An Update on Flyers’ Prospects At World Juniors
The 2017 World Junior hockey championship is now down to four powerhouse hockey nations: Sweden, Canada, USA, and Russia. However, despite six countries being eliminated from the tournament, the Flyers still have plenty of prospects competing. They started out the tournament with 9 prospects. To put this into perspective, no NHL team came into the World Juniors with more than 5 prospects. Now, with just four teams remaining, the Flyers still have 7 prospects participating. Let’s take a look at how the Flyers prospects are doing so far at the World Junior Championship.
Mikhail Vorobyov (Team Russia): The Russians’ top-line in this tournament has been dynamic, and Flyers’ prospect Mikhail Vorobyov has been a big part of that. He has tallied points in four out of Russia’s 5 games so far, and leads all players in assists. Other teams are finding it difficult to contain Vorobyov’s 6-foot-2, 210lb frame. The top-line of Alexander Polunin, Mikhail Vorobyov, and Kirill Kaprizov have combined for 24 points in just 5 games. Vorobyov has also been effective on the faceoff dot, winning over 60% of his faceoffs. Russia is looking to advance to the finals for the 2nd year in a row, but standing in their way is Team USA.
Vorobyov’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 0G, 8A, 8PTS, +6
German Rubtsov (Team Russia): The Flyers’ first round pick in 2016 has not played a significant role for Russia at this tournament. Rubtsov has been limited to a bottom-6 role along with some time on the penalty kill. This was to be expected as Rubtsov is the youngest player on the Russian side, and head coach Valeri Bragin is well known for his preference of older players. Unfortunately for Rubtsov, he was high-sticked by a Danish player early in the 2nd period in Russia’s most recent game. The 18-year old left the game with blood gushing from his face, and he did not return. Hopefully Rubtsov is good to go for an important match against USA on Wednesday.
Rubtsov’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 0G, 0A, 0PTS, -1
David Kase (Team Czech Republic): Czech Republic were eliminated by Team Canada on Monday, meaning David Kase’s tournament has come to an end. Kase had a good tournament all around and was arguably the Czechs best player. In fact, he was named one of the top-3 players of the tournament for Czech Republic following their loss to Canada. He was held pointless in his first three games, but he worked hard and never took any shifts off. He was rewarded with his hard work by putting up three points in his final two games. Kase will now return to his Czech Extraliga club, Pirati Chomutov, where he is having a fine season.
Kase’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 2G, 1A, 3PTS, -1
Tanner Laczynski (Team USA): Laczynski has been limited to a fourth line role for USA at the World Juniors, however he has made his presence felt. He has won over 60% of his faceoffs and has contributed offensively. USA’s line of Troy Terry, Tanner Laczynski, and Erik Foley has caused problems for other teams both offensively and defensively. Now Laczynski and the Americans have to shut down Mikhail Vorobyov, German Rubtsov and the Russians in the semi-finals on Wednesday.
Laczynski’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 1G, 1A, 2PTS, +2
Philippe Myers (Team Canada): Philippe Myers was having a great tournament for Canada before taking a high hit from USA forward Luke Kunin. Myers suffered a concussion and is doubtful for the rest of the tournament. Before this unfortunate incident, you could see why Myers is so highly regarded by the Flyers. This is the second time this season that the 6-foot-5 defenceman has been sidelined with a concussion. Canada now has to get past Team Sweden without one of their top defenceman.
Myers’ Stats at World Juniors: 4GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS, +1
David Bernhardt (Team Sweden): Bernhardt has very quietly had a great tournament for a powerful Swedish team. He has chipped in nicely offensively, and he is 4th in the tournament in +/-, with a +7 rating. He has played on Sweden’s bottom-pairing, which has arguably been their best. Bernhardt has a great chance to win a gold medal with Sweden, as it is tough to find a weakness on this team.
Bernhardt’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS, +7
Carter Hart (Team Canada): Carter Hart has seemed to have lost the starting job to Connor Ingram after two subpar games, despite winning both of them. However, Ingram did not look great himself in an elimination game against the Czech Republic. With a huge game vs Sweden coming up on Wednesday, it is possible that Canada goes back with Hart.
Hart’s Stats at World Juniors: 2GP, 2.50GAA, .881sv%
Felix Sandstrom: (Team Sweden): Sandstrom has started 4 out of Sweden’s 5 games thus far, and he has been one of the best goalies in the tournament. Sandstrom has made multiple outstanding saves that could be easily be named ‘save of the tournament.’ The Flyers 3rd round pick back in 2015 is playing in front of a potent offence and a terrific defence. Now Sandstrom faces a big test against Team Canada, as they look to advance to the gold medal game.
Sandstrom’s Stats at World Juniors: 4GP, 2.20GAA, .932sv%
Matej Tomek (Team Slovakia): Tomek started two games for Slovakia at the World Juniors. Although his numbers are not outstanding, you have to keep in mind that Tomek came into the tournament without playing a meaningful hockey game in a year and a half. In his first game, he stopped 45/50 shots he faced in a 5-2 loss to USA. His GAA might not be that impressive, but his save percentage certainly is. Slovakia were eliminated from the tournament after an 8-3 loss to Sweden, a game where Tomek was the backup goalie. Tomek will now return to the University of North Dakota, and wait for his chance to play a game.
Tomek’s Stats at World Juniors: 2GP, 3.50GAA, .913sv%
Four teams remain at the World Juniors (7 Flyers Prospects):
Canada (Myers & Hart)
Sweden (Bernhardt & Sandstrom)
Russia (Vorobyov & Rubtsov)
Since there is at least one Flyers prospect on every team remaining, that means that a Flyers prospect is guaranteed to win a gold medal.
The semi-final matchups will take place on Wednesday, January 4th, 2017:
USA vs Russia (3:00pm)
Sweden vs Canada (7:30pm)
*all times are Eastern Time