By Seth Ditchfield

While most of the hockey world is focusing on the IIHF WJC U20’s in the upcoming months, we have a review of the top prospects of the U18 Five Nations Tournament! Many of the top prospects in this tournament will be competing for a roster spot with their respective U20 clubs, which makes this tournament very important.

Teams from Sweden, Finland, Czechia, Switzerland and the USA all competed in this tournament, and multiple players put on a show, however, a few prospects left much to be desired. Here at DraftPro, we had multiple sets of eyes from our Scouting Team watching the teams very closely.

Otto Stenberg – Sweden
“Otto is a dynamic player with excellent, creative offensive skill. He has a great ability to carry the puck around the ice and find his teammates at the right time with excellent passes. He has an excellent shot that he can put on the net frequently and can do so when on the move. His skating is smooth yet powerful and he is very agile on his feet. His downfall may be that he tries to do too much occasionally or holds on a second too long when looking to move the puck, but that is rare and his abilities more than make up for any mistakes he may make.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

“A player that will keep you on the edge of your seat. Drives play extraordinarily. Elite offensive talent with intriguing attributes.” – DraftPro Evaluator Niclas Karlsson

“Stenberg of Sweden is an impactful offensive player at this level and he will likely translate to the pro level.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Axel Sandin-Pellikka – Sweden
“A smart defenseman who plays the game with patience and skill. Has the ability to control the pace of play with his puck control and speed. Can make excellent passes in all areas of the ice, stretch passes, D to D passes, cycling in the offensive zone, you name it, he can make it. Has a good ability to “walk the line” and get his shots away. His shot is consistently on net it seems, no matter the traffic in front. He plays a bigger game than his size lets on and is confident in his ability. Is strong defensively and is excellent at taking away opponent’s sticks in front of the net and keeping the shooting lanes clear of traffic for his goaltender. He is a defender who is strong on his feet, mature and confident. Someone to keep a close eye on as the draft gets closer.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Tom Wallinder – Sweden
“Plays the game with great pace and consistently makes smart and effective plays. He often drives the play from the backend, making quick passes to contribute to his high-pace game.” – DraftPro Evaluator Niclas Karlsson

Noah Dower-Nilsson – Sweden
“A versatile offensive forward that really has those small details in his game that gives him the edge against many others. Very competitive.” – DraftPro Evaluator Niclas Karlsson

“Dower-Nilsson played well, but he did not play to the level of a B prospect in the tournament. He demonstrated some creativity but left me wanting for more and if I wasn’t looking for him I would not have noticed him.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Anton Wahlberg – Sweden
“Wahlberg is a highly competitive Power forward with a big body frame but also a lot of skills.
He has good skating and puck carrying skills that make him useful in many situations. By using his body strength Wahlberg is hard to get around near the boards and in front of the opponents net. On the PK, Wahlberg’s reach is useful for cutting angles and breaking up passing plays. By developing his puck skills and explosiveness, Wahlberg would adapt well to the North American style of game in the future.” – DraftPro Evaluator Simon Forsmark

Tom Leppa – Finland
“Tom plays a grinding game quite well, but needed to show a little more consistency to his game. He skates well in all areas of the ice, and does a good job at remaining balanced and on his feet when battling for pucks. He lacks some of the creative talents that others may have on his team, but he makes up for that with his hard nosed play along the wall and in front of the net. He’s not a playmaker by any means, but he is fairly consistent at retrieving pucks and moving them to his teammates who tend to make a little more happen. Not a player who will go in the first three rounds perhaps, but someone a team can develop over time and use a mid to late round pick.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Jesse Nurmi – Finland
“A quick footed forward with a competitive eye for the offensive zone. He has a quick first step and acceleration, but a slightly above average top end speed. He has strong puck control ability and likes to control the zone entry himself when gaining the offensive zone. Has the skill to make defenders look silly when stick handling. He will usually drive the outer lane, but is able to make excellent passes that often are right on the tape of his teammates. Occasionally when he is pressured, he will throw the puck away in hopes someone can get to it showing that he lacks a bit of the physical aspect of the game. Needs to work on his defensive game a lot more to have more of a positive impact in his own zone.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

“Incredibly talented player that is a pain to deal with when he has the puck. His attitude and effort level are concerning because he refuses to play team defense” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew LeBlanc

“Jesse Nurmi is an aggressive player with a quick release. He demonstrated the ability to separate players from the puck throughout the tournament.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Jesse Kiiskinen – Finland
“Can be called upon in any situation. A lead by example type player. Relentless player that makes things happen every time he touches the ice.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew LeBlanc

“Finland’s Kiiskinen was a positive surprise. I found him, as a B rated prospect, to be a high level B prospect pushing for the first round. He was a dominant player and made a difference when he was on the ice.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Emil Jarventie – Finland
“Jarventie of Finland was a bit disappointing for a B level prospect. I did not see evidence to place him at a B, and not a C. He did not stand out enough offensively but still had some defensive flaws too.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

“Not up to his standards in this tournament. For a guy who prides himself on generating offense, one goal and one assist is disappointing.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew Leblanc

Will Smith – USA
“Will is a force on the ice and can make something happen almost every shift. He makes excellent passes. Shoots the puck like a rocket. Skates with an excellent stride and speed, and is incredibly smart at both ends of the ice. He has a quick mind that allows him to read and create plays that will push the pace of play by smartly moving himself or the puck. Not very physical in his play, but doesn’t need to be as he is more of a skill player. Is defensively responsible at both ends of the ice. Understands how to play the game on both sides of the puck and is confident and capable to be a strong two-way player. An early first round player with a bright future ahead of him.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

“Generates a ton of scoring chances for himself and his teammates. Leader of undoubtedly the best line in the tournament” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew LeBlanc

“Will Smith is an excellent player who is not physical but a great skater and has wonderful vision on the ice to see what most others can only see from above.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Aram Minnetian – USA
“An offensive defender who likes to get in on the action deep in the offensive zone. Can be the primary point contributor from the back end by moving the puck quickly and helping to set up plays around the offensive zone. Crisp passing and often accurate through all zones. Occasionally gets too focused on trying to be involved in the play and will leave his position unattended (this happens at both ends of the ice). Needs time to get his shot away for it to be any type of threat. Average hockey sense/IQ and needs to work on quicker recognition of changing situations and positional play. Will need to build some size and strength when moving up to older, stronger competition, but for his level of play now, he shows average size/strength. Can become a sought after offensive minded defender, but needs to work on his flaws to get there.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Trey Augustine – USA
“Trey is a well rounded goaltender who was on a strong team. He plays at the top of his crease and showed he can quickly get himself out there to challenge shooters. His angles were very good and he was consistently in line with the shooter on almost every shot. He is very good at controlling his rebounds or swallowing up pucks when they hit his chest. He anticipates shots well and was quickly down in his butterfly to make the save, and his side to side play was smooth and controlled. Both his catcher and his blocker were strong, quick and used both appropriately when needed. Even though Trey showed many good qualities that are sought after in a goaltender, he was never really tested in this tournament and I felt him being on a strong/dominant team didn’t really allow him to show how strong he can be when faced with stiff competition.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Ryan Leonard – USA
“A two-way player who is a dual threat to shoot or pass. Has accurate passing ability and a shot that isn’t so much in the power dept. but it’s where he positions himself to shoot from that really leads to his scoring ability. When he positions himself in those positions is when you see just how smart of a player he really is. Quietly floats into the soft areas and presents himself as a great option to shoot or pass. Lacks a physical game, but more than makes up for it with his ability to steal pucks from opponents along the wall by using his speed and skill. Defensively he plays an effectively quiet game. Nothing flashy and not a liability.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Ryan Fine – USA
“An excellent skater who shows great puck control and passing ability. Is hard to contain when in tight areas and shows great vision to spot teammates and slip pucks through tight seams to them. Willing to shoot when given the chance and has an absolute laser of a shot. Not overly physical, but will utilize his body to create separation from opposition when he needs it, or will wedge his way between an opponent and the puck to create a turnover. He plays a strong defensive game as a forward and isn’t afraid to get deep into his zone and help out his defenders. Plays a very mature game for a young player and I feel he’s very underrated so far in this draft year.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk

Oliver Moore – USA
“High energy all-around center. Uses his speed to turn defense into offense in a flash. Competes hard in all three zones.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew LeBlanc

Gabriel Perreault – USA
“Incredibly talented winger that can take over a game. A player that always seems to be involved in goals. A highlight reel waiting to happen.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andrew LeBlanc

“Gabriel Perreault is an offensive player whose defensive responsibility does not rate as high as Leonard’s.” – DraftPro Evaluator Andy Miller

Adam Dybal – Czechia
“Dybal is a goaltender who can face a ton of shots and keep his team in games. He plays slightly inside his crease for the most part, but does a good job at reacting to shots coming at him. He is a little less controlled in his movements than I like to see, but he is able to make 2 or 3 saves in a row no problem. His rebound control is average and he is 50/50 whether he will swallow the puck up in his chest, or have it bounce away from him for a second chance. He has a fast glove hand and is able to snag pucks out of the air with ease, and does a good job at pushing pucks away with his blocker. A very active goaltender in his crease who does his best to keep himself and his team in games. Focus and poise are two things that he has a lot of, but there are times when it fades for a bit.” – DraftPro Evaluator Matt Hnatiuk