By DraftPro Staff

November and December were a very busy months in the world of hockey scouting with multiple U17, U18, and U20 events taking place all over the world. Our evaluators annually make these events must see as they are pinnacle to the big picture of each participating prospect as we get a true read on these young men before the big day in June. Add to that the publication of our annual Preview Magazine and things were pretty hectic in the Draft Prospects Hockey offices. To catch up we will be releasing some event reviews of the next few weeks and start us off with this three in one review of the 2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, the November U18 Five Nations, and the November U20 Five Nations events that all possessed multiple future undrafted NHL talent. Below is a review of who stood out from each event with notes from various scouts.

2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge

Charlottetown and Summerside, PEI

November 2-11, 2023


#20 Emile Guite, F, Canada White, 6’2”, 164, L, DOB 5.31.2007

Guite is a fast skating tall player.  If he bulks up he will be an immense player.  He has very slick hands and can stick handles in a phone booth.  Guite is a very offensive player with a high skill set.  He is a strong player with the puck on his stick and he finds the puck or it finds him.  Guite is a player who has first line offensive talent.  He is a player who works hard and wants to pick his team up after a bad play or goal against.  Guite is an effective passer who can initiate a breakout.  He is starting to show some defensive awareness and can backcheck hard and strip players of the puck.  Guite has the knowledge to predict where he needs to be to be an important part of the offense of his team.  He needs to mature more in his own end and learn how to fill in the gaps against high level players.  Guite needs to want the puck more when he needs to battle for it, he wants to score so much at times I wonder if he really wants to battle to get possession when he is first man in. He is an outstanding offensive player who can drive the play in the offensive zone confidently. Guite is a goal scorer and if he continues to fill the net could be a first rounder in 2025. – Andy Miller

#11 Matthew Schaefer, D, Canada White, 6’1”, 161, L, DOB 08.05.2007

Schaefer proved why he was named captain and is the number one defenseman of this team. He showed his skill in all facets of the game. His most important asset is his skating because of how good it is and the fact that it elevates all the other aspects of his game. His edge work and ability to open-face skate along the blue line are exceptional. It allows him to see the entire play and turn effortlessly. It also gives him the ability to walk the line and maintain space from the opposition. He has tremendous crossovers which give him great bursts of speed that allow him to lead the rush. In the offensive zone, he isn’t afraid to fire a wrist shot from the point. He has an accurate shot with a quick release that is on target. He uses his shot to create rebounds and scoring opportunities. He was the powerplay quarterback and that is where he was able to show off his full offensive skillset. He demonstrated great vision sending cross-ice passes and setting up scoring chances. Considering it was the team’s first game and they didn’t really practice makes it even more impressive. He has excellent stick handles as well which help him lead the rush. However, playing with Huang, the pair need to learn to lead the rush less or stay back when the other does. His backwards skating is also exceptional which helps him shut down the opposition’s attack earlier because he is able to switch to backwards earlier. His backwards skating is so good because of his crossover ability. He is a pest in the defensive zone and has a good poke check. He is constantly hounding opponents down and trying to lift their sticks to steal with puck away. He needs to reel in his aggression sometimes as it cost him when he took a sloppy cross-checking penalty. – Zach Morris

#1 Jack Ivankovic, G, Canada White, 5’11”, 170, L, DOB 5.22.2007

Ivankovic moves in and out of the post smoothly and covers up holes quickly.    His tracking is very strong and his work ethic seems very high.    Ivankovic has superb box control and almost never over plays the puck.  He has a very calming presence in the net and is developing his game as he gains experience.  Ivankovic has all the tools to be the next great Canadian goaltender for years to come with proper development.  He is a goaltender who knows where everyone is and he takes that information and uses it to predict where the puck could go and always knows exactly where he needs to be.  Ivnakovic’s rebound control is very consistent and he controls the puck and puts it to an area that his team can control it or he covers it.  He is a goaltender who likes to go out and play the puck and does so confidently. When Ivankovic makes a big save it is often not very exciting unlike most other goaltenders and that means he is in position and makes good reads. Ivankovic is so aware as he will clear pucks beside the net and get them out of the danger areas.   I hesitate to say this but Ivankovic is a good puck mover, who has strong box control and is very calm in the net , while elevating his game when it is more important he gives off the vibes of Carey Price.  It is very early to lock someone in as first but Ivankovic has an excellent chance of being the first goaltender selected in the 2025 draft as he could be a franchise goal. – Andy Miller


#50 Will Moore, F, USA, 6’2”, 160, L, DOB 03.24.2007

Moore had an unreal game for USA. He only finished with an assist although his skill was on full display. He did an excellent job forechecking and put a ton of pressure on the Czechia players in their defensive zone. He was able to force a couple of turnovers as a result. He did a good job pinning players along the boards and allowing for a teammate to come in and steal the puck. He is a great skater and that was on full display. He used his strength and speed to drive to the net. He had great crossovers and did a great job at turning. He was extremely shifty, this helped him maintain possession in the offensive zone. He did a great job utilizing this skill along the boards to shake off defenders. His shot has a quick release and is usually on target. He is a pass-first player and that was evident in this game. He has excellent vision and his passes are very accurate. He had an insane no-look backhand pass showing his creativity and skill. He demonstrated his defensive skills while on the penalty. He did a good job of maintaining position and not overcommitting. He has excellent stick lifts. Moore is a very complete player and when he isn’t impacting the score sheet he impacts the game in many other ways. – Zach Morris

#59 Charlie Trethewey, D, USA, 6’1, 190, R, DOB 08.02.2007

Charlie Trethewey is going to be a top prospect in the 2025 NHL Draft. He is a dynamic two-way defenseman. He exploded for 2 goals and 3 assists in this game. He shoots the puck well beyond his years. He scored from the top of the circles twice with hard and accurate shots. He has playmaking skills to complement his scoring ability. When he can’t beat the goalie cleanly, he finds sticks in front for deflections which resulted in a goal. He makes a great first pass and has a high-level hockey IQ. His defensive game is a bit more difficult to comment on as this entire game was played with special teams. However, he was being used in all situations and was effective on the penalty kill. He has a good stick to intercept passes. He is also impressive physically at 6’1 and 190 pounds. While not a punishing hitter, he separates his man from the puck and finishes the play. He is an average skater but I wouldn’t expect it to hold him back as an impact player at the next level. Overall, Trethewey checks a lot of boxes as an upcoming prospect and is an early first-round pick candidate. – Andreaus Kostopoulos

#38 LJ Mooney, F, USA, 5’6”, 145, R, DOB 3.8.2007

Mooney has an incredible shot with a deadly release.  He is a speedy forward who creates time and space on the ice.  Mooney goes into the corners and battles for the puck.  He is a player who works hard and leaves it all out on the ice.  Mooney is a player who has good hands and can stick handles in tight spaces and maintain control.  He is confident enough to go to the net front and knows how to protect the puck or remain open to receive the puck when doing so.  Mooney has an excellent shot and a very quick release the puck will be on his stick for only a moment.  He has a nasty edge to his play and really works players over in the corner.  Mooney has some of the Gallagher edge to his game. He has a good all-around game with some skill and a bit of a scoring touch.  Mooney will have a chance at being a third-round pick but likely fall to the fourth unless he scores more regularly. – Andy Miller


#14 Filip Ekberg, F, Sweden, 5’9” 163, L, DOB 04.14.2007

Ekberg is a very talented offensive player who was able to display his offensive skills during the game. He is a phenomenal skater and is extremely dynamic and fluid. He is very fast and has great crossovers which contribute to his speed. He has excellent edge work and open face skating which help him control possession in the offensive zone and skate around to create space. He has good stick handles, nothing to fancy but he has a nice toe drag. He scored an incredible goal skating around the offensive zone for a while then dished it off and got it back at the point and skated by multiple players down the left side to the goalie making a nice move to his backhand to score. He displayed his exceptional skating and stickhandling skills on the goal. He has good vision and makes some solid passes that are fairly accurate. His shot is nothing special but it does the job. Improving his accuracy would help him. The physical element of his game is practically non-existent but for a player his size that is not that surprising. He is still able to fend off hits well. He doesn’t do much defensively but he isn’t afraid to get in the shooting lane and block some shots. – Zach Morris

#5 Sascha Boumedienne, D, Sweden, 6’1”, 170, L, DOB 1.17.2007

Boumedienne plays the net front well and keeps the opposition to the outside.  He is a good skater with decent edge control.  Boumedienne skates well with the puck on his stick and walks the line well and protects the offensive blueline.  He sees the lanes and can make great passes on the tape or to an open area.  Boumedienne is excellent at looking at his options before receiving the puck but at times he mentally commits so much to an option that he can’t adjust after receiving the puck.  He is a player who works hard on the wall and seems to enjoy the physical side of the game and dishing out hits.  Boumedienne is good at clearing the puck from the net front.  His tracking of the puck could improve a bit as a defender. Boumedienne is an effective player and keeping players to the outside of the net.  He makes nice tight turns and uses them to out maneuver opponents with the puck on his stick.  Boumedienne has the ability to let a hard heavy shot off from the point that can beat a quality goaltender clean.  He has the ability to become a fairly big defenseman that is a good skater too and can be very versatile and work both sides of the puck.  Boumedienne has the complete package and could be an option in the first round if his offense is consistent. – Andy Miller

#16 Anton Frondell, F, Sweden, 6’0” 179, L, DOB 05.07.2007

Frondell is an excellent power forward and he was able to showcase that against Czechia. He made an impact with his physicality almost every shift he was on the ice. He threw out numerous big hits and even a couple of nice reverse hits. He is extremely strong with the puck when carrying it or driving to the net. He is also great along the boards and it is very hard to get the puck from him because he is rarely outmuscled. He is also an excellent forechecker and did a good job pinning opponents along the boards. He has solid skating and is pretty fast thanks to his long strides. His edge work is what stood out the most and was great. His shot is exceptional and he used it to score a great goal. It was a turn-around shot that was perfectly placed. His shot has a quick release and is accurate and powerful. He has a good snap shot as well and his one-timer is powerful but not really accurate. He did take a bad tripping penalty, it was completely unnecessary. He was being overly aggressive and not careful with his stick when attacking. He needs to be less aggressive and show more restraint defensively. He did a good job following players and was never really out of position. He used his long reach to get his stick in passing lanes. – Andy Miller


#17 F, Adam Benak, Czechia, 5’7, 157, L, DOB 04.10.2007

Adam Benak is a can’t miss player whenever he is on the ice. He is one of the fastest players I have ever seen at the junior level. He goes from a standstill to top speed in a hurry. His agility is also top tier. His skating style reminds me of Nathan MacKinnon, a pretty good player in the NHL. He is an offensive threat at all times. Once his team gets possession of the puck, he bolts at full speed to become a passing option. With the puck, he backs off defenders with speed. He shoots the puck hard for a small guy. His playmaking ability is even stronger than his scoring touch. His hockey IQ is extremely strong, as he always knows where the right spot is on the ice. The only question with Benak is his size. He is 5’7 and 157 pounds. For his sake, I hope he grows to be able to handle the physical demands of pro hockey. Benak is touted as a top prospect for the 2025 NHL draft, and for good reason. – Andreus Kostopoulos

#25 RW Matej Pekar, Czechia (2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge), 5’9” 146lbs, L, DOB 08.08.2007

Pekar was one of the best players on the ice for Czechia and Canada really felt his impact. He netted the second goal for Czechia which helped them get back into the game and eventually win it. He showed off his entire offensive skillset throughout the game. He was great at maintaining possession in the offensive zone and creating scoring chances. He has an excellent wrist shot with a really fast release and he didn’t hesitate to use it. He has great vision and made a few nice cross-ice passes that turned into quality scoring chances for his teammates. He is a great skater, with his primary skill being his edge work and open-face skating. In the offensive zone, he uses this to maintain possession and turn along the boards and in the open to keep defenders off of him. He is really strong along the boards as he was able to constantly outmuscle the Canadian players to get the puck off them. He has a great stick lift that he was able to use and snatch the puck away from them. He was an offensive juggernaut for Czechia but his defensive game should not be overlooked. He also did a great job keeping his composure multiple times when Canadian players took a run at him after the whistle. – Zach Morris

#16 F Adam Novotny, Czechia (2023 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge), 6’0” 174lbs, L, DOB 11.13.2007

Novotny was probably the best player for Czechia and that was obvious. He finished the game with a goal and an assist. He is an excellent skater, extremely fast, and has great crossovers, turns and edgework. He combines all these skills to blow by players when leading the rush and driving to the net. For his size, he leaves a lot on the table in terms of physicality. He could pin players along the boards and outmuscle them in front of either net, however, he does not. Adding a physical element to his game would help him a lot. His passes are excellent and extremely accurate. He has a wide range of passes but his cross-ice ones are the best in his arsenal. He made a good pass to the other side of the ice for an assist on the second goal. He did a good job getting it through multiple defenders’ sticks. He does a good job at making look like he’s going to shoot before ultimately passing. He had a bad turnover in the defensive zone holding on to the puck too long waiting to make the perfect pass. Sometimes he needs to dish it off and ensure the team maintains possession. He is an extremely fast skater who utilizes crossovers very well. He is a very aggressive player defensively and he was able to steal the puck with some nice stick lifts as a result. Being aggressive could cost him because he may overcommit to a player and then get beat and be out of position as a result. He has an excellent shot that is extremely powerful. He was able to score the goal off a long wrist shot. – Zach Morris


#9 LW Gavin Mckenna, Team Canada Red, Medicine Hat Tigers (WHL), 5’11”,165 , L, DOB 11.20.2007

An offensive forward with great vision and a very quick shot. His vision is extremely strong for his age. He’s excellent at finding his teammates in the offensive zone. If the shooting option isn’t there, he draws pressure towards himself to open up a passing option for his teammates. That’s one of the reasons he’s on the powerplay. However, his passes can be sloppy during zone exits or in the neutral zone. He also sometimes tries risky passes with soft jump passes, creating a giveaway. His shooting is extremely threatening. He’s quick and accurate. He likes to use defenders as screens when entering the zone and on the powerplay. His skating is good. His first three slides give him great acceleration. But I’d like to see him be a little more explosive in his play. Mckenna is sometimes soft and lacks dynamism when he doesn’t have the puck. His positioning when he doesn’t have the puck needs to be improved for him to be more effective defensively. He has a good reach, but if he put more intensity on the forecheck with his acceleration, he’d cause a lot of turnovers. He has good hands. He has the ability to defend against 2-3 players and then pass the puck to his teammates. However, I found he took too long shifts. He needs to be smarter about crossing the red line and dumping and changing. It’s quite impressive what he can already do at the age of 15. He’ll certainly have a lot of pressure on him with his exceptional WHL status. He still has plenty of time to develop, as he’s only eligible for the 2026 draft. – Samuel Laplante

#15 C Ryan Roobroeck, Team Canada Red, Niagara Ice Dogs (OHL), 6’02”,185 , L, DOB 09.25.2007

A goal scorer with a powerful, accurate shot. He already has a shot that could break through in the NHL. He likes to shoot from a good distance. With his good hands, he creates space for himself to shoot from. He’s also a skill player. He can be a threat in 1-on-1 situations, and he’s capable of taking on 2 players in the offensive zone. His skating is average. He can keep up with the speed of the game, but nothing more. He needs to work on his acceleration to be more of a threat in 1vs1. He’s also good on the forecheck. He has a long reach, which creates a lot of turnovers for his opponents. But if he had more speed, he’d be even more of a threat with his pressure. He positions himself well in the defensive zone to block shots and pass lines. His passing is good. In the offensive zone, he finds his teammates. But he has more of a shoot-first mentality. However, he’ll need to keep his head up when leaving the zone. He was caught making a pass in the middle without looking, which created a turnover and a scoring chance for the opposition. He’ll also have to make better decisions on his passing choices and keep things simple. As for his physical game, I was surprised that with his size, he didn’t hit at all. With his size, he has to hit and finish his checks to separate the player from the puck. Certainly, if he improves his explosiveness and intensity, it will improve his physical game. It’s clear that with his shooting and offensive skills he could develop into a top-six forward.  He’ll be eligible for the 2026 draft and still has plenty of time to develop. – Samuel Laplante

#7 Cole Reschny, F, Canada Red,  L, 5’9”, 161, DOB 4.6.2007

Reschny has elite level skill.  He is a speedy forward who can use his speed to separate himself from checkers.  Reschny is an offensive dynamo with a ton of skill and talent.  He has high end vision and sees the ice so well that he can find lanes that most don’t even think to look for.  Reschny finds the puck and open spaces on the ice.  He is a very good powerplay player as he is continuously moving and always dangerous.    Reschny can be knocked down and he continues on with the play and doesn’t give up.  He has an incredible ability to finish off plays.  Reschny has the ability to put the puck on a dime and lay it flat for the recipient.  He is an electric player who is a difference maker who will become an NHL regular and make an impact on his team.  Reschny will likely be a first round selection or early second rounder. – Andy Miller


#3 Jesper Kotivarji, D, Finland, R, 5’11”, 157  DOB 7.24.2007

Kotivarji is a responsible defender who typically maintains good position.  He is a very good skater and is well balanced.  Kotivarji is an effective defender on the penalty kill as he boxes out well with his skating and balance.  He is a player who is well balanced and can throw good clean body checks that knock players off the puck.  Kotivarji is quick to clear loose pucks from the net front area.  He is a dynamic player who can quarterback a power play and direct the play in an effective manner.  Kotivarji is a player who sees the lanes before they are open and to match his great vision are great hands that let him thread the needle with the puck.  He has a very good point shot and gets it off quickly, even a good one timer and can put the puck through traffic and in the back of the net.  Kotivarji patrols the offensive blueline with confidence and smart decisions.  He reads the play very well and when the forwards drop low he moves in and is comfortable walking into a shot and driving it through the net.  Kotivarji reminds me of Kiviharju so he has a chance of being a top selection in the 2025 draft if he continues to develop. – Andy Miller

U18 Five Nations Tournament

Hämeenlinna, Finland

November 6-12, 2023


#34, F, Cole Eiserman, USA (USNTDP, U18 USA), 6”, 195, L, DOB 08.29.2006

Cole Eiserman no doubt about is considered to be the Americans new prodigy for hockey. He is the definition of a marksman when he enters the circles in the offensive zone. Cole is an aware, pin-point accurate, power-forward like sniper who does not miss the net very often. His shot is electric similar to missiles that have one target locked on it, that being the net. His wrister from any area on the ice is what creates his biggest punch. What is astounding is that he can also charging towards the opposition to win puck battles. His offensive awareness is outstanding as he has a nose for the net. His hands are very smooth as he can pretty much deke through anyone. That being said even though he is a winger, he sometimes plays a little too high up which causes him to be out of position. He is a powerful skater as even though he may not be the fastest, his good lateral movement and strong balance allow him to power through the opposition. From a defensive point of view, even though he may not wow you by always sacrificing the body but is not a disappointment. At the end of the day, what it comes down to is his ability to accelerate quickly is what he needs to work on and when that is improved, there is no questions asked about him having the comparison of Ilya Kovalchuk. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard

#10, F, James Hagens, Sweden (Orebro HK U20, U18 Sweden), 5’10”, 170, L, DOB 11.03.2006

James Hagens is the definition of the future for the Americans. Every time he is on the ice, he is a wizard with the biscuit. James is an agile, conscious playmaker who has the underrated ability of shooting the puck. His quick snapshot is what catches the goaltender off guard when it comes to shooting. The way he handles the puck, not only his hands are quick, but it does not come off his stick very often until he decides to pass it. When he is in playmaking mode, he looks like he enters the flow state which is his highest peak as he has the awareness of a falcon as he truly understands where his opponents are going to be. Where he showcases his skating is not through the quick agile turns, but it is the way he creates his speed while on the rush as he shows him always keeping his feet moving is what highlights his skating aspect. He will need to improve on his lateral movement if he wants to get quicker at the inside edgework. When it comes to his defensive game, there are some weaknesses of him not willing to sacrifice the body all of the time and not giving always defensive support as normally a center would. What he needs to work on is his physicality level, but there is a lot of time for that to happen. He needs to get stronger at fending checks but most importantly, having the desire to throw effective checks. When some of these inconsistencies are fixed, he will absolutely be competing for a top 5 pick who may resemble to a Jack Eichel of the future. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard

#18 LW Kristian Epperson, USNTDP Juniors (U18 Five Nations), 5’11”, 183, L, DOB 05.16.2006

Epperson is a positionally solid 200-foot winger with good hockey instincts in and around the net. Does a great job of pressuring and creating havoc for the opposition d-men in his defensive zone with his aggressive approach. Tends to get his stick or body in shooting lanes to prevent pucks from reaching his goal. He’s a versatile forward that is capable of doing what is required from the coach due to his extended skill set. He doesn’t seem to possess a skill that is highly above the rest, but rather has a jack of all trades sort of game. Has the ability to be an impactful penalty killer as he is hungry to chip at loose pucks. Has shutdown role potential as he understands his strengths away from the puck. Plays an assertive game down low, being physical is part of his game as he has the frame to lean on his opposition. Generates a high amount of power in his quick release, able to finish in the slot. Decent skating ability as he has a powerful burst but is rarely shown more then once during a shift. A weakness of his game is doing too much with the puck, as well as holding onto it for too long along the boards when his teammates are severely open. He needs to be quicker at deciding when to dish the puck and to be more aware of the ice that he has to work it. Epperson has the right idea when he gains the puck in transition but his passing and decision-making execution is often poorly done. – Steven Pratas

#24 C Christian Humphreys, USNTDP Juniors (U18 Five Nations), 5’11”, 170, R, DOB 02.04.2006

Extremely quick and light on his feet, Humphreys is noticeable in all zones on the ice. His ability to create separation from his opponents is very impressive. Terrific puck and stick handling ability as he’s able to showcase soft hands even when he’s going at top speed. Protecting the puck along the boards and being able to break away from a defender due to his fast stop and starts is part of his game. Processes his surroundings in a blink of an eye when possessing the puck and can pick out his teammates crashing the net. Quick thinker and fast reaction time, seems to always do the correct play. Passes and hard and crisp, demonstrates tons of creativity when he gathers speed behind the net in the offensive zone as he skates toward the point. Continuously drives play when handling the puck, always looking to exploit open ice. Able to slow down play and wait for linemates to get into scoring areas around the net before dishing the puck. Constantly a threat near the net, he’s very elusive and can get into open areas. Gets to loose pucks quite easily, his acceleration is visibly a strength. Agile pivot ability, does a great job of always facing the puck carrier when looking to receive the puck. Not overly physical, but has decent size and frame as being listed at 5’11” and 170 pounds, he doesn’t get outworked in the corners. Has a tremendous shooting ability which is most evident on the powerplay, as he’s able to play along the point and the top of the circle to receive one timer passes. Has a proper shot selection and takes the shot if the opportunity presents itself. Defensively, he plays a very aggressive approach as he pressures his man. Backchecking and covering for his pinching d-man is part of his game which makes reliable. – Steven Pratas

#23, D, Cole Hutson, USA (USNTDP, U18 USA), 5’10”, 160, L, DOB 06.28.2006

Cole Hutson no question is the Americans best defender. Even though he still needs some small portions of improvement like his shot power, there are so many wonders that teams look for in a defenseman that Cole caries. The best example of that is, which is arguably his best attribute, is his understand of the game and his high hockey IQ. He reads the play like no other and even though he is sometimes smaller, he will use his smarts to his advantage. Whether it seems like there is an open lane for a forward, he seems to close that off in no time. Whether it is also gapping control defending the neutral zone, Cole does not let many pass by him very easily considering he has tremendous amounts of awareness when using his stick for poke checking or shot blocking. Even though he is only 160 lbs, what is key is that he is actually effective physically where has his brother Lane isn’t. In the offensive side, he understands what pass to make and when, whether it is a short pass or a long breakout pass, he gets the job done. Even though he does not have the strongest shot, he still has good enough accuracy, but he understands what position to be always in, even in the offensive zone. What is unique too is that as much he is a good passer, he is a better puck handler as he loves deking around the opponents to create space The last thing that needs to be mentioned, is his skating. Even though Axel has above average speed which is still considered good, it is his lateral movement and transitions that makes him one of the smoothest skaters of the 2024 NHL draft for defensemen which is truly key. He will still need to produce more muscle to become stronger and more effective physically, Cole Hutson is absolutely one of the better offensive defensemen in the 2024 draft class as he is compared to his brother Lane but stronger. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard


#26 C Alexander Zetterberg, Sweden (U18 Five Nations), 5’8”, 159, R, DOB 04.27.2006

Zetterberg may be an undersized center as being listed at 5’8” but has tremendous amounts of pure skill and is a high caliber skater. His low center of gravity helps with his nimble lateral movement which he uses at times to escape situations and to quickly change his body’s direction toward the goal. The puck sticks to his blade like glue when in possession has great control at corralling the puck down low as well. Able to make plays in tight areas due to his frame which results in constant pressure toward the goal. Zetterberg’s vision in the offensive zone is excellent, constantly looking for that pass in the high danger areas before dishing it to the point if it’s not available. This is a player who craves the puck, wanting to create chances and be a difference maker as noted by his stick taps. On the powerplay you can really see how powerful and quick his release is, constantly at the top of the circle and ready to fire a one-timer into the back of the net. His wrist shot is accurate, although the power isn’t fully developed, he can still wire it on target. Alexander’s scoring ability is very prevalent in his game, he seems to know where to be around the net to give himself the best chance of contributing to a goal. Often able to sneak behind defenders undetected whether it be on the rush through the neutral zone or in the offensive zone, the extra second or two is vital in keeping additional play opportunities alive. Defensively sound, he understands his responsibilities in his own end but is willing to leave the zone early if he anticipates a change in team possession. The biggest concern of Zetterberg’s current and future game is his overall strength and frame. It will be hard for him to establish open ice in the slot and be a net front presence without gaining more body mass. He can easily get outmuscled and outworked along the boards near the end of shifts. For being light on his feet, his balance is questionable at times as little contact can cause him to fall and lose positional ground. Receiving long passes directed at him sometimes go untouched, as he can’t make contact with his small reach and stick. Overall, Zetterberg is a very intriguing skilled forward that can do damage on the scoresheet with his offensive capabilities, he dominates the more he has the puck. – Steven Pratas

#11 F, Lucas Pettersson, Sweden (MoDo Hockey J20, Sweden U18), 5’11”, 170, L, DOB 05.17.2006

Lucas Pettersson is no doubt about it one of Sweden’s strongest and more versatile players who can do anything on the ice. Every time he is on the ice, he is a detective that is at the right place at the right time. He is a dynamic, strong, and reliable playmaking center who has a strong balance. He may not be the fastest skater on the ice, but what is key is that he uses his good agility along with his great hockey IQ to place himself in good positioning. His puck skills are at a good level has his hands are overall smooth but should use them a tad more often. His passing is very good as he is very crisp at making the short end passes and could even thread the needle through a crowd in surprising fashion. The aspect that his skating does need to improve is his quick feet so he can be a cannon out of the gate. His shot may not be the most powerful, but it is still quick enough and accurate to get the goaltender off guard with his quick release. The underrated aspect that actually showcases Lucas’ game is that as much he is an offensive player, he is great defensively. Not to mention, an underrated aspect of his game is his defensive awareness when defending rushes. As a center who stays in position while keeping his momentum, he is a good penalty killer. What it comes down to as an overall weakness is that he will need to improve on his faceoff skills. When it comes to physicality, he’s not the greatest but he is not the worst as he shrugs off checks easily. When discussing potential, he is on a very good path of becoming a 2nd line centerman who can be placed in any situation, similar to Barrett Hayton. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard

#24 C Linus Eriksson, Sweden (U18 Five Nations), 6’0”, 185, L, DOB 03.23.2006

Watching him for the first time, it is very clear that Eriiksson is a highly intelligent center with and without the puck, his hockey IQ pulses through his play. His decision making and passing ability is what makes him so deadly with moving the puck up the ice. He shows tremendous levels of patience, mix that with his eyes constantly analyzing his surroundings and you will be an offensive playmaking threat. Excellent at controlling play, it seems the game slows down when he has possession. Eriksson constantly creates chances with his timing on passes down low and through high danger areas. He’s aware of where his teammates will be and can dish the puck with ease. Terrific skating ability that can keep up with just about anyone on the ice. Once he gets his crossovers going, there’s very little you can do if you aren’t already on him. Terrific at the face-off dot, has a good technique and extra effort that can win crucial draws. Two-way ability, he is constantly supporting the puck carrier in breakouts and through the neutral zone, rarely relying just on his defenseman to defend if it gets turned in transition. Getting back in play and being to point out to his d-men areas of the ice or opposition to cover is part of his game. It seems his communication is pretty solid as defensive coverage was spot on throughout the game. Would like to see Linus have a more shooters approach from the looks he had, as it is clear, he enjoys passing the puck around. Linus’s physicality or lack of could also be improved, such as being tenacious in the corners or in front of the net battling for inside position. – Steven Pratas

#18 F, Victor Eklund, Sweden (Djurgardens IF J20, Sweden U18), 5’10”, 150Ibs, R, DOB 10.03.2006

Victor Eklund is the definition of being electric and passion for the super Swedes. He has the work ethic of a racehorse who cannot be stopped. Victor Eklund is a rouged playmaking winger who definitely shows some grit to his game. Every time he has the puck, his hands may not be the fastest, but boy oh boy they act like immovable objects. His passing is adequate enough to make the right play, but it is not considered a wow factor of his game. Even though he’s not the fastest guy on the ice, he has certainly tremendous amounts of flexibility as he can get by his opponents due to his good lateral movement. Even though he is not known for shooting, he has an adequate toe drag release shot as he also does not really showcase his one timer ability. He has a very respective defensive game for a winger. Some minor inconsistencies he will have to work on is his positioning in the offensive zone as he will play all over the place like a centerman. Even though he is only 150 pounds, he may not throw many hits, but my oh my they can’t get the puck off him due to his strong stability on his skates. No doubt about it, Victor Eklund is already building his draft stock in the 2025 NHL draft to become a crucial top 6 forward. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard

#4 D, Leo Sahlin Wallenius, Sweden (Vaxjo Lakers HC J20, Sweden U18), 6”, 175, L, DOB 04.10.2006

Leo Sahlin Wallenius is considered to be one of the more complete defensemen that Sweden has to offer. He is one of those defensemen that’s toolbox is like a swiss army knife with the more useful tools being in the defensive end. Sahlin Wallenius is a mobile two-way defenseman who shows tremendous responsibility when it comes to positioning. One of his strongest tools is that he has a very active but very reliable stick as he will put his opponents into pretzels. His best aspect is his awareness as he understands when to stay in position properly or when it’s time to check after his opponent to retrieve the puck back. Some small inconsistencies in that aspect are he mainly needs to improve his physicality standards of boxing out his opponents’ preventing screens in-front of the goaltender. Some aspects in his skating that are good is that he has very smooth back skating and he does not choke up a lot when he is skating reverse considering he mostly places himself in good positioning to block shots or intercept passes. His mix of smooth transitioning and calm skating allows him to get out of dangerous situations. What is important for him that he needs to work on his acceleration and footwork speed. Even though his deking abilities are not the smoothest, he does not lose the puck very often due to his strong puck control. His strongest offensive asset however is his passing. Whatever pass that needs to be completed, he can get the job done, even the very far breakout passes, he can get it very close but most of the time get it on the tape. Where he lacks in his offensive category is his shooting as he needs to be better at shooting from the point. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard

#12 LW Melvin Fernstrom, Sweden (U18 Five Nations), 6’1”, 185, R, DOB 02.28.2006

Fernstrom plays an extremely assertive and aggressive game in the offensive end. Excels when the game gets chippy, thrives in a physical environment as he plays with an edge. He’s a strong winger, constantly being a pest near the goal. Crashing the net and looking for loose pucks is part of his power forward type of game. Outstanding nose for the net with and without the puck. Fernstrom floats into those open areas around the slot and is ready to release a quick shot. Scoring instincts are already there and can shoot the puck with little available space. He acknowledges where the high percentage shooting areas are and is able to get there without hesitation. Does a good job at winning puck battles and chipping at the opposition’s sticks. Board and corner play is terrific as he takes full advantage of his build to slow down and tire the opposition. The determination to win the puck is often seen but can be inconsistent especially at the end half of his shifts. While known for his physicality and scoring, Fernstrom does make smart passes and has decent awareness of his linemates positions in all three zones. The accuracy of passes going across the width of the ice in high danger areas could be improved. His skating stride is very generic but powerful. Once he gets those legs moving, he can easily cover the left side of the ice. Explosiveness may not fully be developed yet but overall his skating is nothing to fear. Defensively does a great job of having an active stick and directing play to the outside. He often gets a piece of a defensemen’s stick that causes them to panic leading to turnovers. His backchecking is apparent but lacks that second effort at times to stop the trailer from reaching the net or receiving the puck. – Steven Pratas

#20 D, Alfons Freij, Sweden (Vaxjo Lakers HC J20, Sweden U18), 6’1”, 190, L, DOB 02.12.2006

Alfons Freij is considered to be one of the more underrated defensemen that Sweden has to offer. He is one of those defensemen that’s defense is matched by his offense. Freij is a steady two-way defenseman who shows underrated offensive ability on the powerplay One of his strongest tools is that he has a very active but very reliable stick as he will put his opponents into pretzels. His best aspect is his awareness as he understands when to stay in position properly or when it’s time to check after his opponent to retrieve the puck back. Some small inconsistencies in that aspect are he mainly needs to improve his physicality standards of boxing out his opponents’ preventing screens in-front of the goaltender. Some aspects in his skating that are good is that he has very smooth back skating and he does not choke up a lot when he is skating reverse considering he mostly places himself in good positioning to block shots or intercept passes. His transitioning will need to be quicker in order to become a more effective skater. What is important for him that he needs to work on his acceleration and footwork speed. Even though his deking abilities are not the smoothest, he does not lose the puck very often due to his strong puck control and good patience. His strongest offensive asset however is his passing. Whatever pass that needs to be completed, he can get the job done, even the very far breakout passes, he can get it very close but most of the time get it on the tape. Where he lacks in his offensive category is his shooting as he needs to be better at shooting from the point. – Tyler Ballesteros-Willard


#23 C Petr Sikora, Czechia (U18 Five Nations), 5’11”, 170, L, DOB 01.02.2006

Solid at the draw, Petr plays a smooth game up the middle of the ice. Extremely quick feet and is able to shift his positioning to get his body in the way of passing and shooting lanes, most evident on the penalty kill. Constantly has his head on a swivel looking to pick up the open man. Sikora has eyes for the net, after retrieving the puck along the boards he’s able to drive the puck to the net if he sees open ice. It is clear that Sikora is one of the top skilled guys on his team as he is constantly driving play and creating chances with his excellent timed passes. He is highly relied on to produce for Czechia as seen by the number of shifts and overall ice time he was given. Despite the score, I was very impressed by how consistent his play was throughout the game, he still maintained a high gas tank and willingness to compete. Sikora demands the puck which usually results in something positive occurring. He’s smart, he doesn’t usually force a play forward, rather retreats the puck back at the end of a shift which eliminates turnovers. His work ethic and determination are transparent, he expects himself to give it his all every shift and can be visibly annoyed if he misses a loose puck, as seen by him slashing the boards in frustration. He’s able to break up plays with his active stick and his forechecking effort. He excels at maintaining possession of the puck through center ice and picking out open wingers flying by. Petr has a sneaky quick release that can catch goaltenders off guard, he has good shooting instincts around the net. A weakness of his game is getting out muscled on the puck. Cheating in his own zone is often a problem as well, he tends to leave his defensive zone without the puck first or his team having full possession, rather hoping the puck gets to him. His balance is questionable at times as well, fighting for positioning in and around the net can sometimes cause him to stumble. Overall, Sikora is an intriguing centerman with positive offensive tools who is a valuable player for Czechia. – Steven Pratas

#20 LW Ondrej Kos, Czechia (U18 Five Nations), 6’1”, 148, L, DOB 03.07.2006

Kos is a powerful skilled winger with excellent mobility for his size. His acceleration and ability to jump into transition is impressive. Being listed at 6’1”, Ondrej uses his frame to his advantage to protect the puck and forcefully push the puck toward the net from the outside. Above average stick handling ability, able to maintain control of the puck at top speed. He’s able to make quick decision-making calls with the puck to create scoring opportunities, especially around the net. His passing ability is a strength of his, especially moving the puck into the neutral zone as his passes are done with a purpose. Soft hands in the slot, he dishes the puck in areas most players would shoot, fooling the goalie as seen by his assist in the 3rd. He’s not a selfish player, seems to have a pass first mentality rather than to shoot it. His long reach gives him the ability to cause chaos on the forecheck causing turnovers. Does an excellent job of tying up the defender to let his linemate come grab the puck. He’s a force down low, can quickly shift and turn his body in a drop of a dime and dish the puck for an open point shot. His second effort at the end of his shifts is what helps highlight his character, as seen from his diving backchecking play that almost poked the way away from a 2-on-1 rush in the 3rd period. Mind you, the score was already 6-2 for the USA and Ondrej was still determined to prevent any more goals from being scored. He’s a workhorse on both ends of the ice, has good 200-foot qualities for a winger. His size will only increase, as he is currently only 148 pounds, there’s tons of growth left for Kos. Overall, Kos has the necessary skill set and size an ideal winger should have, he definitely has some upside. – Steven Pratas

#10 D Adam Kral, Czechia (U18 Five Nations), 6’2”, 181, R, DOB 02.08.2006

Kral is a true defender at heart with glimpses of offensive ability. Excellent size and strength to be able contain the opposition top players. Skating is not an issue for Kral, he can transition from forward to backhand skating quickly to prevent rushes from ensuing. Although he can be caught flat footed at times, he relies on his body positioning to push the play to the outside. Lifts sticks and constantly gains inside position in the defensive zone. Decent at bringing the puck through the neutral zone but is sometimes too slow to pass the puck to his wingers as he opts to dump it in. Actively pinches to keep the puck in along the boards. Tends to do the safest play available with very little creativity or surprising plays in his arsenal. Plays in all situations, heavily dependable to be positively impactful on the ice. Struggles with turnovers, forecheckers can cause him to fumble the puck under pressure. His ability to corral the puck along the point needs work as well, he tends to panic when being pursued. – Steven Pratas


#24 C Joona Saarelainen, Finland (U18 Five Nations), 5’9”, 176, L, DOB 04.04.2006

Joona plays a relatively safe and productive game as a 200-foot centerman. He takes pride in being a reliable and defensively minded player who doesn’t take many risks with and without the puck. Joona’s hockey sense is on full display in his quick decision making and in-game reads in his own end. Picks his spot when to jump into the rush or when to stay back based on the number of players pursuing the play and stamina left in his shift. Saarelainen has a good habit of not over skating and gliding out of position to get to pucks and puck battles. His stops and starts is what stands out in his skating ability along with his above average footstep and edgework when turning suddenly. Glides extremely deep in his defensive end when his team is breaking out, always supporting the puck carrier in all three zones. This constantly makes him an available passing option up the middle of the ice. His active stick is phenomenal in his end, constantly swiping at the opposition’s stick causing turnovers. His competitive spirit allows him to continue to be ferocious on the puck even when his gas tank is near empty. His positional game is excellent, eliminates tons of plays from occurring through the middle of the ice and forces the puck to the outside. Getting to loose pucks is a strength of his as his small stature gives him additional agility other players lack. Fantastic at the faceoff circle, he tends to get really low to the ice giving him great leverage when the puck hits the ice. Joona moves the puck through the neutral zone with speed. His fast hands and stick handling allow him to quickly change his puck protection stance moving forward. Skates into open ice but lacks that on-ice vision through traffic. Has a hard time reading the play occasionally as he can’t see over or through the opposition. His shot and scoring instincts are not fully developed, he tends to have a pass first mentality even in danger areas. Other Weaknesses of Saarelainen’s game are on the physical side of the game. He gets outmuscled on the puck but has decent lower body strength to keep his balance. Surprisingly, Joona does throw his body around once a while and isn’t afraid to engage physicality along the boards or even open ice. Overall, he has great attributes a two-way centerman should have but is missing that offensive spark. – Steven Pratas

#28 LW Lauri Sinivuori, Finland (U18 Five Nations), 6’0”, 165, L, DOB 04.28.2006

The moment the game started it was clear that Sinivuori was engaged and ready to compete. His forechecking ability was on display the whole game as he was hungry to cause chaos in the o-zone. Excels at supporting puck battles along the wall as his work ethic is a strength of his. He can outmuscle opponents by lifting their sticks and get inside position of the puck relatively easily. Constantly finishing his check and leaning on the opposition, it’s evident physically is part of his game. Puck protection along his stick and feet are a strength, it’s hard for him to get pushed off the puck. Excellent net front presence who can screen the goalie in the correct area. Valuable on both special teams, Lauri demonstrates good anticipation and awareness of where he should be. His Long active stick pushes play on the outside during the penalty kill. Lauri does lots of the dirty work around the net to achieve possession of the puck, an underrated opponent of his game. This allows his line to keep constant pressure. Lauri is a type of player who would be beneficial on any line as he plays his game to his strengths and doesn’t try to overthink situations. He makes himself a passing option along the wing with his quick pivot and stick along the ice. Can make short accurate passes in danger areas as he has decent on-ice vision through the neutral and offensive zone. Sinivuori is a quick skater and has decent acceleration, he’s able to pressure defenders and shooting lanes when needed. On the power play he can rotate between being in front of the net and near a faceoff circle to let go of his release. Scoring goals is not his bread and butter but will continue to score rebound goals with his current positioning around the crease. – Steven Pratas

#29 RW Kasper Pikkarainen, Finland (U18 Five Nations), 6’3”, 194, R, DOB 08.07.2006 

Pikkarainen was quite noticeable the second I saw him step onto the ice. He already has NHL size as being 6’3” and almost 200 pounds which makes him very durable. He moves very well, able to swiftly crossover from a gliding position to get into the required area. His first few steps are surprisingly very fast which he uses to close time and space away from the opposition’s puck carrier. Kasper is very alert about his speed and can change trajectory in a drop of a dime. Dominates at winning puck battles and loose pucks with his frame. Impactful at being a net front presence, rarely can be fully contained with sheer strength. Can also tie up players down low to let his linemates come and grab the puck. Shot blocking and getting in the way of shooting lanes is part of his game as well. Does a good job of continuing the play in the offensive zone with short smart plays. The power he generates from his wrist shot is impressive as you can see his stick bend in full speed, he fully leans into it while the back of his leg springs into the air. His in-game reads in all three zones are what makes him effective at supporting the puck. Kasper doesn’t seem to have an eye for the net at times, he should be trying to force the play into the slot area with his power more. He generates scoring chances for himself and his linemates after cycling the puck. Taking two unnecessary tripping penalties in the 3rd period when his team was leading 1-0 foreshadowed his overall positive game. He needs to be cautious of how aggressively he swipes at pucks as his reach is longer than his average peer. His stick is a valuable tool for his defensive game but needs to be used with more coordination if he wants to be a reliable winger when his team needs his work ethic the most. Kasper has the makings of a player who has an increasing level of upside to his game. It’ll be interesting to see how progression is the rest of the year, he may be extra motivated to perform well as he was left off Finland’s Hlinka Gretzky roster a few months ago. – Steven Pratas


#20 RW David Bosson, Switzerland (U18 Five Nations), 6’1”, 187, R, DOB 01.17.2006

Bosson plays a calm and more laid-back approach than the average winger would ideally play. Has a good frame and with size that allows him to hard on the puck. He tends to let his other forwards press the play forward while he supports as the 3rd forward. He played a rather defensive approach against the Americans, unsure if that was the game plan going into it or is how his game usually is. Constantly picking his own time when to use his skating ability as he tends to glide and stay in a certain area until play drastically moves. Very generic skating skills but makes up for its decent positioning in his own end. Careless at times with and without the puck, seems to be lacking a sense of urgency. Great communication on the ice as he directs his teammates with his stick to locations that need to be covered. Tends to have a good understanding of where his players and the opposition want to be and is able to get into those gaps to support. Didn’t have many offensive looks or continued pressure to really determine his playmaking ability. He did however have a few good short passes while he was pinned up against the boards. Corralling pucks and gaining control with pucks within grasp needs work, Bosson’s work ethic wasn’t fully shown throughout the game. Overall, there wasn’t that much that impressed me about David’s game against the Americans. He’s a solid player but lacks any eye-popping skills or abilities that makes him stand out. – Steven Pratas

#4 D Gian Meier, Switzerland (U18 Five Nations), 6’2”, 170, R, DOB 07.10.2006

Meier plays a steady game on the back end. He patrols the front of his net well, looking to use his size to push players away from the inside position. Although at times he puck watches at the end of his shifts which was apparent on the Americans 3rd goal, where the opposition net front presence quickly shifted a few feet away for a tap in. Good under pressure, makes the correct passes when he rings the puck around the boards. Plays 1-on-1 situations quite well, he knows when to slide on the ice to block passes directed toward the trailer crashing the net. Not overly physical but is effective at chipping away at pucks in the corners. Precise foot placement, he doesn’t over assert himself when moving around on the ice as he understands positioning. He has a long smooth stride but didn’t make many plays forward that would make him considered a puck moving defenseman. Efficient transition between forward and backwards skating, but his overall skating ability is nothing eye popping. While breaking out of his zone, his first pass is usually the most expected one. Rarely jumped into the play and wasn’t a constant threat along the point. Gian did however demonstrate his quick shooting ability when given the chance to release it on goal. Lacks offensive instincts but when he received a terrific pass at the top of the slot, the puck jumped over his stick. When defending in transition during odd man rushes, he wasn’t able to pick up the streaking winger on the far side driving the net, which resulted in another tap in goal against. He struggled all night with key split-second decision-making calls, finishing with a -3 rating. Meier has potential to play a shutdown role as he plays a stay-at-home type of game, just needs to work on his coverage when the puck is being passed on the width of the ice. – Steven Pratas

#18 C Robin Nico Antenen, Switzerland (U18 Five Nations), 6’1”, 190, L, DOB 05.21.2006

Leading the Swiss in forward ice time against the Americans, it’s evident that he’s a valuable player for the club for a good reason. Antenen is very dependable in all zones and possesses many attributes a well-rounded two-way forward should have. Played in all situations, Nico maintained a good work ethic despite the score getting carried away in the 3rd.Usually at the center position, Robin excelled at the wing in this game when it came to cycling the puck and getting in scoring areas when his linemates had the puck. He can maintain good defensive coverage and instantly push the puck forward in transition with pace. Skillful use of inside and outside edges, especially when he’s using his active stick to claw at the puck. Antenen can really fly down the ice and maintain a good speed and intensity throughout the game. Once he sees an opportunity to chase down the puck and get to it first, he explodes. Has a knack for breaking up plays on the forecheck and through the neutral zone. Once he has the puck in 1-on-1 situations he’s creative, as noted from his quick inside to outside stick handling movement which gave him a quality scoring chance. Terrific at give and goes along the boards as he opens himself up to be a passing option. His wrist shot is quick, produces good velocity and he isn’t afraid to let it rip ways out. They’re times in the game when Antenen should have distributed the puck to open ice or a teammate but decided to take on unfavorable matchups resulting in turnovers. It was difficult to analyze his offensive ability at times, as sustaining offensive pressure is difficult against the loaded Americans. He does, however, know how to be effective down low and around the net as his line had the most success creating scoring chances. – Steven Pratas

U20 Five Nations Tournament

Chomutov, Czech Republic

November 7-12, 2023

Switzerland U20

#3 Daniil Ustinkov, D, 6-0, 198, L, DOB 8.26.2006

Ustinkov has had a good draft season so far even though he has been moved from the NL to the SL to get more ice time. His play at this event while it did not overly impress it did not disappoint either. He did not get big minutes as we had hoped but did take a regular shift and saw some sporadic special teams play as well. His biggest impact was the transitioning of play from his own zone up to the attack. His offensive contributions were rather muted as he was playing with less skilled teammates and relied on the safe play rather then anything overly creative. His skating, a major asset, was on display in puck retrievals and in skating the puck out of his zone while a passing option presented itself. His passes were on point and even creative at times. His defensive play was solid as he supported his partner well, brought some physicality, and showed his typical poise in his own zone. – Dan Stewart

#22 RWR Gregory Weber 5.9 160 DOB 01.07.2004

Small player with great wheels…tenacious…a great work ethic…creates turnovers on the backcheck…then using his edges digs in & wheels north…strong deceptive wrist shot…great balance when slipping body checks…showing great versatility to move in & out of the play…working off the boards coming out with the puck by using his stick rather than his body. – Murray Caldwell

#12 CL Mattheo Reinhard 5.9 174 DOB 06.26.2004

Not sure why I have never heard of this player…has excellent speed & stick handling maneuvers…toe drags to elude a forecheck on the rush…deft hands…makes end to end rushes…skating is where he really shines…makes some really good turns while maintaining puck control…has elite puck distribution…unfortunately there is no one on his team that can think off the rush as good as he does…has very good vision to make timely passes through the seam. – Murray Caldwell

#18 RW/LW/L Julien Rod 5.10 181 DOB 11.22.2004

A versatile forward…a natural option when it comes to faceoffs from either side…quick hands allows him to go forward with the puck or back to the corner in the DZ…it is all about his hands…they are strong & soft…has good net front presence…drives to the net…backs off to get in a better shooting position or can sneak in behind the defender…shows great compete…work ethic…a take away is his foot speed in the neutral zone…yet when he is in the OZ he is a threat when shooting. – Murray Caldwell

Finland U20

#10 RDR Joona Vaisanen 6.0 176 DOB 07.29.2004

Strong offensive threat…stick handles with speed & control…likes to have the puck & keep control…this is one area where he really tries to split the opponents forward by using a slap pass & pushing them back when on the attack…this makes the opponent back up because they are unsure of his next move…he anticipates the opponent really well when in the OZ by moving with speed across the blue line…sending shots to the net with accuracy…I found when he is playing with players at this level he lacks confidence…way more confidence at the USHL level…he may not know how good he is yet? He seems to have the intangibles to be a great two-way Dman…his foot speed is as good as anyone at this level…he doesn’t let the opponent blow past him when he is in the defensive side… not afraid to block shots…great recognition of a threat & how to play it…strong board battles. This guy has the potential just not sure what is holding him back. – Murray Caldwell

#18 C/RW/R Konsta Helenius 5.11 181 DOB 05.11.2006

Here is feisty offensive player…I think he looks upon the opponent that there is no size differential…he has tremendous core strength & it is shown when he dishes out some excellent body checks to separate players from the puck…a fun guy to watch with great hockey sense & vision…the best part of his game is his IQ…a beautiful skater that looks almost delicate with his lightness on his feet a big improvement from last year…this guy possess a wrist shot that is hard to match in his age group…his shot all the makings of a Matthews…accurate…heavy…smart shooting locations…a pure first liner. – Murray Caldwell

#52 Topias Hynninen, C, 5-10, 170, L, DOB 12.19.2005

Hynninen was a surprise add to this roster for some but did not look out of place playing his complete game one bit. He lacks the high-end offensive skills of some of the other flashier players on the squad but his two-way play and dogged determination had him playing a regular shift as well as both special teams at times. A playmaker who handles the puck and moves well, he had a few very impressive offensive plays that had you think he could become an NHL top six forward but for sure his all-round 200-foot game looks like he has top nine potential worse case. Didn’t really standout at this event but that was a good thing overall as he also did not look like the play was over his head either. – Dan Stewart

#28 RWR Emil Hemming 6.2 194 DOB 06.27.2006

Best forward on either side of the ocean…extremely intelligent when it comes to playmaking…a natural puck distributor…has a set of hands not comparable to anyone at this age…tremendously gifted when it comes to not being impatient…he is so calm when in control of the puck…confidence written all over him with his body language…can shoot off his back foot with deadly accuracy…great edges that will turn a Dman inside out…from a toe drag to a flip of the puck and retrieval on the other side…to me he looks like a Mr. Magic with his puck skills…his skating is nothing to laugh at either…doesn’t show off his explosive speed until he has the puck then look out…best part he is a 2 way player this year…in one game while coming back to help his goalie he lifted the stick of the opponent taking away a scoring threat…back checks stripping players of the puck…not just creating a turnover it is what he does with the puck once he turns it over…you just don’t know if he is going to rush the puck or slow it down…he makes those decision so incredibly quick…it appears he sees everything around him…hard work ethic…drive…poise…anticipation…creative…competent… stamina of a camel…a very big motor… so much potential from his size to his readiness to play at the next level. – Murray Caldwell

Slovakia U20

#7 RDR Luca Radivojevic 5.10 161 DOB 01.03.2007 DE 2025

This player could be the best D-man to ever come out of Slovakia…has all the tools, superb skating ability…edges…powerful stride…produces max in speed in 3 strides…knows how to play the game away from the puck…using his superior hockey sense he knows when to turn to skate forward to shut down an attacker & not allowing a forward get around him…his leg strength comes into play when forcing the opponents to the wall…using his feet and stick he shuts down the cross seam passes by the opponent…fearless shot blocker…he has offensive awareness when to rush the puck & to lay off…he is like a Letang with impressive speed if he gets caught deep he has the ability to come back & take away the rush…consistently shooting the puck with authority & accuracy looking for tips or deflections…makes puck distribution look much to simple…doesn’t force the play through the middle often flipping the puck up out of danger or off the boards out of harm’s way. We should probably learn how to say his name. I think we will be saying it a lot soon. – Murray Caldwell

Czechia U20

#5 RD Adam Jiricek 6.2 168 DOB 06.28.2006

An impressive minute mucher…doesn’t waste energy while on the ice…makes only what matters most decisions…this comes from really understanding the game…mobile defender with elite skating in all aspects…vision…tremendous amount of stamina when defending…does not seem to tired…constant board battles…pinning opponents waiting for his teammates to come in & retrieve the puck…for not an overly tall person he has long reach & uses a long stick…the old stick really bends when he gets an opportunity show off his velocity on his slap shot…if it goes head high you might want to lay flat on the ice or at the very least duck…not a juggernaut offensive threat in most cases but probably one of the best defensive defenders in this years draft. – Murray Caldwell

#7 LD Tomas Cibulka 6.0 170 DOB 04.02.2004

Not sure why this guy isn’t on my radar in fact I thought he was drafted in his draft year…he does a lot really well…mobile Dman that has a great shot…an offensive machine…effortless skating…he finds lanes for skating out of coverage sometimes when double teamed…he can slam on the brakes draw the puck tight to his body while shielding the puck with his stick…then spin & carry the puck out of the zone…has great one on one defensive skills pushing the opponent outside…gap management is excellent…in some of the games he seems to rush the play & often not move the puck quickly enough for break out passes…that is a little disturbing…looking unsure of himself…yet he shows creativity at times when rushing through the neutral zone…sometimes flexing his body to go one way & goes the other. I will have to watch some of his QMJHL games & see what or why he isn’t performing like he did in his draft year. – Murray Caldwell

#79 Tomas Galvas, D, 5-10, 148, L, DOB 2.11.2006

If this kid was 6-3 he likely would be in the discussion for top blueliner in this years draft class, maybe even as one of the top overall picks, problem is he is generously listed 5-10 and only a buck fifty soaking wet. He was a big minute munching defender playing in all offensive situations at this event. He was able to show off his fluid and explosive skating ability, solid offensive creativity, and a deadly transition game. His play on the other side of the puck was just as strong as his feet allow him to keep up with any attacker and his work rate helped him win many battles that he had him no business winning at his size. – Dan Stewart

#18 LW/RW/L Matej Mastalirsky 6.1 170 DOB 07.10.2005

Another one that showed excellent potential in & out of the play…using his speed to force turnovers…agility to move around forwards & Dmen off a rush…nice balance on his skates…shows that he can stickhandle maintain control in small tight areas at times…has good awareness of what is happening around him…the anticipation seems to be there when it comes to knowing where to play away from the puck…doesn’t seem to mind a hard game…looks to be pretty solid overall…grit…determination…willingness to battle…strong shot…sensible plays…really good a receiving passes on the fly…a lot of these players show such good potential…some lack the hard work…others lack consistent play like in this case. – Murray Caldwell

#20 CR Matej Pribyl 6.3 207 DOB 05.27.2004

A big center that can really shoot the puck…off the rush he showed twice that he can let it rip…if they can set him up for a one timer he can really pound it…decent edge work…doesn’t get lost on the play…not the fastest skater yet he shows up at the right time…showed some good determination over the tournament…anticipates…created some nice turn overs on board battles…yet I found he lacked consistency…showed he had potential in a few games. – Murray Caldwell

#24 LW/RW Adam Zidlicky 6.0 170 DOB 01.28.2005

A gritty 2 way forward…intelligent player…excellent anticipation off the rush…the first thing I notice about this player is that he might be a very good Dman…it is his self awareness of how to execute on the play…he knows his strengths against certain players…knows how to defend by using his stick & body to read off the play…whereas on the OZ rush he knows that he can drive through a lot of defenders due to lower body strength…he has excellent speed not so much explosive but timely pushes to get past the defender by getting a step on them then releasing a heavy wrist shot…if he could just shoot with more accuracy…he misses the net way too often…he just wants to shoot with no regard for accuracy or even his teammates at times…this player has the potential with his hard work to get to the next level…I would like to see what he could do on a defensive pairing…he has a little bit of nasty in his play which could make him a very good F9. – Murray Caldwell

#6 Dominik Badinka, D, 6-3, 183, R DOB 11.27.2005

Badinka played a solid support role at this event logging regular minutes five on five. He showed well despite not starting the event overly strong in his own zone. His play with the puck was solid as he joined the rush and even hauled it up ice when the opportunity presented itself. The thing with Badinka is that he often will skate himself into dead-ends. He is best when he moves the puck with a skilled teammate as an obvious option and can attack using his strong skating ability. As the event moved along his defense tightened up and he seemed to gain confidence which helps his overall impact. Did not look out of place. – Dan Stewart

Sweden U20

#7 LD Hugo Fransson 6.0 180 DOB 08.03.2004

Just starting to really come into his own…maturing nicely into a defender for both sides of the puck…intelligent puck distribution…highly dangerous & accurate slap/wrist shot…this guy has a real cannon…mobile in all zones…exceptional lateral movement at the blue line to get to better shot positioning…his skating & puck handling can push opponents back when entering the oz…likes to work off of broken plays he is keen at getting to the puck before anyone else…high IQ allows him to make lanes instead of just passing the puck…on the defensive side he can cut off attackers by keeping them outside…then with body positioning actively strip them of the puck…he has not let up on his passion to play the game at high level he continues to develop in all aspects of the game. I feel he will be selected this year. – Murray Caldwell

#19 LWR Hugo Pettersson 6.0 185 DOB 05.01.2005

Not an elite player yet shows some excellent quality…skating is smooth & with a nice glide…strong & physical…using his strength on board battles…comes away more then not with the puck…a shoot first no nonsense style of player…creative…excellent puck distribution…tenacious puck retrieval…playmaking is amongst the best on his team. – Murray Caldwell

#14 RW/C/L Erik Pahlsson 6.1 183 DOB 04.09.2004

One of the best players consistently in this tournament for Sweden…2 way player tracks down the opponents with speed…uses his body to twist pucks out of the hands of the opponent…a shooter for the most part…he was all over the ice…all around the puck…he made one really nice move with a pass between his legs that resulted in a goal against Czechia…great hands in tight…wicked release that can fool you…he will look to pass & release a blistering wrist shot……he can absolutely corral hard passes…plays with speed & intensity almost every shift…has excellent vision & anticipation giving his teammates passing options…his style of play he does not take many penalties because he does not need to put his stick where it does not belong when checking or in the offensive zones…plays a disciplined style…I am actually not sure what I am missing why he has not been drafted…he shows amazing potential. – Murray Caldwell


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