThe pressure to win a medal has always been there for every team as no team enters a tournament not wanting that medal.

Some teams realize that they aren’t that close to a medal and the expectations aren’t that high while others have high expectations at every tournament.

The teams with high expectations are only increasing as the years move on and the systems around the world get better.

For so long this tournament was only about two countries and who would be the best out of those two countries.

Russia and Canada were the only teams that actually focused on developing players at a young age rather than just letting players find their way.

As a result, the only teams that actually paid attention and had success were the Russians or the Canadians.

It took a long time for that to change though as the world of hockey is entirely different now and those two teams are no longer the only good teams.

Russia and Canada are still very much the powers in this tournament as they have that history behind them.

More teams than ever are stepping up and producing young talent at a different level now and that has added more teams to the World Juniors competition.

The USA has begun to truly concentrate on their system and they have reaped the rewards seeing a new level of play on a consistent basis.

For a number of years, they were just another team and had no impact on the outcome of this or any other national tournament.

Things are only getting bigger for them though as they are now no longer a surprise if they were to take the gold medal.

The Swedes and Finns have risen somewhat together although the Sweden Juniors have had a bit longer of a history.

Sweden has produced great players for a longer period than their neighbours but they did have a more inconsistent run.

The Swedes enjoyed a great era only to see it fall apart and finally, it has seemed to come back as they are once again churning out young talent.

The Finns saw the same type of dip after the Teemu Selanne generation and are only now beginning to enjoy a resurgence.

They have been up and down for a number of years but they are still a team that is proceeding more talent and are becoming a team that can compete with the best.

These five teams are the ones that will once again compete for the medals this year as they are the power five in international hockey.hockey-sidebar

Although the other countries are also getting good and can certainly surprise some of the big five teams it doesn’t seem likely that any have what it takes this year.

The Americans and Swedes come into the tournament as the favourites as the defence of the Swedish team is one of the best while the offence of the Americans could likely be the best.

The Canadians are never a team to count out though as they are too good to think that they can’t win a gold medal in any tournament.

They will try to get back to the top with a solid team although they aren’t as great at one spot as the Swedes r the Americans.

The Finns are looking for a bounce-back season and they have done that before with the same level of talent as they will bring in this year.

The Russians are another team with so much talent that it would be foolish to think that they could just be taken out of the equation.

Out of these five teams, only three can earn medals and only one will be able to take the gold medal.

This year could look very similar to the year before as the same teams are looking like they will collide at the same time.

The Swedes could make it right to the end but if they slot behind Russia they will run into the Americans early and won’t be able to get by them.

Meanwhile, the oldest rivalry in the tournament continues on when the Canadians and Russians faceoff and with both teams looking good but not overpowering a very close game could see Canada take another shot.

The Americans and Canadians will fight it out again for the gold and this time the Canadians will come out on top for another time.


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