By DraftPro Staff

The last big hockey scouting event for the 2024 NHL Draft, before the IIHF U18 World Hockey Championships in April, wrapped up at USA Hockey Arena in Plymouth, Michigan when the Sweden entry beat the Americans in the waning seconds of the final game. The 2024 U18 Five Nations Tournament is a five-team tournament that took place from February 6-10 with entries from Sweden, Finland, Czechia, Switzerland, and the USA.

Here at DraftPro Hockey, we had multiple sets of eyes from our scouting team watching the games with reports rolling in highlighting who impressed our scouts from this event. Below are a list of ten 2024 eligible names, plus a couple future eligibles, who impressed us with their play and ongoing development at this event.


6’0”, 179, L, DOB 4.10.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 1 G 6 A 7 PTS 6 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Stood out as Sweden’s most reliable defender and arguably top performer at this event.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Sahlin Wallenius stood out as a player with a commendable ability to facilitate play transitions, marked by his smooth skating and quick coverage of the ice. Sahlin Wallenius exemplified the archetype of a modern defenseman, equally adept at contributing offensively as he is solid in his defensive responsibilities. His skating was notably fluid, allowing him to move across the ice with an ease that complemented his skillful puck handling under pressure.” – Seth Ditchfield


6’1”, 196, L, DOB 212.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 1 G 6 A 7 PTS 4 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Continued his highly impressive offensive play we’ve seen all season driving the game from the backend.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Alfons’s exceptional mobility is a cornerstone of his game, making him a key player in eating up ice time for the Swedish team. He navigates the ice effortlessly, showcasing explosive speed when transitioning from forward to backward skating. His versatility shines on the power play and during 4-on-4 situations, where he seamlessly transitions from defensive positioning to more aggressive offensive zones. Confident in puck possession, he demonstrates a willingness to backtrack quickly if additional skating or passing lanes fail to materialize. Alfons exhibits deception while navigating the blue line, occasionally delivering no-look passes to teammates in prime scoring areas.” – Steven Pratas


6’0”, 179, L, DOB 5.7.2007 – 2025 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 5 G 2 A 7 PTS 0 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Looked to push his name into the top of the 2025 draft with his outstanding performance here as a DY-1.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Frondell is an extraordinary player and he showed why in Plymouth with some great play driving shifts. He does a good job of protecting the puck when driving to the net. He is an excellent skater. He demonstrated his creativity in a face-off circle. He crashes the net when a teammate shoots and tries to clean up any rebounds. He was the point man on the powerplay and demonstrated his excellent slapshot. He also showed he isn’t afraid to use his size and throw some hits. He is really good at stripping pucks by using his poke check and stick lifts. – Zach Morris


5’11”, 170, L, DOB 4.17.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 1 G 3 A 4 PTS 0 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Solid two-way centerman, played top line minutes for Sweden and brought his 200ft game to Plymouth.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Pettersson immediately distinguished himself as a standout force for the Swedish team. His composure and poise are evident, particularly in the faceoff circle where he excels with remarkable success. Pettersson demonstrates a seamless give-and-go approach; his quick acceleration and deft tap-passing skills position him as a formidable transition player. One of the team’s strongest passers, Pettersson focuses on crisp, timely passes rather than flashy plays. His passing is reliable and rarely flutters, demonstrating impressive control. While not always the most offensively explosive or dangerous player, his defensive responsibility makes him a vital asset. He sees significant ice time in challenging situations and provides reliable tactical support. Pettersson’s skating is effortless and smooth, contributing to his ability to swiftly outmaneuver opponents. While he may currently lack raw offensive power, his intelligence, anticipation, and tactical sense often result in timely, impactful plays.” – Seth Ditchfield


5’10”, 176, L, DOB 4.5.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 3 G 6 A 9 PTS 4 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Stiga took his game to another level as one of the American’s top offensive producers at this event. He showed he is a player that can play up and down the lineup and be effective.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Stiga is a slick player who has the ability to turn quickly and lose coverage. He is a well-rounded player who is an effective player in both the offensive and defensive zones. Possesses a solid shot with quick, deceptive release that is hard to read. He is an effective player on the penalty kill who can keep the puck and players to the outside. An effective player on the powerplay who can set up on the half wall and get a shot on net often. A relentless forechecker. Needs to continue to develop his ability to make reads and good decisions without the puck.” – Andy Miller


5’11”, 192, R, DOB 2.22.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 6 G 2 A 8 PTS 2 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Ziemer not only brought his all-round high-intensity two-way game to this event but likely boosted his draft stock due to his offensive showing in Plymouth, MI as well.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Ziemer is a strong skater with great edge control and balance. He is relentless on the forecheck and ensures that he takes away time and space. An effective offensive player who is a very strong passer and puck carrier. He could shoot the puck more often and be a bit more selfish in his game because when he does good things happen like here. Ziemer does have a nose for the net and drives it with and without the puck on his stick. He is a very strong penalty killer who gets on the puck carrier quickly and limits his opponents options. In his zone he gets his stick in the passing lanes and knows most of the tricks of the trade and is a player who anticipates well and reads the play effectively. Ziemer is a player who typically doesn’t hesitate and makes good decisions. He has the ability to work the wall well and protect the puck effectively. He has good hands and can change the angle of the puck or release with little time or space. Has great hands at the net front and typically finishes off the plays. He goes to the dirty areas and pays the price.” – Andy Miller


5’10”, 159, L, DOB 6.28.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 2 G 6 A 8 PTS 10 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Brought the offensive game has been known for and looked like a first rounder as he was driving much of the offense for the American squad.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Hutson is an extremely offensive defenseman with a great skating stride. Very mobile and agile. He uses his edges very well to move laterally, and his change of direction is quick and he moves very well with the puck. His hands are just as quick as he is often the puck carrier as the team gains the zone and sets up. His speed allows him to join the rush often. He’s all about offense, but he can sometimes be out of position defensively. His offensive IQ enables him to find space in the offensive zone. He uses his vision to find his teammates and create scoring opportunities. He is used on the PP for his mobility and passing skills. His shot is opportunistic, and he can change his angle well. Sure, with his size, he doesn’t have the most powerful shot, but it’s quick. Hutson finishes his checks well. He’s not the strongest, but he doesn’t hesitate to hit. The aspect of his game that needs the most improvement is his defensive play and to add considerable strength.” – Samuel Laplante


6’0”, 196, L, DOB 8.29.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 4 G 1 A 5 PTS 14 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Has been getting criticism for his lack of dimensions to his game, but at this event there was considerable effort shown on the puck distribution and overall engagement sides of things. Still a very dangerous scorer who teams needed to gear defenses for.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “An elite goal scorer with an excellent shot. His shot is very quick and accurate. He already has a better than most NHLer release. Rarely misses the net. Eiserman loves to shoot and is used on PP at the top of the circles for his deadly one-timer. He could already do some damage in the NHL. It’s clear that Eiserman is a shot-first type of player, but he can also be a good passer. He has great vision, which enables him to find his teammates in the offensive zone. He likes to fake the shot and pass the puck to an open player. He’s also a good skater. His agility and speed enable him to create space for his shots. His change of direction allows him to move well with the puck and beat defenders 1-on-1. He also has good hands and loves to use the tip of his stick to make a move and get a shot off quickly. I was surprised to see him often finishes his checks and showing he isn’t afraid to hit. Defensively, he can get in front of a defender to block a shot and from time to time, he will come back in his zone to support the defense. But other than that, he’s an offensive first player.” – Samuel Laplante


6’0”, 174, L, DOB 11.13.2007 – 2026 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 4 G 2 A 6 PTS 0 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Had a great showing for a weaker Czech team as a DY-2 and solidified his name as someone to watch for the top of the 2026 draft with his outstanding performance here.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Novotný had a great tournament for the Czech and without him, they would not have even had a chance. His shot is one of the highlights of his game and it was evident. He fired plenty of powerful wristers that were dangerous. He was great at leading the rush and deked through defenders in the neutral zone. He is an extremely fast skater thanks to his long strides and crossovers. His speed led to some good chances off the rush. He displayed his dangerous one-timer on the powerplay and was able to sneak it through the smallest of holes in the goaltender’s coverage. He has a good poke check and decent stick lift. He uses his reach well to attack opponents and cut off passing lanes.” – Zach Morris


5’7”, 152, L, DOB 4.10.2007 – 2025 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 3 G 2 A 5 PTS 2 PEN
EVENT NOTE: This pint-sized center continued to show his elite skill level and be a major offensive threat at international events for Czechia. His size is a major detractor teams will need to weigh against his obvious talent.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Benak is incredibly fast and takes no time to get to top speed. He dances on the ice with the puck on his stick and he is near impossible to cover. Benak has elite level skill. He is an exceptional player who drives the play. Benak will shoot from anywhere, at times to his detriment, but his decision making in this area should improve as he matures. He has the ability to put his U18 team on his back and he is not going to be drafted for another year. Benak has a skill set that pulls spectators out of their seats. He could improve his play away from the puck but that will hopefully develop next season.” – Andy Miller


5’9”, 176, L, DOB 5.5.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 6 G 1 A 7 PTS 0 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Smaller but solid skating center who dictated much of the offensive play for the undermanned Finnish squad what the teams standout forward. His offensive production in Plymouth had NHL teams excited for his upside.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Saarelainen demonstrates a smart and reliable game as an undersized centerman for the Finns, showcasing quick hands and an offensive spark, particularly evident in his performance against Sweden. His ability to read the game and react quickly to defenders allows him to provide support for his defensemen along the point. His lightning-quick feet enable him to generate rushes or join them seamlessly. Maneuvering through tough situations with his stickhandling and slipping past defenders is a hallmark of his game, making him elusive to contain due to his smaller stature. Given adequate time and space, he consistently capitalizes on scoring opportunities. Saarelainen displays a feisty demeanor when hunting down the puck, often leading to him or his team gaining possession. His relentless stick pressure and competitive spirit resulted in him leading his team in takeaways. However, his smaller frame makes him susceptible to being physically outworked, leading to turnovers. Despite this, he doesn’t shy away from physical play and is willing to absorb hits to make plays, especially in the defensive zone.” – Steven Pratas


6’0”, 175, L, DOB 3.1.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5-NATS STATS: 4 GP 1 G 2 A 3 PTS 2 PEN
EVENT NOTE: Impressive rearguard, who tends to lean more to the offensive side, was one of Finland’s top blueliners in Plymouth. He used his skating ability and creative puck moving skills to be effective.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “An offensive minded defender, who is a threat on the PP. Very mobile with the puck. He has quick hands, is able to make fancy maneuvers and change direction quickly with the puck. He’s very mobile. He can move well with the puck on the blue line. He has great agility, which enables him to be effective when carrying the puck. Nieminen has a good first pass and is able to find his teammates. His passes are accurate and strong. That’s why he’s used as a QB on the PP. But he has to be careful with the puck in his zone. He can sometimes either make a risky play or a risky pass that causes a turnover. His shot can be very damaging. He can shoot well from anywhere. Whether it’s a one-timer or a wrist-shot, his shot can cut through traffic. Strong enough for his size. However, Nieminen has some defensive weaknesses. For a start, his positioning needs work. He plays very high up in his zone. He loves to join the rush, but needs to learn to find the perfect time to join the attack. When well positioned, he defends passing lines well with his stick.” – Samuel Laplante


6’0”, 165, R, DOB 6.22.2006 – 2024 ELIGIBLE
U18 5NATS STATS: 4 GP 1 G 1 A 2 PTS 2 PEN
EVENT NOTE: While not being a big point producer in Plymouth, MI for his team, Koivu showed so many other qualities that make his game so well rounded and have his shooting up draft boards this season with this solid two-way approach.
SCOUTS QUOTE: “Koivu is a good two-way center who can position himself very well in all areas of the ice. Whether he has the puck or not, he’s involved in the game from both sides of the ice. Koivu supports his defense well. He’s excellent at being the F3 on the forecheck and supporting the space in the zone. He backchecks a lot and is very good at supporting his defensemen in his zone. He’s also very good with his stick to support his battles along the boards and to poke check the puck. His stick speed also makes him very good at face-offs. He uses his edges well to be agile and sneaky in tight spaces. A good playmaker who finds his teammates well in all areas of the ice. He’s not the most creative player. He has got a great shot. His shots are accurate, fast and very useful on the PP. Whether it’s a one-time or a wrist-shot, Koivu knows how to score goals.” – Samuel Laplante

Photos by Rena Laverty/USA Hockey.

If you are looking for a mid-season rundown on the 2024 draft class as a whole be sure to pick up your copy of the Draft Prospects Hockey 2024 Preview Magazine available for instant download or print through Amazon.