2017 World Juniors Recap
The 2017 World Juniors came down to a thrilling gold medal match between Canada and USA, with the Americans ultimately prevailing with a 4-3 shootout victory. The Flyers came into the tournament with a league-leading 9 prospects. Overall, it was a very successful tournament for the prospects, as 5 of them came home with medals.
Mikhail Vorobyov (Team Russia): The Flyers’ 4th round selection back in 2015 impressed a lot of fans at the World Juniors this year. Vorobyov finished with the most assists of all players in the tournament with 10, which was also good enough to be tied for 4th in overall league scoring. He was a key player for Russia all tournament long, playing alongside the top goal scorer in the tournament, Kirill Kaprizov. Vorobyov also won over 60% of his faceoffs. Russia ended up losing a shootout thriller in the semi-finals to Team USA, but ended up winning the bronze medal game vs Sweden, where Vorobyov was named player of the game. The 6-foot-2 center recently turned 20 years old, and he will now return to Salavat Yulaev Ufa of the KHL. He has yet to renew his contract in the KHL for next season, it remains unlikely that he comes to North America at the end of this season.
Vorobyov’s Stats at World Juniors: 7GP, 0G, 10A, 10PTS, +6
German Rubtsov (Team Russia): Rubtsov did not have a great World Juniors tournament. He played a limited role for Russia, failed to record any points, and even missed the last two games with a concussion. However, the news that everyone is excited about occurred after the World Juniors tournament. It was announced that Rubtsov would join the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the QMJHL for the rest of the season. This is great news for the Flyers’ 2016 first round pick. Rubtsov has averaged less than 7 minutes of ice time per game in 15 games in the KHL, and he has failed to record a point in any of those games. He has also played in the MHL (Russia’s third-tier league) at times this season, where he has 15 points in 15 games. It is quite clear that he is not good enough to be a consistent player in the KHL, but he is too good for the MHL. The QMJHL will be a perfect destination for Rubtsov, since he will get ice time and be challenging at the same time.
Rubtsov’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 0G, 0A, 0PTS, -1
David Kase (Team Czech Republic): This year was Kase’s third and final World Juniors tournament. He was an alternate captain this year for his Czech side. Kase is a small, but highly skilled and gritty forward that never takes any shifts off. He was held pointless in his first three games, but was rewarded with three points in his final two games. Canada eliminated Kase and the Czechs in the quarter-finals, limiting Kase to just 5 games played. The 19-year old will now return to Pirati Chomutov of the Czech Extraliga, where he has 7 points in 16 games.
Kase’s Stats at World Juniors: 5GP, 2G, 1A, 3PTS, -1
Tanner Laczynski (Team USA): Tanner Laczynski was the only Flyers prospect to win a gold medal, as Team USA knocked off Canada in the gold medal game. It was a pretty impressive feat that Laczynski even made USA’s roster. They chose the Flyers 6th round pick over top NHL draft picks Logan Brown and Alex DeBrincat. Laczynski missed the semi-finals game with an illness, but was ready to play in the gold medal game. The 19-year old center was fantastic on faceoffs in the tournament, winning 59% of them. Laczynski will now return to Ohio State in the NCAA, where he is having a terrific season with 22 points in 15 games.
Laczynski’s Stats at World Juniors: 7GP, 1G, 1A, 2PTS, +2
Philippe Myers (Team Canada): The undrafted defenceman was having a great tournament for Canada alongside Thomas Chabot, before taking a high hit from Luke Kunin in Canada’s 4th game of the tournament. This resulted in the second concussion this year for Myers, and he was sidelined for the rest of the tournament. Flyers general manager Ron Hextall gave a brief update on Myers a day after the incident, saying, “He was feeling good. So far things are going well. Myers still won a silver medal with Canada, so this tournament wasn’t all bad. When he is healthy enough, Myers will return to Rouyn-Noranda of the QMJHL, where he has 18 points in 19 games.
Myers’ Stats at World Juniors: 4GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS, +1
David Bernhardt (Team Sweden): Bernhardt played well in the group stage matches, then struggled a little bit in the following medal round games. Sweden were not happy with the outcome of the tournament. They began the tournament as one of the favorites to win the tournament, however they ended up finishing in 4th place, without a medal. The 7th round pick of the Flyers will now head back to Sweden with Djurgardens in the SHL.
Bernhardt’s Stats at World Juniors: 7GP, 0G, 3A, 3PTS, +6
Carter Hart (Team Canada): It was an up and down tournament for Carter Hart to say the least. He lost his starting job in the group stage, even after winning both of the games that he started. Connor Ingram started in the quarter-finals against the Czech Republic, where he pulled off a 5-3 win. Ingram was then called upon to start an all important semi-finals match against Swede, but he failed to deliver. After allowing two goals early in the 1st period, Ingram was pulled, and in came Carter Hart. Hart was spectacular, stopping all 29 shots he faced to lead Canada to a 5-2 win. Hart was named player of the game for Canada. No one was surprised to hear that the Flyers’ second round pick got the call in net to start the gold medal game against the USA. That game ended up going to a shootout, where he stopped 4 out of 5 shots, but his Canadian teammates failed to give him any support. Canada lost the game 5-4. Hart was very emotional in a post-game interview.
Hart’s Stats at World Juniors: 4GP, 2.38GAA, .906sv%
Felix Sandstrom: (Team Sweden): Sandstrom started 6 out of 7 games for Sweden at the World Juniors. He was a consistent goalie throughout the tournament, despite a 4th place finish and back to back losses in the semi-finals and bronze medal games. Sandstrom was impressively named goaltender of the tournament. The 19-year old goaltender made some highlight-reel saves throughout his 6 games of action. He will now return to Brynas of the SHL.
Sandstrom’s Stats at World Juniors: 6GP, 2.17GAA, .915sv%
Matej Tomek (Team Slovakia): Tomek finally got into some game action for Slovakia at the World Juniors. Although his numbers are not outstanding, it is important to keep in mind that Slovakia were not a favourite coming into the tournament, and that Tomek came in without playing a meaningful hockey game in a year and a half. It should not come as a surprise that Tomek is not getting any action at North Dakota, as they tend to go with older goaltenders as their starters. In his first game at the World Juniors, 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. The 6-foot-3, 19-year old goaltender 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%