By: Isaiah Bouchard

The 2024 World Juniors has come and gone, and team USA gets to walk away with gold. After an exciting tournament with many upset losses, surprising performances, and future stars taking the center stage, there is certainly a lot that we need to go over, so let’s not waste anytime. Starting with the last place team and moving on to the victorious team USA, let’s review the players who seized their moment at the 2024 World Juniors.

Team Norway. (0-4-1) Last Place Regulation.

After losing their 4 games, and a crushing overtime defeat against Germany in the regulation match, Norway will be demoted to Division 1 and be replaced by Kazakhstan next year. Since the 1980s Norway has never been able to remain in the top Division of the World Juniors, history repeats itself yet again as Norway has once again been regulated.

But is it all terrible news for team Norway? Not at all, there were a few bright spots for Norway in fact.

Michael Brandsegg-Nygard, RW, Mora IK (Hockeyallsvenskan), Right Hand, 6’1”, 198lbs. Born October 5th, 2005.

Scoring 5 points and 3 goals to finish amongst the top of his team. MBN has proven he can still produce a respectable offense even when facing much better teams. Many already believe MBN had first round potential, and now he has solidified the confidence in many scouts eyes that he is a player to be taken seriously. Norway may not be the first country people think about when asked about future NHL stars, but every now and then an under the radar player such as MBN comes along, proving that Norway still has a lot to offer the hockey world.

“Brandsegg-Nygard is a robust and powerful winger who excels in physical play. His skating is characterized by effortless, long strides, contributing to his effectiveness in the 200-foot game. Notably, he displays persistence on the puck during backchecks and puck pursuits, utilizing his long reach to initiate contact on the puck carrier, leading to turnovers and intense pressure.” – DraftPro’s Steven Pratas.

Petter Vesterheim, F, Mora IK (Hockeyallsvenskan), Left Hand, 5’11”, 172lbs. Born September 30th, 2004.

A quick mention should be given to Petter Vesterheim, MBN’s linemate both at the World Juniors and with Mora IK. Petter Vesterheim showed a lot of determination when facing stiff competition, and perhaps even proven he should be considered as a viable option on draft day. So far Vesterheim has gone unnoticed, and at 19 years old, his chances for being drafted are not certain. So if anyone needed this respectable performance with Norway, it was Petter Vesterheim. Here’s hoping that in the very least a camp invite is offered to Vesterheim.

Stian Solberg, D, Vålerenga (Norway), Left Hand, 6’2”, 192lbs. Born December 29th, 2005.

Stian Solberg did all he could do on an outmatched Norway team, but there is a good chance this performance helped Solberg more than one may think on first perception. He carried Norway’s defense in a lot of ways, and despite all of this pressure on the 18-year-old, he still managed to grab two points with Norway. Coming from an often overlooked European region, it’s unlikely Solberg will be picked up early, but he proved that there is value in his old school defensive game. Here’s hoping a GM on draft day takes the gamble on the very underrated Stian Solberg.

Team Germany (2-3) Regulation Elimination.

Germany is a country that often faces ups and downs when it comes to the World Juniors. Being too good to be eliminated, but not good enough to make it far in the top division. This year, they narrowly missed out on the quarter finals and ended up in a real seat clencher against Norway, where they won in overtime. Germany’s highlight this year was their upset victory over Finland in the regulation round, showing that they can still provide some upset victories at the big World Juniors Stage.

Veit Oswald, LW, EHC München (DEL), Left Hand, 6’2”, 179lbs. Born August 31st, 2004.

At 19 years old, Veit Oswald needed a good showing in order to get noticed by the World Junior Scouts. Despite having a good size and a DEL championship, Veit Oswald hasn’t been able to properly get himself over in the eyes of the scouts. With 5 points and 3 goals, including a pivotal 2 goal game against Finland, Veit Oswald had an overall excellent showing. Oswald continues to play well with equal competition, and is not too shabby playing with grown men in DEL. Perhaps this was the performance he needed to grab the attention of someone or anyone on draft day.

“He is a very effective forechecker who is aware of the passing options and consistently eliminates them with his reach. He’s a player who protects the puck effectively and can buy time and space for his team.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Phillip Sinn, D, RB Hockey Juniors (AlpsHL), Left Hand, 6’2”, 192lbs. Born January 13th, 2004.

A quick mention should go to one of the most underrated defensemen in the World Juniors this year, one Phillip Sinn. 4 points and a goal on a struggling team Germany is pretty good showing for a player who struggles to get the attention needed to get properly considered by scouts. On top of this he has a solid size to him, which could push him over the edge as a potentially viable defensive prospect.

Julius Sumpf, C, Moncton Wild Cats (QMJHL), Left Hand, 6’2”, 185lbs. Born January 11th, 2005.

One of team Germany’s youngest players, Sumpf had a respectable performance, scoring 3 points and a goal. Not as high as most other young players in the World Juniors, it is still worth a mentioning considering the team he played for. Since making the move to the QMJHL, Sumpf has proven he can hang with stiff competition and still produce good numbers. Now he proved that he can still produce offense even when completely outmatched. Without out a doubt his draft stock shot up candidly after this WC.

Paul Mayer, D, Adler Mannheim (DEL), Left Hand, 6’3”, 187lbs. Born September 25th, 2005.

Mayer has built up a solid amount of attention heading into the World Juniors. He’s a big defensemen, has a high ceiling as a potential defensive defensemen or possibly even a two-way defensemen. Mayer may not have wow’d many on the scoresheet, but that isn’t his kind of game. Mayer has been praised numerous times for his shut-down style and his skills were fully displayed at the juniors. While this may not have been the outcome that Mayer wanted, it still felt right to give him a shout out.

Team Latvia (1-4) Quarter Finals Loss

Like Germany and Norway, Latvia has a rough history at the World Juniors. Stuck in the not good enough to challenge the big teams, too good to stay in Division 1 for more than a year or two. With a respectable performance against Slovakia and a strong win against Germany, Latvia still has a lot to be proud of this year. Their drafted players: Dans Locmelis and Sandis Vilmanis had a good year, showcasing that Latvia can still produce NHL worthy hockey players. But their young players were lacking in any real chance to showcase what they can properly do.

Peteris Bulans, D, Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL), Left Hand, 6’0”, 185lbs. Born March 8th, 2005.

If any draft eligible player could be mentioned for team Latvia, it would be Peteris Bulans from the QMJHL. Bulans has a few good qualities, he was able to score 2 points for a team that was shutout more than once this year. And in the QMJHL, he has the potential to be an excellent playmaking defensemen. So while 2 points isn’t very eye grabbing, it’s at least something for the still young defensemen to build off of.

Eriks Mateiko, F, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), Left Hand, 6’4”, 201lbs. Born November 18th, 2005.

While Mateiko did not have an eye-caching world juniors, he is sill a high-interest player coming into the tournament. While he did not make a strong case to be a top end draft pick, his big stature and great potential is too much to ignore. Mateiko could be an excellent late round pick for a team who want to take a gamble on a potential power forward in Mateiko. His QMJHL season is also going well, so there could potentially be a hidden diamond in the rough here with Eriks Mateiko.

Team Switzerland (1-3-1) Quarter Finals Loss

After going 1-3 in regulation, Switzerland was put in the unfortunate position to go up against the powerhouse team that was team Sweden in the quarter finals. It was not as one sided as many expected as Switzerland put up a good fight, forcing Sweden into overtime. But at the end of the day Sweden did win, and it was another lower-mid finish for Switzerland. But still, Switzerland has a plethora of young players to get excited about:

Jonas Taibal, F, EHC Winterthur (SL), Left Hand, 5’11”, 183lbs. Born August 19th, 2004.

This is Taibal’s 3rd World Juniors appearance, and his highest scoring appearance yet. Scoring 5 points in 5 games is a solid tournament for a player who has struggled to make any real convincing arguments to be drafted. Taibal continues to provide evidence that he is a competitive player who can produce results. So while his chances on being drafted are still small, his future as an undrafted free agent is still respectable, and a camp invite is likely in his future is a draft selection is not.

Gregory Weber, RW, Bern U20 (U20 Elit), Right Hand, 5’9”, 154lbs. Born January 7th, 2004.

Similar to Taibal, Weber needed this good showing to get any sort of attention from scouts. In fact, much of what I said about Jonas Taibal can also be applied to Weber. They are both players who have struggled to get attention in their European leagues, though have proven time and again in these international tournaments that they can still play with the big boys. Only time will tell where these two will end up in the future. DraftPro’s long time scout Murray Caldwell was impressed with Weber’s performance at the WJs however, and had this to say:

“A small player with great wheels. He’s tenacious with good work ethic, creating turnovers on the backcheck. He has great balance when taking the body too. He often works the boards, coming out with the puck by using his sick rather than his body.”

Daniil Ustinkov, D, ZSC Lions (NL), Left Hand, 6’0”, 198lbs. Born August 26th, 2006.

To many, Ustinkov properly stepped up for Switzerland as he managed to grab 2 assists after it was all said and done. There are still many who don’t know Ustinkov as a potential sleeper pick in the 2nd/3rd rounds. His solid size and underrated hockey IQ will go a long way in selling Ustinkov to many GMs on draft day.

“One thing that stood out about his game with the puck was that when he accelerates and plays with speed. Everything seems easier for him, though his timing is something he struggles with. It’s important for him to quickly get into the right rhythm and take up his responsibilities.” – DraftPro’s Dany Gelinas.

Leon Muggli, D, EV Zug (NL), Left Hand, 6’0”, 165lbs. Born July 9th, 2006.

Switzerland greatly benefitted from having Muggli on their team. While Rodwin Dionicio was their main support on the blue line, Muggli played a pivotal role in easing the pressure off of Dionicio. If there is one word to sell you on Muggli, it is potential. His high ceiling as a potential elite puck moving defensemen should be everyone’s main takeaway on Leon Muggli.

“Léon was the Swiss team’s most-used defenseman, playing in all game situations (PP, PK). Technically solid in 1-on-1 battles, with good body position and stickchecking. On the other hand, he needs to be careful with his play with the puck, which can sometimes be too soft. It’s obvious that he can create play and carry it if need be though.” – DraftPro’s Dany Gelinas.

Simon Meier, F, Penticton Vees (BCHL), Left Hand, 5’10”, 161lbs. Born March 10th, 2005.

While Meier only had 2 goals and 2 points this year, his point per game season so far in the BCHL should also be mentioned as a selling point. Simon Meier would have benefitted greatly if Switzerland was able to have a U19 team in the World Junior A Challenge from a month ago. But as of right now Meier will have to accept with what he was given. And he showcased a decent amount of offensive potential with team Switzerland’s U20 team.

Meier capably leads the rush up the ice and is comfortable with the puck on his stick.  He has some skill and can dish the puck capably.  Meier is a player with some speed and skill and he has a good hockey IQ, but he is not the most patient player.” DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Alessio Beglieri, G, Biel-Bienne U20 (U20 Elit), Left Hand, 5’11”, 174lbs. Born January 5th, 2004.

One of the best goalies in the World Juniors this year if you factor in the team he was playing for, Beglieri should be proud that he kept his numbers solid throughout the tournament. The only reason Switzerland had as many close games as they did was because they had a red hot Beglieri in net. And if it wasn’t for the powerhouse that was the USA, who beat Switzerland 11-3, Beglieri’s numbers would be even better. He’s turned 20 since these World Juniors, and he’s under that coveted height of 6’2” that scouts expect from Goaltenders. Even if he remains undrafted, suspect a camp invite for this criminally underrated goaltender.

Team Canada (3-2) Quarter Finals Loss.

Yes, Canada is being mentioned this early. After a solid 3-1 regulation, Canada was upset by Czechia with mere seconds left in the third period. No doubt, hockey fans will be talking about this loss for a long time. What was the reason for Canada’s collapse? Likely a plethora of reasons, but certainly it’s not due to a lack of talent. Since Canada is, Canada, there isn’t many draft eligible prospects that could find a spot on the competitive U20 team. But let’s go over the ones that did make it in:

Macklin Celebrini, C, Boston University (NCAA), Left Hand, 6’0”, 190lbs. Born June 13th, 2006.

One can’t help but almost feel disappointed with Macklin Celebrini and the rest of team Canada this year. Big names like Matthew Savoie, Connor Geekie, Brayden Yager, Nate Danielson and many more struggled to even make it to a point per game level. The second highest scoring player on team Canada was Brayden Yager, who scored 5 points. So depending on how you look at it, Celebrini’s 8 points are either a good thing or bad thing. 2024’s top prospect outscored all other players on team Canada, which is nice and all, but Celebrini couldn’t even crack the top 15 of players in the entire tournament. It’s still unlikely that this performance will hurt Celebrini’s chances of going first overall, but hockey fans can’t help but feel that they were sold a little short with team Canada this year. Still, Celebrini is insanely talented, and it’s nearly impossible NOT to talk about his exciting potential as an elite NHL forward. Here is just a small blurb of DraftPro’s Liam Staples, who was very impressed with Celebrini:

The skating ability of Celebrini is magnificent, he has powerful strides that allow him to attack through the middle of the ice with ease. He played very confidently with the puck on his stick, yet he was even more aggressive to win the puck back when he lost it. The level of his hockey IQ allows him to read the situation on the ice providing him a step on his opponents before they can adjust.”

Mathis Rousseau, G, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL), Left Hand, 5’11”, 172lbs. Born September 10th, 2004.

While Canada was overall a disappointment this year the blame can not be put on the goaltending. Throughout Rousseau’s career he has never had a save percentage below a .900, and these World Juniors let him display his skills in net and prove that he can handle the pressure better than most goalies today. Going .912 in save percentage this year, and .924 for the Moosehead’s playoff run, Rousseau is a goalie worth considering come draft day. To handle oneself under pressure is one of the best traits for a goaltender, and Rousseau has it in spades.

“He holds his edges and is a patient goaltender. Rousseau is a goalie who tracks the puck extremely well and is well aware of where all the potential passes are. On top of this he has very good box control and excellent lateral movement. He moves well and is compact but doesn’t look small in the net.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Owen Allard, C, Soo Greyhounds (OHL), Left Hand, 6’2”, 201lbs. Born January 13th, 2004.

Owen Allard only had 3 points this year, but that was still higher than Matthew Savoie, tied Connor Geekie, and was much higher than many other drafted players on team Canada got. Owen Allard proved that he can hang with the big names, even if the team is struggling to find any cohesion on the ice. Allard is a likely option to be picked, but it’s unlikely this performance demands a high selection.

“Allard is a quick player who makes good reads on the ice and finds the seams routinely. He can pass the puck through players or indirect and make it easy to receive. Allard is an effective player at supporting the rush on the weak side and reads the play well with whether to go to the net or stay in the middle” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Team Slovakia (3-1-1) Quarter Finals Loss.

Team Slovakia seemed as if they were poised for a medal this year. But a tough OT loss to Finland stopped their journey early in the quarter finals. With a roster filled with drafted players, Slovakia’s efforts to build more hockey stars are starting bear fruit. Big names like Servac Petrovsky, Filip Mesar, Dalibor Dvorsky, and Maxim Strbak are proving to be high end players, so Slovakia’s run for a medal are by no means over. As on top of these drafted players, there were also a few names that emerged as potential future NHLers:

Luka Radivojevic, D, Örebro HK (J20 Nationell), Right Hand, 5’10”, 161lbs. Born January 3rd, 2007.

Though Slovakia doesn’t have many 2024 draft eligible players this year, there is a 2025 eligible player that needs mentioning: Luka Radviojevic. At 17 years old Radviojevic is already playing in the U20 leagues, scoring a lot for an under-aged defensemen. This year at the World Juniors he proved that not only could he step up to the even stiffer competition, he can score points, including a goal. Without a doubt this is only the start for Luka Radviojevic, as it’s likely we are looking at a future first round pick in 2025. He’ll most certainly be returning to the World Juniors next year, where he could be challenging for the top defensemen in the whole tournament.

“He is like Letang with impressive speed. If he gets caught deep, he has the ability to come back and take away the rush. He consistently shoots the puck with authority and accuracy, looking for tips or deflections. Makes puck distribution look much too simple.” – DraftPro’s Murray Caldwell.

Team Finland (3-4) Semi Finals Loss.

It never feels good to get so far and to come back with nothing, this year, that was team Finland. After going 2-2 in regulation, Finland needed to dig deep against a very game team Slovakia in the quarter finals and pushed team USA to their limit as well, but sadly came up short against the best team in the tournament. Finally they came up short in a chaotic 8-5 game against Czechia. 4th place is the position no one wants, but Finland has a lot of notable players to go through.

Jere Lassila, C, JYP (Liiga), Left Hand, 5’10”, 176lbs. Born March 8th, 2004.

Playing amongst men in Liiga, Jere Lassila led team Finland in points this year. At 19 years old he is a bit old for the ideal top round draft pick, but without a doubt Jere Lassila proved his value at the World Juniors, scoring 8 points to put him on the upper echelon of players. Every year there is a player like Jere Lassila that proves initial impressions false. Lassila is a top end prospect that deserves a consideration at the draft this year.

“He is a confident player in the faceoff circle and wins many important draws.  He is more mature than most who is responsible and can find the lanes as an effective passer who can put the puck on the stick. Lassila is a clutch player and would be very helpful for some key minutes on a great team in the playoffs.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Konsta Helenius, F, Jukurit (Liiga), Right Hand, 5’11”, 181lbs. Born May 11th, 2006.

Ranking in the upper half of the first round before this tournament, it’s unlikely Konsta Helenius will see a major change in his placement. Scoring 2 points is neither a disappointing nor a satisfying conclusion to Helenius’ World Juniors considering his age. His skill was on full display and even though he didn’t make the impact many would have hoped, he still blended in very well with all the other top tier athletes on team Finland.

“A very effort-driven, hard working, board-battling forward who can possess the pace of  a game on the wing. He does everything to get open and does a good job getting a quick shot on net.” DraftPro’s Joeseph Stanislau.

Jesse Pulkinen, D, JYP (Liiga), Left Hand, 6’6”, 216lbs. Born December 27th, 2004.

One of the most impressive draft-eligible defensemen this year was Finland’s Jesse Pulkinen. The big defensemen has captured a lot of intention from scouts as he stepped up for team Finland, providing multiple offensive and defensive highlights. He scored 3 points this tournament and impressed many who were not initially convinced Pulkinen earned a position on Finland’s defensive roster.

“Despite occasional difficulties in corralling passes, he possesses relatively soft hands for a big man. His offensive instincts are growing, constantly utilizing his heavy shot. Pulkkinen’s offensive upside is evident in surprising the opposition with impressive rushes through the neutral zone, showcasing quick hands to navigate around or through bodies.” – DraftPro’s Steven Pratas

Tommi Männistö, RW, Michigan State University (NCAA), Left Hand, 6’0”, 194lbs. Born February 7th, 2004.

A quick mention to Michigan State’s Tommi Männistö. He competed exceptionally well, easily keeping up with an already speedy team Finland. On top of that he scored 3 goals for Finland, supplying Finland with constant offensive pressure that helped the team tremendously. Männistö clearly displayed his impressive blend of goal scoring and skating ability.

“Männistö is a player who is not afraid to drive the center lane with the puck on his stick. He clearly wants to make a difference and often does.  Männistö needs talented players to be an effective player but he has a good skill set.  When he is with other talented players his game elevates and he can help support the play.  He always has his head up and is ready to intercept the puck and is patient to take all the ice that the defense will give him.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Emil Hemming, RW, TPS (Liiga), Right Hand, 6’2”, 194lbs. Born June 27th, 2006.

Like Konsta Helenius, this was not an exceptionally good or bad showing for Emil Hemming. He proved he could keep up with his older teammates but didn’t quite grab the attention for himself. As of right now Emil Hemming is considered a late first rounder or early second rounder. He showed that he doesn’t necessarily have to hide in Konsta Helenius’ shadow, this could be spun into a positive for his future draft position.

“There’s potential for Emil to evolve into a dynamic power forward with numerous offensive attributes, but leveraging his raw strength more effectively in tough puck battles could significantly boost his draft stock. Seeing him play with more grit would enhance his overall game.” – DraftPro’s Steven Pratas.

Noa Vali, G, TPS (Liiga), Left Hand, 6’1”, 159lbs. Born April 19th, 2005.

The 18-year-old goaltender may have only had 2 games this tournament but he proved why he could be a potential candidate for a late round goalie selection. He finished with a save percentage of .928, and a GAA of 1.94. This places him easily in the top 5 goalies for the tournament, though again he only had 2 games. Nonetheless this gives hope to fans of Noa Vali, and seeing how this is a slower draft year for goaltending, all hope is not loss for this especially underrated goalie.

Team Czechia (4-3-1) Bronze Medal.

No team has faced more ups and downs that team Czechia this year, from their gritty and well-earned wins over Canada and Finland to the crushing defeat to Sweden in the semi finals, no doubt the Czech fans had a lot of drama this year. Not only was team Czechia one of the most exciting teams to watch, but they also had many great showings from their drafted and undrafted players alike.

Matyas Melovsky, C, Baie-Commeau Drakkar (QMJHL), Right Hand, 6’0”, 183lbs. Born May 25th, 2004.

With 11 points at the World Juniors, Matyas Melovsky has a strong argument as the best undrafted player in the entire tournament. 11 Points is enough to place him in the top 3 for all skaters, and amongst the highest for his entire team aside from Jiri Kulich. This couldn’t have gone better for Melovsky, as GMs will have to be willingly blind to overlook a performance such as this. Consider Melovsky officially on everyone’s radar as he made a strong argument to go in the top half of the draft.

Ondrej Becher, F, Prince George Cougars (WHL), Left Hand, 6’0”, 172lbs. Born February 22nd, 2004.

Czechia was blessed this year as they have two excellent showings from their draft eligible roster. Ondrej Becher from the WHL got to showcase just why he should be considered a top-end draft pick. He’s on pace for a big break out season with the Cougars this year and was a top 5 player in the World Juniors this year. This blew many former draft picks out of the water and it’s likely no one suspected a showing such as this from Becher. A player with excellent offensive creativity and shooting power, Becher proved a lot of his initial doubters wrong this year at the World Juniors.

“Becher supports the puck well and can keep up with some higher end talent and be a key piece on a line.  He is a player who can elevate his game at times, and he can play with some speed and size.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Dominik Rymon, F, Everett Silvertips (WHL), Left Hand, 5’10”, 154lbs. Born May 29th, 2004.

One should mention the Everett Silvertip’s Dominik Rymon. Rymon is in a similar situation to Ondrej Becher as he is a 19-year-old player who has gone mostly under the radar, on pace for an excellent WHL season after a strong World Juniors Performance. Rymon’s size may play against him, but he proved he can be a reliable force on the ice during high stakes games.

“He can drive the center lane or is comfortable going to the wall and being a physical player.  Rymon has great hands and is an offensively skilled player who can dictate the play as an older player in the tournament.  At times his decision making at the offensive blueline can be too risky and he can turnover the puck.” – DraftPro’s Andy Miller.

Tomas Galvas, D, Bílí Tygři Liberec (Czechia), Left Hand, 5’10”, 148lbs. Born February 11th, 2006.

While the speedy and highly skilled Galvas was not on the opening roster for team Czechia, an unfortunate injury to Adam Jiricek left a space open for Tomas Galvas to fill in. The 17-year-old defensemen did not spoil his opportunity, giving Czechia some solid offense. His determination and excellent skating skills were on full display, Steven Pratas had to say on Galvas:

“Galvas possesses an extra step that allows him to create separation from the opposition, making his overall skating ability a significant strength. He demonstrates intelligence in his positional game, fearlessly jumping into offensive opportunities when they arise. His excellent vision up the middle of the ice and ability to anticipate pressure result in accurate passes to his defensive partner.”

Team Sweden (5-1-1) Silver Medal.

Sweden had another good showing this year as they settled on the silver medal after losing to team USA in the finals. You can’t really blame them, as it seems team USA could beat the San Jose Sharks let alone Sweden’s U20 team. Sweden only had three listed players that are eligible for the draft this year, but fans of the Vancouver Canucks should be excited for Jonathon Lekkerimaki who scored 10 points and 7 goals this year. Sabre’s prospect Noah Ostlund also finished with 10 points. And Sweden had 3 of the best defensemen in the whole tournament with Axel Sandin-Pekilla, Theo Lindstein, and Tom Willander.

Hugo Hävelid, G, Djurgårdens (Hockeyallsvenskan), Left Hand, 5’10”, 179lbs. Born January 1st, 2004.

Sweden’s roster was filled mostly of drafted players, but there goalie Hugo Hävelid earned this placement on his team and did not squander his opportunity. Hävelid’s NHL path is going to be a rough and rocky road. Being only 5’10” puts a big ‘con’ on his player sheet in many scouts eyes, and whether justified or not, it’s a sad reality for many goaltenders. While his draft likeliness is low, there will almost certainly be a GM or two whose willing to invite Hävelid to a training camp, especially after his performance at this year’s World Juniors, where many would place him as the #2 goalie in the whole tournament.

Team USA (7-0) Gold Medal.

What else is there to say about team USA? It’s rare we see such a clear favourite at the World Juniors and this year the US did not disappoint. With big names such as Gabriel Perreault, Gavin Brindley, Will Smith, Ryan Leonard and so many more, it’s going to be a long time before we see a team USA at his caliber again. They earned their gold medal, as they dominated the tournament in nearly every category.

Zeev Buium, D, University of Denver (NCAA), Left Hand, 6’0”, 183lbs. Born December 7th, 2005.

Like Sweden, team USA was filled with primarily drafted players. So there is really only one name to name, but he certainly earned it. Zeev Buium was without a doubt the best undrafted defensemen in the World Juniors and is certainly in the conversation for best defensemen overall in the tournament. This was huge for Buium, who, while making a strong argument for being a first round pick early in the year, has solidified his position and erased all doubt from skeptics. This goes double for Buium who had two staunch draft rivals in the World Juniors in Konsta Helenius and Emil Hemming. Buium was nearly a point per game defensemen, scoring goals, setting up plays, moving the puck, and doing everything a high-quality offensive defensemen should be doing in order to sell himself to the scouts. If anyone benefitted from the World Juniors this year, it was Zeev Buium.

“His hockey sense is outstanding, rarely making incorrect plays or executing poor passes. Excelling in breaking out of his zone, he is adept at making long, accurate stretch passes. His reads allow him to make timely decisions about whether to join the offensive play, a tactic he employs frequently, or to stay back and defend.” – DraftPro’s Steven Pratas.

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